Friday, February 09, 2007

The Problem With Valentine's Day

Weekend Assignment #151: Is Valentine's Day a genuinely romantic day? Or just a big commercial money pit into which romantic people fall? Go on, share how you really feel about the day -- whether you enjoy it, or feel like it's forced on you by greeting card companies, or fall somewhere in between those two poles.

Oh, that. Both and neither, I guess. Yes, it can be romantic, and yes, it can be a racket. For John and me, though, Valentine's Day is mostly a minor annoyance and a problem.

Yes, yes, of course we love each other. Yes, I'm reasonably romantic, and John, well, John has his moments. But Valentine's Day sets up expectations that neither John nor I come close to meeting, most years.

Visit Safeway for all your romantic needs. Or not.

Look at this stuff, for example. This is one of several displays of Valentine's Day-themed merchandise at my local Safeway. Are the Blochers likely to buy any of these items? Hardly. I like teddy bears, sure, but the few stuffed animals I have, except for Trophy, are in a box somewhere. Why should John bring another one into a house that's already overcrowded with stuff? Decorative boxes? Where would we put them? Do they even go with our Midcentury Modern decor? What possible use would we have for them? No. None of these gifts would go over well with either of us. Let's move on.

Oh, look, another bear, and lots of flowers. I'm allergic to most flowers, which, like my allergy to cats, severely curtails my appreciation of them. No, no flowers, thanks. I seldom wear jewelry, so it would be silly to buy me something that involves diamonds. Candy? Again, no. John is being very good with his dieting, and I...well, one of these days I'll start in again. In the meantime, we're not likely to buy each other much candy.

Jessica Rabbit valentine graphic. Copyright Disney.

Aside from cards, which are almost always rather lame, that pretty much leaves just some personalized creative endeavor as a possible Valentine's Day gift. A year or two ago, I turned this Jessica Rabbit graphic into a rather clever valentine for John, the details of which I've since forgotten. That's pretty much as good as it gets around here. Neither of us is likely to write or appreciate a love poem, or serenade each other.

So what will John and I do to mark the day and our love for each other? If it's like most years, we'll either exchange lame cards, confess that we didn't remember to get anything, or make some other half-hearted attempt at a love offering. We'll probably kiss, and that will be that. Exciting, huh?

But here's why it doesn't matter. John knows I love him. I know he loves me. We've been married nearly 28 years, and our marriage has generally improved with our finances. We don't need Valentine's Day to tell us how we feel - or to prove our love for each other.

Extra credit: Suggest a nice romantic movie.

Yes, it's an AOL-centric movie, and the technology angle has quickly become dated and quaint. That doesn't matter at all. This is my favorite Nora Ephron or Nora Ephronesque romantic comedy. Hey, it's about bibliophiles and the plight of the small business in the modern world. It's funny, and it's got a great cast, and it's a remake of an old Jimmy Stewart movie that I hope to see someday. What's not to like?



daverichards said...

Well Valentines Day is just next week and everyone is pretty excited about it...well for some really cool resources to wish your loved ones just drop by my blog on Valentines Day and enjoy all that's there!!!

Carly said...

Hi Karen :)

The movie you speak of is called, "The Shop Around The Corner." DO NOT WAIT--- RENT IT AND SHARE IT WITH JOHN! :) It's perfect for Valentine's Day.


DesLily said...

I love You've got Mail lol... it's before Meg Ryan messed up her whole personality by having stuff done to her face...

Bea said...

Well, you pretty much summed up how Valentine's Day has been for me. I see it as a commercial trap. I understand it's beginnings, as far as the legend of a priest named Valentine who was executed for performing marriage ceremonies for Roman soldiers and their brides, against the emperor's rule. Anyway, a dramatic story, and a love story. I don't think we need one special day to acknowledge our love for another. I usually make a card for my husband, but it seems that putting together Valentine's for my students took away the time I usually give to him. Unfair, but I fell into that trap easily enough. So, though my students will be getting valentines from me tomorrow, my husband will have to settle for a special dinner instead. I think he'd rather have the dinner than the card. He doesn't like the taste of paper! bea