I was having a hard time explaining to my Darling Wife just how offensive Valentines Day is to me as a loving husband and a man. Finally I came up with this analogy, which only works because there is a certain flavor of American Indian and a certain amount of alcoholism in her family.
There is a holiday called Drunk Indian Day. Most Indians are sober but they celebrate it anyway, because they feel social pressure to do so. Celebration consists of (at least) buying a stupid little stereotypical-Indian doll with a bottle in its hand and its eyes crossed. This is the Drunk Indian doll. Purchasing one of these dolls and presenting it to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting is the way you show that you are not, in fact, a Drunkard.
Nevermind that you are the co-ordinator of the local Alcoholics Anonymous chapter and a teetotaler and everyone knows it. IF you don’t buy that little Drunk Indian dolly, well that just means you’re a drunk and probably spent last night in the gutter in your own vomit, instead of at the store buying the doll! It is, after all, exptected that you buy the doll to celebrate your sobriety.
This works equally well for Crackhead Niggers Day, where you have to go find a small bag of quartz pebbles and present them in a little tiny plastic baggie, to PROVE to society that you are not, in fact, a crackhead nigger.
This also works for Wifebeatin’ Redneck Honky day, where you have to go buy a white muscle shirt and a pack of band-aids to prove you don’t beat your wife.
The point is, to make the analogy work for the woman to whom you are trying to explain it, you have to have a really strong, very negative stereotype of some group to which they are proud to belong. Then have some useless commercial activity and a meaningless presentation to “prove” that you do not live up to the stereotype and then have it be “Oh . . . WELL. . . ” if you fail to participate in the activity.
Finally I think I broke through her childhood conditioning regarding Valentines Day. The thing is, I don’t *mind* getting her flowers or whatever on one specified day! The *expectation* and the *demand* that I produce them, THAT’s the problem.