Who is Valentine’s Day for?

Valentine's Day card - vintage, 04It’s Valentine’s Day again, and you know what that means.  This is one of those holidays with certain expectations, and it can cause great distress and disappointment in the relationship if those expectations aren’t met.  Let’s take a lighter look at that…

If you’re a man with a wife or girlfriend, you’re typically expected to buy her a nice (sappy) card, give her chocolates and roses (which are inconveniently greatly inflated in price during February), and take her on a romantic date.  These aren’t all bad things.  I’m not anti-Valentine’s Day or anything like that.  It’s good to show appreciation to your significant other, and we tend to take our loved ones for granted.  I don’t particularly like the idea of it being “forced” on a certain day, but it’s a good reminder.

So the woman in the relationship gets showered with nice stuff, like she deserves, because we cherish her.  What are the expectations going the other way?  Well, guys typically get a card, which may not mean as much as it would to a woman.  Now before you accuse me of being selfish, it’s not about that.  I don’t care about getting more gifts.  I just wonder who created these expectations and how many people are aware of how it is.  Why are they this way?  That topic is beyond the scope of this discussion, but it’s a good thinking exercise if you’re interested.

Maybe we should start some new traditions, for the guys.  What kind of affordable stuff would guys want to receive every year and which would also make them feel loved and appreciated?  (That “affordable” modifier limits the ideas, so no monster trucks or flamethrowers or tanks.  But we need to be practical, I suppose.)  For starters, how about cheese dip?  Either homemade or Stoby’s cheese dip would suffice (plus no comments about how it’s not healthy or that a tub of cheese dip is not a meal by itself).  Bacon should probably be included in this.  Maybe chicken-fried bacon for dipping in the cheese dip?  Just imagining that probably makes you gain weight…

I figure most guys would like a time of playing video games, since that time typically gets dramatically reduced when in a relationship (and more when married and even more when you have children).  This may not seem practical, since the day is about quality time in the relationship, and that’s fair.  It could be applied the next day.  Or the woman could join him in the games, if they can find something they both enjoy.  That would probably count as quality time, to him anyway.

These ideas might not fly, but that’s okay.  I can dream, right?  🙂  If you have any ideas, I’m open to suggestions.  (Your comments can be anonymous if you’re scared of getting in trouble for speaking out on this.)

holiday eating is not making you fat

In recent years I’ve heard some “experts” on TV say you should eat light on Thanksgiving so you don’t become obese.  First of all, that’s stupid, and second, the research doesn’t support such tomfoolery.  According to a study, the average weight gain for the holiday season (including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s) is just 0.8 pounds.  That’s not a typo.  For all the hype from the media outlets, you’d think people were becoming instantly obese from a couple of big meals.  0.8 pounds is nothing — you can gain that just from eating normal, or if your regularity is not as regular.  I figured the number would be higher, given the big holiday meals, the extra cookies, and the parties.

Obviously some Thanksgiving meals are more fattening than others, but a traditional feast shouldn’t be that bad.  I figure a normal Thanksgiving dinner wouldn’t be more unhealthy than some of the things you can get at restaurants, particularly all-you-can-eat buffets.  Plus you might be eating less processed food, which could make it healthier.

To diet on Thanksgiving day and Christmas day is foolish, if you want my opinion.  It’s hard enough to diet and eat right, particularly if you enjoy eating.  To miss out on the most special meals of the year would be depressing.  If you’re seriously trying to lose weight, one way to approach it is to eat healthier in the days leading up to the big meals, to rationalize eating a lot at the family get-togethers and parties.

Of course, common sense disclaimers apply.  For example, if you’re on the verge of a heart attack or some other severe health problem, maybe you shouldn’t eat a huge meal, but in that case, you should do something about it NOW.

Let’s get back to the study, if I may rant for a minute.  The health “experts” shouldn’t try to make people feel bad during the holidays if the research shows that the holiday eating isn’t the problem.  Here’s what irked me most about the article:

In the study, 14% of overweight and obese individuals gained more than five pounds during the holiday. In the abstract, the researchers wrote, “holiday weight gain may be an important contributor to the rising prevalence of obesity, even though absolute values for weight gain in this study were less than anticipated.”

Okay, so obese people gained more weight than average.  That’s not exactly breaking news, since they’ve obviously been gaining weight before then, so they’re just continuing the trend.  But notice the quote from the researchers, which basically says they’re still sticking to their hypothesis even though the statistics don’t support it.  Hopefully some people were reprimanded over that kind of junk.

So in conclusion, don’t feel bad about eating a few big meals during holiday feasts and parties.  The obesity problem isn’t caused by a couple of big meals here and there.  (Shouldn’t that be common sense?)  And the next time a news person on TV says to cut back during the holidays, eat another piece of pecan pie… or pumpkin pie… or cookies… you get the idea.  🙂  Eat, drink, and be merry.

National Doughnut Day

It has come to my attention that today is National Doughnut Day.  It is the first Friday of June each year.  Given how many special holidays there already are, you might think the day was created solely because donuts are awesome.  While that is sufficient reason, it goes even deeper.  The holiday was started in 1938 to honor the tradition of the Salvation Army providing donuts to soldiers during World War I.

Some doughnut shops give away a free donut on this day, so that might be worth checking out.  Even the cheapest of donuts — typically a simple glazed one — is great.  And while you’re there, you might as well pick up a chocolate-filled donut.  (It still boggles my mind that Krispy Kreme doesn’t sell a chocolate-filled donut, which is the best kind!  It’s stupefying!  It’s inconceivable!)

In case you aren’t aware, Krispy Kreme stores that make the donuts will sometimes give away a free glazed donut fresh off the assembly line, and that alone might be worth the trip.  The donut almost melts in your mouth with warm, yummy goodness.  (It’s probably a good thing the closest one is 30 miles away for me, or I’d be there too often.)

BTW, if you are a grammar perfectionist who is about to leave a scathing comment about how my spelling of donut changed, realize I chose to use both spellings interchangeably.  It’s my prerogative.  (And it’s also a good strategy from a search engine perspective.)

There are a number of special days and holidays each month, which have been discussed here at Buffet o’ Blog.  For example, here’s the one for June.

caption contest, Obama and puppy by Lincoln Memorial

Here’s a caption contest to start getting things back to normal after the holidays.  This picture features President Barack Obama holding a puppy in front of the Lincoln Memorial.  Figure out something funny to explain what’s going on here.   You can write what Obama might be thinking, or what a political analyst might say, or what an average citizen might think.  Or you can just make up something really random.  You can even put words in the puppy’s mouth.  Just keep it clean, funny, and don’t use this as a forum for serious political rants (there are plenty of places for that).

(To see the other caption contests, click on the “Say What?” category in the sidebar.)