I woke up this morning with VD on the brain (Valentine’s Day, silly. Since Hallmark doesn’t have cards for Allen Iverson Days and Standard Testing Day, this is my only funny semi-holiday name acronym). Getting back to VD, I have very mixed feelings about the whole thing and thought I would share them.
Viewpoint #1: I see it as a ridiculous over-hyped commercial celebration. Yeah, I know all the stupid history and stories on it; I read the Sunday “Parade” so I’m well-informed about such critical news. But nothing I see now even vaguely resembles that supposed history (which, btw, I think is revisionist bunk created by the card & candy companies in the 19th century). What I see are endless ads for Kay Jewelers and Jared, telling every guy that he had better choke up with a rock or he is dead meat (and Grandma won’t accept him if he doesn’t buy it at Jared, but that’s another issue).
Valentine’s Day is one of those ‘pressure days’ we dread each year. New Year’s Eve and Christmas are the other two. Single people flip out if they’re alone, newly-dating people worry about the whole “love” concept on cards, coupled people struggle with choosing the wrong gift, and married people just want to get through the day unscathed. The day makes people crazy. I watched two guys staring at a row of ugly stuffed animals at the supermarket, as if their wives would actually want that. Even worse, two French guys at Walgreen’s yesterday were helping each other buy one giant balloon and one set of “romantic dice” each. The dice — ‘kiss here, hug there’ nonsense — were 2 for $3 and the second guy started a heated argument with the manager about being charged sales tax on them. I have decided that he wins Cheapest VD Date for 2008, which is saying something because the guy behind me in line was holding a stuffed plush in the shape of a giant rose. Blech. Overall, I think it is a no-win situation for the love-stricken who suffer from poor planning and buying skills because the message is “do something or you’re a loser”.
Viewpoint #2: I am a girl. Not just a regular girl, I mean a really girly girl. The whole flowers, chocolate, and jewelry thing get me right in the heart. Though my brain says I’m foolish, the little girl in me screams “Take me someplace where I need to wear a dress and treat me like a princess for the day!” There are some fine points to this, however.
The celebration has to be sincere. I would much rather go to a neighborhood Italian joint than a fancy-schmancy 5-star restaurant if my date really thought it would be more enjoyable. I would rather have a card than roses if the card was earnest. When treated like a chore, any celebration is hollow. I can buy my own flowers and dinner. It’s not the gift, it really is the thought that I appreciate.
The worst gift I ever got for Valentine’s Day was a very expensive track suit and a pair of diamond earrings. This was the worst because: A. they didn’t come from the heart at all, B. I already had the same exact earrings, C. never buy a woman anything exercise or home-related as a romantic gift. Not only was I crestfallen, but now I had to go return stuff I didn’t want. Thankfully, my current man is smarter than that and also doesn’t sleepwalk his way through relationships or life.
To summarize: VD is bad and it’s good. It’s bad because it facilitates unreasonable expectations and anxiety. It’s good because it reminds you to look at the person you love with fresh eyes and tell them exactly how you feel. So, be sure to use today to honestly share those feelings with those you love — whether it’s your significant other, your kids, your friends, or even your dog (not your cat. they don’t care how you feel).