Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Ill Fate of Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day used to be my favorite holiday. I'm not kidding. Even when I was single, I loved it. I loved all of the cute little candies, and the sugar cookies with pink sprinkles. I loved sending Valentines. Sending a Valentine was a really easy way to tell someone you cared about them with none of the worry of looking dumb, or saying the wrong thing, or finding out that the feelings aren't mutual, even if they were just friendly feelings and not romantic feelings. I mean, no part of that little Pooh image threatens anyone, and on the inside of the card you just write something simple, like "have a great day!," and yet, you've clearly thought about someone. I've never disliked a Valentine I've received, and while I suppose there are people who do, well, that just seems very much not in the spirit of things.

I thought it would be useful to read up on the history of Valentine's Day. It's actually Saint Valentine's Day, which I knew. The story I heard was that St. Valentine would leave bags of gold at peasant girls' houses so they would have money for a dowry and could get married. I didn't see that in the wikipedia listing, but maybe I just didn't get that far. The wikipedia article is actually remarkably boring. Here's what I did get out of it. There were multiple Saint Valentines, and the Catholic Church decided that it shouldn't be a religious holiday anymore because nobody can actually remember what St. Valentine did. And apparently, Saint Valentine's Day had nothing to do with romantic love until Geoffrey Chaucer came along and wrote about love birds in his Parlement of Foules. I've never read that one. Chaucer is tough.

Then I scrolled down a bit more and the article talks about how Valentines became increasingly popular in the 1800s, and how fancier ones had ribbons and lace and such. Making home-made Valentines sounds to me like a good way to relieve the boredom of long winters. (I mean, the rumor is February was made the shortest month just so we could get it over with sooner).

**Spoiler Alert**

I actually made my husband a home-made Valentine this year...sort of. It was kind of a scrap-booking type kit, but I had to arrange it (there were lots of options, this was not exactly paint-by-numbers), and add the photos, and write a note. It was actually enjoyable and relaxing. But if I was going to make a Valentine for everyone I cared about, it would quickly become a very stressful project. Which is decidedly not the point.

Despite my general enjoyment of Valentine's Day, I do not enjoy the commercial mess it has become. Restaurants are crowded, roses go up in price, and I don't need to a holiday to justify eating chocolate. Captain America and I are going to see Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers at the Old Globe on Valentine's Day. I've never seen or read the play before, so don't ruin it for me if you have, but from what I understand, romantic is not exactly the adjective to describe it.

That's okay. Because you know what is romantic? The fact that Captain America vacuums. Besides the fact that there's nothing hotter than a handsome man doing housework, a clean house=a happy wife, a happy wife=a relaxed wife, a relaxed wife=...well, you can see where I'm going with this.

This year, I am clearly uninspired to participate a whole lot in Valentine's day. I'm not sending out Valentines, and I'm not sitting in crowed restaurants. I don't care if I get a dozen roses or a box of chocolates. My sweetie and I are going to spend the day together, which is good enough for me!

1 comment:

  1. That's excatly how I feel, too. Pete is romantic every day when he takes out the trash and recycling and empties the dishwasher, so actual Valentine's Day is not as big a deal as it used to be. We're lucky women!