Now, don’t get me wrong. As Miracle Max said, True Love is almost as good as a nice MLT (where the tomato is ripe and perky). The fact that I am, apparently, destined to belong to the Great Spinsterhood has very little to do with my complete antipathy for the hearts-and-flowers of February 14.
Very little, I said; I can’t in complete honesty say absolutely nothing …
Anyway. It’s no more fun being single on this day than I imagine it is to be without family on Christmas or Thanksgiving. But – in absolute honesty – that’s not the main reason.
My repugnance for the day stems partly from memories of harassed men hastening into the pharmacy where I had my first job right before closing. They would run to aisle 7, where the candy was, and stare, dismayed, at the three-foot-high heart-shaped boxes that were all that was left (more prudent men having already cleaned the place out of normal-sized boxes), and then they’d move over a couple of aisles to stare, dismayed, at the monstrous-sized Valentines that were the only ones left in the card racks. And they would ask me pitifully if V-day stuff wasn’t on sale yet? It wasn’t. They’d pony up anyway, because they knew the fate waiting for them if they showed up home (or wherever) empty-handed. It was pathetic. It happened every year. And I prayed I’d never be that type of harpy who inspired such terror, and that I’d never have a man in my life who was so … feckless.
Maybe that’s why I’m perpetually single. Prayers are answered, and not always in the way you expect. Hm.
That was a major contributor to my deep-set contempt for pre-manufactured expressions of affection. I just can’t see myself opening up a box of Russell Stovers (especially one of the ones that come wrapped by Russell Stover – for heaven’s sake at least put a bow on the thing) or a cellophane-enveloped bunch of roses with a Stop & Shop label on it – and being happy about it. Don’t get me started on diamonds. (Talk about your manufactured sentiment and non-existent tradition … DeBeers has mastered the advertising campaign, to the point that it’s unthinkable that diamonds were ever not necessary for an engagement ring.) I doubt I’d turn my nose up at it, out of courtesy if nothing else – but I think I’d be a little disappointed. There’s no authenticity of any emotion connected with that. To me that doesn’t say “I love you” – it just says “You demand I give you stuff on February 14, and I know if I don’t I’m sleeping on the couch, so here, I went to the drug store or the grocery store and got you what all the other guys were getting. Oh, and here’s a sickly pink stuffed bear holding a big fat heart. Happy now?”
The main reason I hate Valentine’s Day – beside the fact that the date is apparently (depending on where you look) based on when birds begin to pair up and has nothing to do with Valentine except the coincidence that it was his feast day – is the same horror that fills me with Christmas and Easter. Easter ain’t about the bunny, kids, and Christmas should not be symbolized by the jolly red-suited man. And the holidays should not be about handing over lots and lots (and lots) of money to Hallmark and Russell Stover. It makes me queasy that there are probably millions of kids who have no idea of Christmas or Easter beyond the commercial symbols, and it just baffles me how the candy and greeting card companies completely own February 14. (Some day I’ll look into the history – commercial valentines have been around a long time, apparently, at least into Victorian years. So Hallmark isn’t entirely to blame.)
(For the matter of all of that I’m none too thrilled with the trivialization of the Irishness of St. Patrick’s Day – no, everyone is *not* Irish on March 17: getting drunk does not equal getting Irish. But I digress.)
To me, a genuine expression of love on a random day would be massively more romantic than all the cards and chocolates and force-grown roses in all the grocery stores in the world. This has been your annual pink-Grinch post. Your mileage may vary, a chacun son gout, and may wuv, twoo wuv, fowwow you fowever.
Me? I am a rock. I am an island.