laura packardSleepless in Seattle is one of my favorite rom/com movies, ever. And my favorite quote comes from Rosie O’Donnell’s caustic, yet lovable character, Becky. After reading a letter she and Meg Ryan’s Annie, assumed came from Mr. Sleepless himself (instead of his eight-year-old son), she reminds us “verbal ability is a highly overrated thing in a guy, and it’s our pathetic need for it that gets us into to so much trouble in the first place.” Amen, Becky. Amen and God Bless, Nora Ephron, actually.

            See, the context behind this quote is the very reason man created Valentine’s Day in the first place, somewhere between caveman clubs and ESPN. No one knows for sure. Quite cleverly, it’s the one officially official occasion where there’s no need to try and articulate your feelings. That’s because someone else out there can do it for you. It’ll cost you, of course, because nothing is free except for unwanted advice, acne, and those flyers some phantom person you’ll never see puts on the windshield of your car.

            Having trouble telling your significant other how you really feel about her? All you have to do is give her a box of candy conversation hearts and she’ll know she’s your “One and Only,” your “True Love” and “Baby Girl.” Or for the more modern gal, she’ll feel special knowing she’s the “LOML,” a “Rock Star,” or just flat out “UR HOT.”

            Not to mention, there is nothing more personal and romantic than expressing  your love through empty calories and a tiny card with the Vice President’s face on it captioned, “I’ve been Biden my time to tell you how I feel. Be mine.” To that I’d say kick him and the hollowed out dark chocolate heart to the curb while quoting the great V.P. himself; now that was “a successful dump!”

            Please don’t think I’m being too cynical, because if I’m anything (besides a nail bitter, head scratcher and a horrible speller), I’m a realist. I don’t expect my man to shoot off love missives the likes of those written by Byron, Shelley or Shakespeare. Let’s face it, if your main squeeze sent you a love letter like Keats sent to his amour, Fanny Brawne in 1819, saying, “I could be a martyr for my Religion. You are my religion. I could die for that. I could die for you,” you’d probably take out a restraining order.

            Personally, if my husband came home and said, “Sit in my lap, my love, and tell me of your day,” I’d laugh really loudly before asking him if he hit his head on something hard. I guess I’m just wondering what’s wrong with wanting a happy medium concerning verbal expression. I’m afraid my guy falls into the less is more or open mouth insert foot type of partner communication.

Here’s are a few missives for you:

            “You might not want to wear that,” he says 2.2 seconds before we leave the house.

            “Why, does it make me look fat?” I ask.

            Here’s where most men know better, but like the Terminator after being run over by an eighteen wheeler (or in my husband’s case, being hit over the head with a 12 pound purse), he just keeps right on going:

            “Well, yeah. It’s kind of tight around your hips,” he’ll say back, real matter of fact like, before jiggling the keys and strolling out the door.


            “Hey, hon,” I say, finding him in the den after coming home from getting my hair highlighted. “How does it look?”

            “Like the two-toned Buick station wagon my mom used to drive in the 80s,” he answers before turning back to the Golf Channel and a half-eaten bowl of Fruity Pebbles. “Hey Farrah, since you’re up can you grab me some more milk and half a banana.”

            I’m telling you, my man definitely has a way with words. But as I sit here writing this, I think to myself that I really should cut him some slack. Thanks to emoticons, the swipe of Tinder and auto-correct while texting . . . just to name a few, romance and poetry aren’t really part of a man’s vernacular anymore, so can we really blame them for not writing in prose, iambic pentameter or complete sentences?

            After all, it’s not what’s in the words but in the heart that really matters in the end. And my husband has a heart of gold.

            It’s just sometimes . . . if only once a year . . . like  Tom Hanks’ Sam in Sleepless,  can you forget the cards, all the sugary candy, the pesky kids and we can “go off for a weekend special at the Holiday Inn.” There’s one a mile and a half down the road.

            We don’t have to talk about our love, respect and mutual admiration for one another. We don’t have to talk at all. Why? Because they have black out curtains, room service and just released movies On Demand.

            Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all. I hope you feel the love and have a few laughs.