Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Thoughts from Your Friendly Valentine's Day Agnostic

I’ve never been a fan of long stemmed roses, Hallmark cards, Pepto-Bismal pink, or institutionalized sentimentality.

And this has proved to be a problem in more than one relationship. The men I’ve known have always been gooey marshmallows when it comes to Valentine’s Day. Yes, yes, opposites attract.

I believe in love, indeed I do, but mandated romance and gaudy displays of affection embarrass me. One boyfriend used to have funeral-sized flower arrangements delivered to my desk at work. What innocent bystander did he think this would impress – Steve in Human Resources, Cathy in Accounting? I couldn’t stick pins in the Forever balloons fast enough.

Then there was this one chap I married. Thinking we were kindred spirits, I didn’t buy him anything when our first Valentine’s Day rolled around. That was the first big Oops in a never-ending series of miscalculations.

I'm not overtly sentimental, this is true. I'm the spawn of those who celebrated major holidays by the giving and receiving of new household appliances. Good stuff was saved for the off-season. As a just-because.

Certainly, my ambivalence towards the holiest of love-days has enrolled me in a very exclusive club. So exclusive, I don't think I've met a single member, but we're out there somewhere, I'm sure. Getting flowers and chocolate, when what we really wanted was a staple gun or a ladder

This makes me sound like an ungrateful shit, and I expect I am. Here’s my favorite love song; take a listen.

If the two of you feel the same, who needs anything else? And if only one of you feels the same, then even a perfect rose won't make the slightest bit of difference. You can trust me on that.

Some more, but not much more, and slightly different but not very, on Patch.


  1. I think its sad that Hallmark has to remind people about remembering the ones they 'supposedly' love... I feel the same about Mother's and Father's Day... All 3 are hallmark holidays.
    My ex-bf would go the 1-800 flower route... one year it was this scary, huge ass teddy bear w/red ribbon and flowers that showed up at the door.. And no, the bear was not him... That bear got thrown out about 2 yrs. ago along w/the ex bf... Boy, that was cathartic in doing that. When I worked retail, the cosmetic dept. would laugh when men would show up at the last minute with glazed eyes and demand that the clerks help them.. Nothing is funnier than someone saying to the clerk " just pick out anything!". One friend was hurt because her now ex, gave her a card that said " happy valentine's, sis'. OUCH!

  2. Come with me to OSH. I'll let you pick your valentine!

  3. I never ever want to be given those red hothouse roses with no scent. They die pretty quickly in the vase anyway. Chocolates, maybe. Just a card, even better. When did it get so commercialized? In the 60s, we had fun sending anonymous cards to guys we had crushes on. There was no such thing as a card "to my wife." and no wife ever sulked if she didn't get her roses or an expensive meal.

    This reminds me that Valentine's cards got so rude in the Victorian days (in England) that the whole thing was banned.

  4. I'm also not a big fan of "flowers and chocolates because I'm supposed to."

    Luckily(?) for me it's Hartwell's birthday. So I get to focus on making one boy happy on his big day and eating cake.

  5. Choosing a love song by Waits puts you into another pretty exclusive club KB.

    I haven't gone in for VD (sometimes acronyms are a bad idea) since about grade 4. It's was enforced back then.

    At the risk of seeming mushy, I prefer this song:

  6. You're not alone, KB. A good friend has one of the best marriages around. I asked him one year what he was getting Linda for Valentine's Day. He said they don't celebrate VD and I asked him how he pulled that one off. He told his wife that there shouldn't be only one day a year where they express their love for each other and she agreed. So, no chocolates, no expensive, crowded dinner, perhaps just a card.

    When I got remarried to Kathy I floated the idea just to see what she thought. She agreed! So, we get each other a cheesy card and usually have a nice dinner at home. Tonight, though, I'm taking her to a Chamber mixer at the biggest dive bar in town.

  7. Kalei, that's hysterical. One of my college jobs was working for a CPA. He sent me to the store to buy two Valentine's cards -- one for his wife and one for -- who knows?

    Earl, you're on. Loved your comment on Patch, by the way.

    PA, we know, we know.

    Bellis, now I'm going to have to google that. I heard on the radio this a.m. that the holiday has its roots in a very raunchy celebration and sacrifice.

    Amazing, isn't it Des?

    MB, oh, that's right! It's my long leggy supermodel's birthday!

    Wayne -- hah! Saint VD. (I'll check out the song when I leave the library. However I have my doubts you'd select something remotely mushy.)

  8. DB, I'll send you two a membership card. Happy VD

  9. That's tough. But isn't VD a manufactured holiday anyway? Who cares...I have a date tonight. We won't even mention it. And last night's date (uh, she turned out to be a he), we'll be eating meatballs...and chianti..

  10. Hold the chocolate, but I wouldn't say no to a quart of milk and a dozen eggs.

  11. There's not a lot of sentimentality going on in my house. The mushiest my dearly beloved ever got was when he really didn't want to have a medical procedure done, and the doctor told him that choice could be fatal. He thought for a good while, and acquiesced, but "Only because I owe it to her. She has given me 30 good years, so I'll tolerate this for 30 days." Best Gift Ever.

  12. When TheChief and I first got married, we did do VD...we went to one of our fav restaurants in Pasadena, waited two hours to be seated (we had reservations), the service was lousy (and usually wonderful), and the dinner was...mediocre (usually wonderful)...ever since then we've opted for dinner in...until tonight!!! As he said...he's taking me to the best dive bar up here for a Chamber Mixer!!! (Dinner after...only because we don't expect a crowd and I don't want to have to cook after the mixer!!!)

  13. Kenny Mac, meatballs and Chianti -- now you're talking.

    Marjie -- gold star for that one. Lovely.

    Chieftess, I want pictures of a Mammoth Lakes dive bar.

    And Wayne, you started something. Better trademark VD while you have the chance. (And I'm right about the song. It isn't mushy.)

  14. J and I talked last night about our holidays. We are totally off the calendar. He doesn't like Valentine's because it's forced upon us by the culture. I don't like Christmas for the same reason. He likes Thanksgiving because of the food. I don't like Independence day because setting off fireworks around here strikes me as nuts. Et cetera.

    We both really like Halloween.

    We're thinking of instituting some pagan stuff, but even then, I know us; we'll be contrary and select our own dates and rituals.

  15. Gee, Petrea, you're a bit of a party pooper. I don't like Halloween or Valentine's Day. Birthdays should be celebrated for those under 18 and over 80, and then a few milestones like turning 21 and every ten years (30, 40, etc). I like Thanksgiving and Christmas because they bring families together. I also like Memorial Day and Veterans Day because of what they symbolize. The 4th is okay too because of small town parades. I've got mixed feelings on Mothers and Fathers Days. Secretary (or administrative assistant), boss days, etc should all be outlawed.

  16. Count me as an EOC--Equal Opportunity Celebrant

  17. My favorite holiday is Snow Day.

  18. Sorry I forgot to get you something Karin. Maybe I'll send a grease gun next year. I'll even paint it red.

  19. Dbdubya, not all families should be brought together, is all I'm saying. But wait a second: birthdays birthdays birthdays!!!!! I love birthdays! My next one is March 23rd in case anyone wants to celebrate it.

  20. I am all for people giving me gifts, mandated or otherwise. I'm just shallow that way.

  21. P & DB, funny thing about Father's Day. It was a non-event when I was growing up. Then, when Dad turned 65, he for some reason decided it was an event, one that we'd celebrate, or else.

    Pierre, is that the same as a grout gun? If so, you read my mind.

    And speaking of exclusive, I don't like Downton Abbey. Am I the only member of that club? (How could this be the same guy who wrote Gosford Park?)

  22. I've never seen Downton Abbey. You have your club and I have mine.

  23. Count me on the romantic-gestures side of the equation, but I like some imagination to be shown. And I'd borrow your pins if I received a Forever balloon {she says as she cancels the Interflora 'You're My BlogPal' delivery to Altadena}.

  24. if more men read your Valentine's philosophy here, you wood have more Valentino's sending you their proposals.

  25. I think it depends who you're with.....or without....on the day......this year I made chocolate heartshaped brownies because he made me dinner!!

  26. P, our clubs should meet and then there will be two people in attendance.

    Shell, yes, it's all in the approach. And thanks for the thought.

    CP, u guess that wood b troo?

    YAH, there you have me. I do believe in brownies of all shapes and sizes.

  27. I'm on your no frills team. And thanks for the reminder to look into Waits some more. He's got some doozies.

  28. Just great the title of this post.
    Here in Brazil there is no Valentine's Day, but a similar day, named in Portuguese, "Dia dos Namorados", that means "Lovers' Day", that is celebrated on June 12, probably because it is the day before Saint Anthony's day, known as the marriage saint.
    You are not alone, because I think that we don't need a day to express our love.
    Perfect Tom Waits's music: "All I want is you, you, you". In Portuguese: "Tudo o que eu quero é você, você, você".

  29. Sonia, I truly think everything sounds just a little more poetic in Portuguese. Your language has always been music to my ears.

  30. Thank you so much Karin!
    I am glad you like my language!

    I would like to thank you for the compliments to my daughter photo and for the link to Caetano Veloso's music. Love the music "Você é linda" (You are beautiful) too.
    I just updated the post with your great idea. Thanks again!

  31. I'm not a fan of VD either but I do love that the heart-shaped boxes of chocolates go on sale the day after. I've been known to indulge.

    Love the Tom Waits song.

  32. Seems I'll get sentimental after all, because I've loved Brazil (Brasil, I don't know why we put the z there), from a distance, almost all my life. Not just the landscapes, but the music and musicians, such as Caetano Veloso. And the writers -- I remember when I first discovered Jorge Amado. What joy. I read everything he wrote, but couldn't help wondering what it must be like to read him in his native language.

  33. Downton Abbey was good at the beginning of this second season. Now it's a silly soap opera. Blech!

    At Christmas my husband has been known to give me a chain saw with a John Deere T-shirt to match. Perfect. And now I've saved holiday greeting cards from the last few years and plan to start recycling them for all future holidays. Just think of the $$$$ and time we'll save?

    I was really moved when I saw what a friend posted on FB on Valentime's Day:

    Sending out love tonight; especially to the lonely, the grieving,the homeless, the invisible, the voiceless,those with mental and physical afflictions,--- may they experince Comfort and Love...

    I say, amen.

  34. You'd probably love our Valentine's Day here in Japan. It has nothing to do with love and all to do with chocolate. We have the best chocolate ever this season!

    Hope you had a great day anyways :D

  35. Updated my post per your suggestion!

  36. We had fresh strawberries, fizzy Pinot Grigio (which we never need an excuse to have) and a ham sandwich.

    I like the excuse to write one of my corny poems - no - let's call them rhymes. And I was glad I had some pink skies to put up on VIEW.