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?