For years now, women have been made to apologise for expecting Valentine's Day to be a feast day for love. To be honest, I get annoyed just thinking about this.

For years now, women have been made to apologise for expecting Valentine's Day to be a feast day for love. To be honest, I get annoyed just thinking about this.

Men are reluctant participants, even when all the ingredients are nicely chilling in the fridge and all they have to do is show up and say "yes".

What have we done? We have turned our beasts into conceited little brats who want everything laid out for them. Have we also gone too far to reverse the damage?

Unless you are a damsel in distress, a man will just look on as if praying for an emergency call.

These are the stories I hear all the time.

But as I vowed on a stack of Bibles never to lead the pack of wild dogs to bite strangers, I have told my friends to refrain from saying things about people who aren't there to defend themselves.

I am, or rather was, the last of the civil women.

Because my friends and their men have a sickeningly tight circle of friends, we socialise compulsively. Someone tried to spread the word we have nights of orgies. Who can blame him?

The damsels, knowing my chutzpah, asked me to phone around and find out what the men would really, really love to receive from their beauties for Valentine's Day. I got the shock of my life.

First of all, my mind is made up: all men are brothers. Getting anything out of them needs the jaws of life. You wouldn't believe it's the same group of men who spent time bashing my couches for Bafana Bafana's blunders.

It was as if I had asked for their bank balance (that's another matter for another day).

They first mumbled something along the lines of wanting a guarantee it would be a night of total silence. "A token or a card that reads: tonight I will not ask you anything," he suggested. Where does he get off, I ranted.

He answered that if I were to ask my own man, he would agree.

Relationships are often cracked by the icy silence, so talking could only do the opposite, quipped his hurt girlfriend later.

On candidate number two, my man, the voice of reason, I was hoping to make progress to either forget about the spooky silence or go back and tell candidate number one to move in with him.

"So what in general would men love for Valentine's Day?" I asked politely. He was silent for a long time before cross-examining me for motives. I filled out the why, wherefore, what and all that crap, and waited.

He answered. "It would be nice for you to just make it with fewer bells and whistles and maybe just pretend it's just another night, only more peaceful."

"But the Playstation, the DVDs, clothes, perfume and underwear are also very nice. It's the only time when women go into silent mode, waiting for you to jump for joy.

"Inside, the guy is hoping that's it's not the right present. We don't want to jump for joy and disturb the peace."

They are not only docile, they are benevolent, if you know what I mean.

Tips on buying presents for men

Forget card stores and and be original. Buying a present is a little show of your own personality as well as your interpretation of the recipient's own style.

lUnderwear: Men have still to catch on to the idea that the nest on its own is an unflattering sight. Thank God for the emerging come hither cuts that are changing the face of the errr ... nest.

l Sunglasses: A nice present but dicey because until you fit the glasses, you can't tell if they will be flattering or not.

l Gift Cards: Absa offers gift cards ranging from R50 to R3000.

l Music: I've yet to find a man who shuns a good CD. But make sure to go with his style even if his artist of choice is Prince or Mapaputsi.

lPlaystation: I personally hate them but men love them.

Any form of play unleashes the child within. Good luck with getting him off the couch and into the sack later on.

lBooks:The Boys of Summer by Roger Khan

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Stand By Me by Stephen King

Baba: Men and Fatherhood in SA edited by Linda Richter and Robert Morrell

A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean

Still Grazing by Hugh Masekela

Movies: The Last Samurai, Legends of the Fall, DeJavu, The Dead Presidents.