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5 humiliating ‘celebrations’ that must die

1. National Proposal Day

Ladies, are you tired of being left on the shelf? Have you been shacked up with your beloved for years and he’s still not willing to put a ring on it? Why not force the issue on National Proposal Day!

No, this isn’t the one day of the year when it’s ok for you to take the initiative and propose; that would be 50 shades of emasculating! What you can do is send your beloved a Proposal Day card, intimating ‘in a light-hearted and non-threating manner’ that you are ready and willing to be proposed to.

This special day was invented by one man called John Michael O’Loughlin after saw his cousin’s boyfriend ‘string her along for years’, without so much as a sniff of Tiffany eggshell blue! ‘Sending a Proposal Day!® card to your true love is a decisive act, designed to generate a response,’ promises the Proposal Day website. ‘By acting as a catalyst, the Holiday helps the single seeking marriage avoid unknowingly spending years searching for a ring within a relationship that is not ever likely to present it in the future.’ Hear that, ladies? Nothing speaks louder to your freeloading sack of shit that a Proposal Day ultimatum. Best wishes!

2. Debutante balls

Historically, when upper class maidens reached marriageable age, they were ‘debuted’ into high society at a debutante ball.

Times have changed and we’re egalitarian now. Even the scozzas can ‘do their Deb’ if they can find a pimpled youth to attend dancing lessons with them. After forking over up to $1000 for a virginal white dress, hair and make-up and dancing lessons, she will present herself to the Rotary Clubhouse, whereupon the head old codger will debut her to the other local codgers in the name of raising money for charity. Once the meat platter raffle has been called, the young debutantes carefully perform the antiquated dances of old high society, as a dignified precursor to the more recent debutante tradition; vomiting up their Bacardi and Fanta. The debutante and her pimpled youth will then lose whatever remains of each other’s virginity in the back of a panel van. (Gay youngsters need not apply; egalitarianism has its limits.)

3. Humiliating hen’s nights

As the movie weddings tell us, inside every woman is a little girl who wants to be a princess for a day. And inside every hen is supposedly a frustrated stripper nurse who isn’t having fun until she’s sucking Cosmo pre-mix through a penis-shaped straw. No one – no one – actually looks at such hens’ party invites and thinks ‘I just can’t wait to can wear LED devil horns and line up for hours outside a club. MM, I am really looking forward to paying cold hard cash for the privilege of having a ‘roided up gym bunny grab my hands and rub them down his oily orange thighs!’ But failure to partake in this ritualised humiliation will have you dubbed ‘a bad friend’, now and forever.

4. Bouquet toss

“C’mon all you single girls, it’s time for the bouquet toss!” What could possibly be humiliating about herding female wedding guests, based on their marital status, into a large open space to be ogled by other guests as they force themselves to get into wedding spirit by fighting each other for a posy of lilies? Everyone, bar drunk 16 year-old cousins, loathes this ritual. We partake for the bride. Until one day, we just don’t.

5. Valentine’s Day

Creating relationship insecurity on Valentine’s Day is now a $17 billion dollar industry.

There’s a lot of money to be made in telling couples what women are supposed to want. According to the totally unbiased Retail Advertising and Marketing Association, the percentage of women who would end their relationship if they didn’t get something on Valentine’s Day is 53%. Because nothing says ‘romance’ like the promise that if you don’t buy your girlfriend a bunch of genetically modified roses, freshly plucked from a refrigerated Ecuadorean shipping container, she will leave you.

I live around the corner from two florists and a chocolate shop, and every Valentine’s Day I experience a kind of cognitive dissonance. On one hand, I find heart-shaped anything on Valentine’s Day about as authentically romantic as a Kardashian proposal. But on the other, I’m acutely aware that if I don’t get some cheesy tat, I am expected to lose my shit. For according to ‘online dating expert’ Julie Shapiro, that’s what all women want! “Women wait for Valentine’s Day with the hope that their special guy will either propose, offer to take his online dating profile down, or say “I love you” for the first time.” That’s right, us ladies secretly measure our lovability by the size of the bouquets on our Facebook feeds!

And what’s more romantic than being told when to have sex by a florist? According to this ad starring Victoria’s Secret model Adriana Lima, if you’re a man who gets his woman a bunch of stems on Valentine’s Day, she’s contractually obliged to ‘give you’ sex in return! But we women shouldn’t complain. On February 14th we get flowers for having sex, whereas on March 14th (known as ‘Steak and blow job day’) we get nothing. Right. Because no one ever made a buck suggesting women might want their own sexual favours, rather flowers and baubles.

What could we possibly add to this list? And do we have any male equivalents?

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