So my sister, who is “mother” to my nephew’s second-grade class, just finished baking, decorating, and glassine-wrapping enough heart-shaped cookies so that all the little tiny terrors in Ms. Wilson’s room will receive a Valentine that provides, according to sis, “enough sugar to last them the weekend.” Twenty-seven sets of parents are sending bad vibes her way.
I, on the other hand, applaud her for coming up with age-appropriate tokens of Valentine affection. Too bad the same can’t be said of Valentines for grown-ups. At least not the ones peddled by an outfit in Bernie Sanders’ home state, the Vermont Teddy Bear Company.
For the last month or so, late-night insomniacs have been jolted out of their torpor by a lewdly insinuating voice extolling the virtues of the “big hunka love bear”™ (BHLB). According to the voice, guys who buy their gals the BHLB will score big. Who knew that adult women swoon over gigantic stuffed animals? Better than a ballotin—the contents of which “will have her asking if she looks fat—you don’t want to go there”—this ursine playmate is guaranteed to “have her thinking of you in a big way.”
Accompanying this subtle pitch a busty blond pantomimes erotic rapture at the sight of the polyester panda. The scene quickly shifts to the executive suite, where Goldilocks, now got up as a busy executrix, quivers in pre-coital excitement as she espies the BHLB that has commandeered her desk and chair. Nothing, but nothing, screams “take me seriously” more than having your boyfriend cart a 6’ teddy bear into your place of employment.
There are so many things wrong with the idea that a grown woman would appreciate a child’s toy as a Valentine’s Day gift that I don’t know where to begin. The creepy hint of pedophilia cannot be denied. Never mind suggesting that a stuffed animal is a good sex substitute for a boyfriend who is now free to spend his evening drinking beers with his buddies. It’s enough to give bears in the BDSM community a bad name. But worst of all is the sad fact that your girlfriend will know you lack the imagination to come up with a gift that doesn’t generally bear a tag warning three-year-olds of choke hazards; the curiosity to know her favorite author, perfume, or candy; or the ambition to do anything more than pick up the phone and call right now. Better you should just slip her a candy heart.