Men should buy women flowers. They are colorful. They smell nice. And without them, flora would never get laid. To many, purchasing flowers is cliché or corny or tacky. And to others, it’s an outdated ritual in our modern era of gender equality. I’d like to address the men reading this (all five of you): buy the broads flowers. Trust me. And now to all the women reading, who outnumber us dudes 100 to 1: allow the douches in your life to buy you flowers. Trust me.
Flowers are not a romantic punchline, nor are they a symbol of patriarchal dominance. Buying daisies or lilies or chrysanthemums [Peonies, DeVore, peonies! -- Editor] for the woman you love is one of those things a man just regularly does. This is a lesson my old man taught me. Maybe it hearkens back to a time when men were gorillas in gray suits and women were trophies soaking their hands in bowls of Palmolive liquid soap — a time when flowers were employed to mend broken promises, to make up for forgotten dinner dates, or to apologize for lipstick-stained shirt collars. Those days are in the past, of course. Flowers do not resolve conflicts, nor do they anesthetize. Now that I think about it, they never did. But my dad had a different reasoning for surprise roses. He was always buying my mom flowers, chocolates, and trinkets. Her absentminded whispers while leafing through a catalog would be heard and little surprise gifts would appear at the doorstep.
Most of what I know about women I learned from how my dad treated my mother. I’d be a better man if I followed his example more fastidiously, but I haven’t, and that’s partially why I’ve spent so many years driving relationships off of cliffs. But some lessons stick out. Theirs was a love affair that lasted four decades. He would sing to her in public, and she’d blush and beg for him to stop. They never seemed to tire of each others’ gentle words. And 45 minutes after he died, on my mother’s birthday, FedEx walked into the ICU with her present — a fancy brand-name bag that escapes me, but that I’m pretty sure is sold in piles on the streets of New York. While my mother was in a street fight with doctors (and a dependably cruel universe) for every dwindling minute of my dad’s life, he had been sitting up in his hospital bed, buying her something he knew she’d love. This was days before the awful plunge.
That’s it. It’s not complicated. Flowers announce: out of sight, still in my mind and heart. It is unerringly human to want to know that someone is thinking about you when you are not around. I think women, especially, worry that all men have short attention spans and for the most part — Oh hey! When did I buy this can of beans? — it’s not an unfounded anxiety. I know I’ve forgotten things like birthdays (spring?), anniversaries (Tuesday?) and eye color (mostly white?). But if a man is in love, he carries that love under his skin like a nerve. Such is the magnificence of man, however, that we’re solidly confidant that your every third thought is about us. Right? Right? Oh, sarcasm! Women are the more conscientious gender; men are the more eat-with-our-fingers gender. I think that is fair.
I recently bought flowers for a lady I’m a’ courting. We were set to meet at the soda jerk for a malt before skipping over for a double-feature monster movie at the picture palace. I had been thinking of her all day, anticipating the date. She’s out of my league and that’s how it should be. It’s never too late to relearn passed-down life lessons. I was nervous, and couldn’t shake her freaking beautiful face out from behind my eyelids. So I did what my dad would have done. What a man does. I stormed into a florist’s shop, picked out a bunch of suitably fragrant flowers, paid for them, and marched right back outside. A man with a bouquet of flowers is a real man, dammit. I carried them the way you’d carry a rifle at a firing range with the barrel pointed down. I received multiple dude nods from men I walked past. They were acknowledging that I was on my way to woo a woman, which is our primary programming. I even received an approving nod from a pair of lesbians who also knew I was doing my duty. I mean, it was just a date. And the vegetation cost me all of ten bucks. The plants would be dead within a week anyway. But at least she would know that for that day, her name barely escaped my lips.