I know it’s hard for some factions of the universe to accept, but not all women are into jewelry. Not all women cream themselves over the very mention of chocolate, either. And some women wouldn’t even know what to do if their intended showed up on their doorstep clutching a $4.99 bouquet from Trader Joe’s, ostensibly to brighten up their day. Flowers just don’t do for it some women.

I used to be one of these women, but let me explain. For most of my life, there were only two situations I knew of where a man would give a woman flowers:

  • Valentine’s Day (roses)
  • When he fucked up

These are both gross situations that are full-on gross to get flowers in—no offense if you like a big, stupid rose bouquet on V-Day or a dozen carnations makes up for a guy fucking your best friend or whatever, but no. Try to do things any other way just one time. And because I literally never knew a dude who thought to give flowers in any other situation (deep South, only knew stupid people) I had no idea you could just give someone flowers for no reason. Just because.

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Also I had no idea you could just give flowers to yourself. That you could have a bunch of flowers in your house if you wanted. Like whichever ones you wanted! Sky’s the limit! Whatever you can afford! This is what happens when you grow up next to a 6-year-old girl who calls her mom a hussy. Fresh flowers simply aren’t part of the equation. Hussies do love flowers, but they simply don’t have them lying around because, as you know, they are too busy being so brazen, which we as a society tend not to like to reward.

But here’s the thing: The history of giving flowers, which dates back thousands of years in numerous cultures, is pretty sweet. If it’s true that Victorians used flowers instead of expressing actual emotions, then that’s the sort of thing I can get behind. If I’d known different flowers mean different, highly specific things like secret little codes, I would have had a lot more respect for them much sooner.

For instance, according to a history of the meaning of flowers at Smithsonian Gardens, an almost soap-opera level range of feeling could once be conveyed through these objects: bluebells meant kindness, peonies, bashfulness, tulips expressed passion, and rhododendron intimated danger. Myrtle was as good as wishing a bride good luck in her marriage, and purple violet meant your thoughts were occupied with love. All this makes a hurriedly purchased inflated bag of roses one day a year look downright sinister, if not wildly unoriginal. Just as it equally makes the misstep of giving someone you love bleeding hearts, the official funeral flower of Tibet, all the more delicious. (Just like you, I learned this from the movie The Wedding Planner.)

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Over at reddit, someone wanted help understanding why we even give women flowers, anyway—ostensibly a man, Fachow, who loves doing so, and who put the question to the women’s forum thusly:

Hello all.

As usually happens throughout life, I have fallen madly in love with a woman. I leave her flowers on a small vase I bought her every morning.

I was asked before by a previous lover why I like giving flowers. I did not know what to say. For now, here is the list I have compiled on why I give flowers:

1). They are good to look at and de-stress. 2). Numerous benefits for mental health. Reduces anxiety, negativity, depression, etc. 3). I want to give her something as beautiful as how she makes me feel.

That’s about all I got. I love flowers, but I feel like I am missing something in the reasoning.

Why do you like receiving flowers? Or what are the best reasons/meanings for giving flowers?

EDIT: Forgot to add. Let me know why you hate getting them as well. Thanks all.

Before we get into the responses, I think his reasoning is fine and good. These are the reasons for giving flowers, and, besides, even if you don’t like flowers, need one even ask why flowers are good? To quote the brilliantly slummy Joe Dirt, “Might as well ask why is a tree good? Why is the sunset good? Why are boobs good?”

But yes, they are also bad, if you are allergic, or just don’t care, or any other number of reasons. I will say in defense of the flower-indifferent that much like not wearing makeup or jewelry, not digging on flowers means you will spend your whole life fielding questions like, “Aren’t you supposed to like flowers if you’re a girl?” “What’s wrong with you?”

At reddit, commenters said things like:

evergleam498

I know I’m probably in the minority here, but I hate getting flowers.

All you can do with cut flowers is watch them slowly wilt and die. Potted flowers are similar, because I am not good at keeping plants alive.

I used to be fairly neutral about flowers, but I started hating them after my mom got sick. Everyone sent flowers. Our world was falling apart, and the dining room was full of dead plants.

And

Lung_doc

I like buying flowers for myself. And for my mom and grandmother. And i like it when my uncle brings flowers every thanksgiving.

But back when I was young - I actually never really liked getting flowers from guys all that much Not sure why - every once in a while is fine but too much feels like they are maybe pushing / trying to hard.

I also find the showiness of displaying flowers at work a bit too much (I’m sort of private) - but I see lots of girls for whom that’s kind of the point - which is fine too just not my thing!

and

MiniTru

Flowers all have meanings. If you were in love, you sent a red rose. You sent a good friend a yellow rose. Daisies meant purity. These meanings have been lost. I love getting flowers because it means you were thinking of me. I hate getting flowers because they die and I have to throw them out. Flower meanings here:

http://www.theflowerexpert.com/content/aboutf…

and

looseleafliesoflow

I always thought it was something like, “You’re pretty, this is pretty, this goes with you, now you’re matching. Nice.”

and

cricketter

I quite dislike getting flowers, I don’t know what to do with them. They just wilt and die. I have learned to appreciate some flowers that are still part of a living plant and they aren’t cut and given to me. Orchids are lots of fun, but I still wouldn’t know what to do if someone gives them to me.

Also, does the woman you’re giving flowers to, like them? That’s the important part.

and

MuppetManiac

I don’t really like getting flowers except on very rare occasion. They don’t do anyone any good. They’re just a waste of money.

I’d rather have a bottle of wine. Fortunately, my fiancé knows this. He says the mysterious bottle of wine that occasionally appears on my kitchen counter comes from the wine fairy.

And though many a person has trotted out the “they’re dead anyway” counter, I think most people can understand that a thing dying does not eradicate said thing’s beauty or value. What doesn’t die, eventually, aside from, you know, the total sum of all the plastic garbage we’ve ever tossed?

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That said, I honestly think that the only good gift flowers anymore are pointless flowers. Flowers for no occasion other than someone wanted to give you flowers. I think all the holidays have hijacked and ruined flowers in every sense by making them something we must all do or else risk alienation and anger/sadness from our loved ones. And don’t fucking listen to websites that say, in a very whiny voice I might add, “I’m a woman, spoil me with flowers even if I don’t deserve it blurghity blurgh blurgh!”

Let’s try this. Let’s all:

  • Bring back the meaning of flowers, which is super cool
  • Give flowers because you were thinking of someone and not because it’s a “Flower Holiday”
  • Give them to men or women or children or anyone!

It’s like this amazing slideshow I found about why we give flowers says:

At this point in time, everything is actually possible. Can you even imagine? Why, you could even give flowers to a hussy.


Contact the author at tracy.moore@jezebel.com.

Illustration by Sam Woolley.