VALENTINE’S DAY, SHMALENTINE’S DAY

Those of you who know me may be thinking I’m so cynical, this is one holiday I  could never embrace.  And you’d be right.  But not because I’m against romance.  I love romance.  I just don’t find love and predictability and crazy expectations compatible.  Or romantic.

 

            Romance, like art and fashion taste, is subjective.  I cry every time I watch Brief Encounter or read Anna Karenina and I will believe in the love of Meggie and Father Ralph ‘til the day I die.  I think it’s romantic to endlessly browse in a bookstore on a Sunday afternoon or to step out onto a New York street right after it snows and hasn’t yet been slushified.  Cape Cod is romantic.  The Parisian cemetery Pere La Chaise is one of the most romantic places on earth.  Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On” is romantic.  Anything sung by James Taylor oozes romance.  Sinatra’s One For My Baby” is the romantic equivalent of orange juice concentrate.

 

            Now, for you, walking around with an amusement park stuffed bear the size of a loveseat that your date just won for you, might do the trick.  Or eating spaghetti like “Lady and the Tramp, or sipping those alcoholic neon-colored drinks with more fruit garnish than your Weight Watchers points for a month floating in them – these might spell romance for you.  Clearly, one person’s romance is another person’s laugh-riot.

 

      Maybe you find it romantic to buy pounds of chocolate or Shari’s Berries or gold chains or teensy diamond chips glued around a sterling silver heart on the same day as 20 million other people.  Perhaps you enjoy the “romance” of your spouse, your girlfriend, your mom, your kid, all having their hands out like Oliver Twist at the orphanage/workhouse, only gruel’s the furthest thing from their minds?

 

            If you do the math, few of you actually wind up feeling good on Valentine’s Day because:

 

1)   You’re alone and you don’t want to be

2)   You just dumped someone

3)   You just got dumped

4)   You just got dumped by text

5)   You just got dumped by text and emoticons

6)   You’re with someone and you don’t want to be.

7)   You’re married and you’re pretty sure you settled.

8)   You’re married and you’re positive you settled.

9)   You’re married and you’re positive you settled and the rest of us know it.

10)                 You’re still in love with that girl or guy from camp or college.

11)                 You delusionally think this first love feels the same way and is pining for you on Valentine’s Day.

12)                 You still remember how it felt in third grade when you got two Valentine’s Day cards when the class average was eleven.

13)                 That jerk from Accounting puts red and pink foil chocolate hearts on everyone’s desk, “just because…”

14)                 Your last girlfriend wanted yellow roses and you got her red ones.  Or carnations.

15)                 Your lover expected a box of Vosges chocolates, not a Whitman’s Sampler, you cheap bastard.

16)                 You got her jewelry instead of chocolate because “you think I’m fat—right?  Right?  Just say it!”

17)                 Last year your boyfriend got you that Jane Seymour fugly double-heart atrocity necklace and now you just shudder at the mere thought of the word “Jared.”

 

 

So, Happy Valentine’s Day to the believers among you, but just remember….

 

·      A chocolate rose wrapped in red tin foil is just stupid and you will wind up eating teeny bits of foil along with the low-grade chocolate-flavored lard that thing is made of.

 

 

·            *      Valentine’s Day cards that say, “I Love You Thhhisssssss Much” with paper arms popping out when you open them are not romantic  — they’re cumbersome, clichéd and there is no   such word as “Thhhhissssss.”

 

*    Anyone who gives you a single rose couldn’t afford the whole dozen. 

 

 

·                  *If you’re over 12, homemade Valentine’s Day cards are not romantic.  They’re an Arts & Crafts project, made by  the same people responsible for turning the words “craft” and “scrapbook” into verbs.  Those who say they really prefer giving and getting homemade gifts are like the people who say Brooklyn’s a better place to live in than Manhattan. Liars.  Unless you need to borrow some Scotch tape or a glitter glue gun, develop some self-esteem.

 

 

·      Any day that ‘s good for the Hallmark Channel has nothing to do with nostalgia or romance.  It has to do with money.  A huge and annoying offshoot of  Hallmark Cards, whose CEO is still sad they can’t come up with cards and paper tablecloths and “World’s Best Memorial Day Celebrator!” statuettes, will flood its television channel with films like “Destiny’s In Love,” “Love Is Destiny,” “A Dozen Roses for Rose,” “Will You Marry Me?”, “Love Will Keep Us Together, “Love Has Torn Us Apart,” “Love Has Torn Us Apart and Now We’re Together.”  All of these will star Lisa Hartman-Black, Kelly Williams-Presley, or Alexa Bledel.  Don’t believe in happy endings?  Hallmark does.  Cha-ching.

 

·      And while we’re on the subject of Hallmark, how about the Valentine’s Day cards that are “from the dog,” or “from the cat”?  Really?  Really?  I’m kinda thinking that if my cat or dog were granted opposable thumbs, a MetroCard and the chance to do something human, mailing a greeting card would be pretty low down on the list.  “And guess who else has a card for you?”  If you’re going to anthropomorphize your puppy or kitty, why not have them pretend-pick up the dinner check or clean the apartment.  Or better yet, mine.

 

·      You don’t know me, and, chances are you wouldn’t like me if you did.  So when I walk into your Walgreen’s or Gap, unless your greeting comes with a Cartier tank watch or Botega Veneta Napa Tote, please – no “Happy Valentine’s Day!”  Can I get an “amen”?

 

·      “Love” is not all you need.  Just ask anyone whose healthcare premiums have just quadrupled.

 

·      Please – for the sake of every sane person in New York who is not your child’s parents, (think about that for a minute), don’t dress your ten-month old with the Michelin tire-thighs up as Cupid on Valentine’s Day.  We don’t think it’s cute.  We don’t think your child is cute.  In fact, we think you and your partner should have used a condom.  Thanks in advance.

 

·      Why are you wearing red to work on Valentine’s Day?  If you’re at work, then it isn’t a real holiday because – well – you’re at work.  Also, it’s so predictable.  It reminds us that in four weeks you’ll be wearing that “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” t-shirt and stinking from green-beer-breath.  This year, why not try a “Kiss Me, I’m Bill Gates” t-shirt, which I’m certain would be both unique and more effective.

 

·      Don’t put giant red hearts on your front door.  No one’s trick-or-treating.  No one’s stopping by for egg nog.  If you and your partner are so in love, why, when I’m waiting for the elevator, must I listen to the two of you shout, “Why did I marry you – you’re a pig!” and “Hitting you would be worth the night in jail – at least you wouldn’t be there!”  Just because the holiday’s a charade, it doesn’t mean you have to be one, too. 

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