Brooke on Boys: Why Valentine’s Day Matters

Listen, we know you're not that into Valentine's Day - neither are we. But that doesn't matter, because it's not about us, or even our relationships. Listen to Brooke as she fills you in on the real reason this day matters.

Though red is definitely my color, I’ve never been one for candy hearts and to be honest, having cupid's arrow soaring towards my heart sounds anything but romantic. But whether your sweet gorgeous woman (or woman you wish was your woman) claims to be into it or not, Valentine's Day presents itself year after year…along with her curiosity about what you’re really made of. With Primer’s permission (thanks guys), I’m going to make sure you don’t screw it up this time. So, listen up.

First lesson: Valentine's Day matters. This really isn’t debatable my darlings, just trust me on this one.

Second lesson: Valentine's Day matters because…

Because it’s not really about Valentine's Day…it’s a metaphor. Really? Yes, really.

Valentine's Day is a metaphor for every other moment throughout the entire duration of your relationship when the woman in your life needs and wants and hopes you are able to joyfully and proudly step out of your way, and make it about her.

Valentine's Day is a holiday decorated with girly-pink-sparkly-chocolate-flowery-hearts…and and and. February 14th could not be less stereotypically masculine if it tried. Although this holiday may not be about you, it is in fact, for you. It gifts you the opportunity to demonstrate the kind of guy you can be when put in a situation that is not about you. It shows that beautiful human being you’re lucky to be with that you, you amazing man, are able to show up selflessly to any occasion.

Valentine's Day gives your crush or girlfriend or fiancé or wife, either a taste or a reminder (women love being reminded) of your ability to care about things not because you care about them, but because you care about her…and she cares about things. Get it?

Women know very well that Valentine's Day doesn’t particularly matter to you, but making it matter to you, simply and solely for her…now that’s a guy worth being with.

An acknowledgment of the day, a card, flowers, or even a romantic gift like a massage or spa treatment (hint hint) shows your capacity to put yourself aside even if she doesn’t ask you to–especially if she doesn’t ask you to… and put her first.

Still confused? No worries, just think about it this way…

Think about how you feel when a girl is willing to participate in or watch the sport you love, or the hobby you adore, or the movie you’re obsessed with. You know she’s not that into it, but doesn’t it feel good to know that she’s willing to show up simply because she cares about you that much? It shows you that she isn’t selfish, that she’s willing to be open to the things that are important to you, even if they’re not important to her. Yeah, Valentine's Day is like that.

Relationships aren’t about being with someone who cares about the exact same things as you do — all the time — in the same moment — every day — for the rest of your life. You are two different human beings, sometimes with different and particular things that matter to you. Valentine's Day is a day to show her that you get it.

So this year on February 14th, show her what you’re really made of. Show her that you have the ability, the understanding, and the humility to show up and allow something that may not necessarily matter to you, matter, because it matters to her…’cause showing her that, well, that’s just good relationship karma.

Let me know how it goes…I can’t wait to hear all about it. (well, not all about it.)


PS. You can thank me later.

Original drawing by Cristina Cazan

Born in Detroit and raised in Chicago, Brooke Miller, MA is now a San Francisco based advice columnist and relationship expert. Her column, Soapbox Therapy, has been called “ Raw, honest, thought-provoking, and wisely witty” by readers and critics and can be read in several publications including The SF Chronicle’ s affiliate, TheIsCollection, and Cheeky Chicago. Brooke supports clients all over the country via Skype and phone coaching sessions. She can be contacted at brooke(a)


  • Reply February 11, 2010


    Get it? Got it. Now, remember dear readers, V-day goes both ways. Think it doesn’t? You’re wrong. Your woman doesn’t even get you a card? It’s not because it’s her day-it’s the day of your togetherness and love. But thanks to articles like this it’s hard to see the true reason behind 14th Feb. Look into it. Love goes both ways, surely.

  • Reply February 11, 2010


    Dan, I agree with you in theory–I want my girlfriend, wife, whoever to do something nice and give me attention on Valentine’s Day also, but I see no reason how that contradicts Brooke’s point. A lot of guys, and as I get older it seems like more and more, don’t like the “idea” of Valentine’s Day, that it’s a made up holiday by Hallmark, it’s just an excuse to buy flowers that you SHOULD be buying throughout the year etc. etc.

    The point of this is to reach out to jaded guys who don’t see anything good in Valentine’s Day, not take anything away from anyone. If you and yours do something special for each other on 2/14, that’s great, you guys already get it!
    .-= Andrew´s last blog ..Brooke on Boys: Why Valentine’s Day Matters =-.

  • Reply February 11, 2010


    Wow, I have a totally new perspective on Valentines Day. Always thought it was a strange concept, but I love your take, Brooke! Time to go get some flowers…

  • Reply February 11, 2010


    I second Anthony. This gives a whole new perspective-very helpful. You just gave me permission not to like Valentines Day, but now I’m actually excited for it! Is that possible? Thanks Brooke! 

  • Reply February 11, 2010

    mary fenchel

    You Go Brooke!!! It is a totally a day to celebrate all the things that we as women love!! It is my 29th Wedding Anniversary on the 14th.So my husband and I go out of our normal daily boring lives to kick it up and appreciate each other a little bit more. Everyone wishes to be someone’s Valentine, so guys and gals go that extra mile, it will be appreciated and remembered.

  • Reply February 12, 2010


    I agree, Valentines Day goes both ways. Thats what the sex part is for.

    Besides, I like giving gifts.

  • Reply February 13, 2010

    uberVU - social comments

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by SoapBoxTherapy: RT @primermag Brooke on Boys: Why Valentine’s Day Matters | Primer

  • Reply April 19, 2010


    Really great post, enjoyed reading it, check mine if you get time. Thanks,

  • Reply February 9, 2011


    Hello Brooke,
    i think youre so absolutely right about that day. But please could you give me an advice on the topic:
    There is a women i know for a lot of years. We have been dating 2-3 times, talked on the phone for many hours etc, but never got it really started, also because there are some more miles between us. She is the only women i could think about on Valentines Day, so please give me a few hints what i should do for that day.
    Spa and such things things are inappropriate. Flowers would be too shallow in my opinion. Would a personal letter/card be better?
    Please help me out on this one!
    Thanks in advance,

  • […] [1] Brooke on Boys: Why Valentine’s Day Matters, Primer Magazine: A Guy’s Post-College Guide to Growing […]

  • […] men on Vagina Day Valentine’s Day will be to reframe the event as Go Your Own Way Day. [1] Brooke on Boys: Why Valentine’s Day Matters, Primer Magazine: A Guy’s Post-College Guide to Growing […]

  • Reply February 10, 2014


    lolwut? the reason she shows up at the sport I am interested in, or the hobby I pursue, etc is because I have a lot more interests and knowledge of the world than her. If she had something she could do by herself, she would do it. I owe her nothing for tagging along to my world.. her reward is the experience itself.
    Valentine’s day is better named Women’s Vanity Day or Men’s Sucker Day.

  • Reply February 10, 2014

    Nephanor of Fraal

    What a sexist, gynocentric and narcissistic viewpoint this article presents! You may as well just say “Men don’t matter” because that is what it is telling males. It’s no wonder more and more men are realizing they are getting the short end of the stick when THIS is what you see presented as “advice for boys”. Women fought for equality under the law, now it’s time for equality in the bedroom and in relationships. If a woman can’t handle shelling out money for a man on V-Day, then she doesn’t deserve it in return.

    And if you ask “What happened to chivalry?” The answer is, feminism killed it.

  • Reply February 11, 2014


    I can’t help but appreciate the irony of a magazine which claims to be “A Guy’s. . . Guide to Growing Up” giving advice to men to infantilize women by treating them as though they are the center of the universe, especially on Valentine’s Day. Any women who has such one-sided expectations really ought to read a “Girl’s Guide to Growing Up”, in my opinion.

  • Reply February 13, 2014


    Hmmm… let’s see: I, a man, wish to start a site for women called “A chick’s post-college guide to growing up” and have everything they do, say, and look like be evaluated based on how it satisfies men.

    Yeah, Brooke, shove it up your cunt and enjoy dying alone.

  • Reply February 14, 2015


    Valentine’s day is a bullshit holiday and men have the right attitude by not being particularly into it. Sports isn’t quite the right analogy. A man can enjoy sports regardless of his partner’s presence or input. On the other hand, a women who does the whole traditional valentine’s day thing cannot enjoy it without the presence and input of her partner. He is responsible for buying the chocolates, the flowers, the card, paying for dinner and spending the evening being romantic. In the case of Valentine’s day, the unwilling participant has to fund the whole thing. Valentine’s day, if celebrated, should never be all about the women. It should be an excuse to spend time together, maybe buy a silly card and chocolate for each other.

  • Reply April 20, 2015


    So I am supposed to believe that it is all about celebrating the connection me and a woman should be MY responsibility and it should be focused completely on her? What a vapid and narcissistic way of looking at it. How about we try something different? How about we make V day about women celebrating the worth of men and not just what we can do or sacrifice for a woman. How about we have just one fucking day when the man is not expected to have all the responsibility and accountability?

  • Reply February 13, 2016


    Women spend more on themselves on valentine’s day than on men.
    Men spend more on women than on themselves.
    At no point this reverses.
    Now, if you want to be loved, be with a woman that doesn’t care about valentine’s day, specially if you are lesbian.

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