Love and Valentine

Everywhere I look today, from the “$1 = 1 kiss” signs on the sidewalk by some ladies raising money for a local charity, to the $9.99 talking teddy bear decking the aisles in Walgreens, love is unmistakably in the air.

Not many know the history of St. Valentine’s martyrdom, yet millions of people around the world engage in celebrations in his name. Growing up, I never knew of Valentine’s Day … it was only when I was in high school — aah that sweet, tender age of 16 — that Archies Cards started promoting this love-fest. Boys went down on their knees “proposing” to their sweethearts across school and college campuses. Girls came home carrying pink soft toys and a blush.

Outraged by the widespread exhibition of such a private emotion, extremists beat up teenagers to “preserve our culture.” This merited national headlines and the following year, Valentine’s Day celebrations picked up more steam. Now we could choose from musical cards to mugs to personalized photo frames embellished with hearts. And then Hallmark entered the fray…

Years later I would get a call from my mom in Iowa City — you didn’t send me a Valentine’s Day card this year! “Huh?” Apparently, the romantic aspect had been extended to parents, grandparents, nephews and nieces, even pets! There was a Valentine card and gift for everyone. Chocolates made especially for the occasion. Pre-fixed menus. Champagne. Oh, I forgot the dozen long-stemmed premium red roses. At a premium, of course.

From a simple note a guy wrote in jail for his beloved, to a no-expenses barred extravaganza. How did we get here? And why?

Why do we let the expression of our emotions become a business? Why can’t we celebrate the one we love by saying thank you? By simple gestures … a peck on the cheek, a shared cold drink, an evening spent talking … and listening.

Why do we have to limit it to one day in the year? A day dedicated to a Saint we know nothing about…

Why do we try to catch that fleeting feeling that happens in that fleeting moment and lock it up just ‘coz the world says it has to be on February 14?

Why can’t we be spontaneous? What stops us from buying red roses, going out for dinner, taking a walk, cherishing our love … on a whim?

Love is no prisoner to a date.

Why are you bound to 2/14, then?

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Love and Valentine

  1. Agreed agreed agreed!

    It’s all about the shops making an extra buck.

    I say buy the flowers the next day when they’ve gone down to 50p in the bargain isle in Tesco. (I’m from London, UK).

    Love is 365 days a year.

  2. Mansi my favorite part of Valentine’s Day is going to a retail store that sells cards on the day before and watching people try to find a card. Older men are the most fun, they pick up a card, put it down, pick up a card and put it down. I always laugh at how hard it is to say ‘I love you’ when you only focus on it one day a year. I really enjoyed your observations on how the day has extended beyond the significant others. Viva la spontaneity!!

  3. Feb. 14th was my oldest brother’s birthday…and as a little kid I asked him once why everyone got candy on his birthday.

    It’s such a made up holiday. Showing someone you care for them should be through the year. By getting them their favorite coffee because you remembered it was their favorite. Surprising them by cooking dinner on their night because they look tired.

    Making you laugh when you’re pissy.

    Valentine’s is just a day.

    Flowers make me sneeze and I like Hershey’s chocolate, the cheap stuff.

    Loving someone is thinking about and trying to make them happy.

    Tirz

  4. You are so right! It seems Valentine’s Day, like many other holidays, has become so commercialized that the meaning has become – how much money can we spend in order to buy what we feel will properly express our love?

    I was asked just last night by my significant other, “What would my sweetheart like to do for Valentine’s day?”

    I thought to myself – do I want to wait in a crowded restaurant for a meal that wouldn’t be worth the “Valentine Special Price”? Do I want for him to spend double the normal cost for a dozen roses that might last a week? Absolutely not!

    I told him, “I’d like to stay home and relax, spend the day together, and simply enjoy each other.” And you should have seen the smile on his face!

    Every Sunday is our special day together – why would I ruin it for 2/14? 🙂

  5. well said…I think Valentines Day is highly overrated….and most people just never stop t think and get carried away…

    The rest of 364 days do they forget their loved ones, huh?

    • They don’t — it’s just that card companies haven’t come out with something for the other 364 days! Oh wait — there’s the ever-popular Mother’s Day and Father’s Day now. Jeez!!!!

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