January 31, 2010 by mypolaropposite
The Best of My Polar Opposite: Boycotting Valentine’s Day
Somebody put a fork in me because I’m done: I am officially calling for an embargo on Valentine’s Day and all its associated shenanigans (except for the chocolate that goes on sale the day after, since I haven’t completely lost my mind). This year, I’m not
sending any cards, or wishing anyone a Happy-Happy, or acknowledging the so-called holiday in any fashion except to encourage others to join me in abstaining. Take that, Cupid.
The origin of Valentine’s Day hoodwinking
First let me remind you, dear reader, that Valentine’s Day is a faux holiday, not commemorating anything that I care to remember. According to Wikipedia, the first association between the martyrs St. Valentine and courtly love may have begun with a poem by Geoffrey Chaucer to celebrate the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia in 1380 or so. Apparently Chaucer was all about the love birds and flowery language, which I must have missed when I read The Canterbury Tales. Another thread of history attributes the “holiday” to Pope Gelasius, who simultaneously declared February 14 St. Valentines Day and outlawed the Roman mating festival called Lupercalia. While I’m not necessarily a fan of a dating “lottery” that involves getting slapped with animal hide, I might prefer random pairings to the concepts of soul mates and being together forever. At least in a lottery situation, there’s a chance I’ll actually get a date.
Dating in February does not equal a date for Valentine’s Day
Right about now I’ll assume you’re thinking, “If she was seeing someone, maybe she’d be a little more sold on Valentine’s Day,” and you would be wrong, wrong, wrong. My previous longish-term relationships have all seen mid-February and have weathered all manner of sentimental notions that Valentine’s Day be filled with hearts and flowers. As it turns out I needn’t have bothered to celebrate with the “Parade of Assholes” in my past. There was the guy to didn’t believe in Valentine’s Day (turns out he was right), but did believe in meeting me at work to pick up a chocolate cake I’d baked for him. You see, I was under the delusion that I’d spend some part of the evening feeding it to him, or at least licking frosting off my own fingertips in his presence. Ha! Then there was the trip to Boston with a would-be suitor which resulted in backed-up traffic, missed dinner reservations, and starting my period so I was extra-crabby during the entire debacle. I did get a stuffed animal and some red cinnamon candy out of the mishegas so all was not lost. I think my high school boyfriend may have come up with a card and a waxy chocolate-flavored heart that got thrown in the trash. The point is, whether romance is dead, or pressure to conform leads to romantic failure, Valentine’s Day a deux can end up being a dud.
In spite of my pitiful showing I have had romantic moments, in the middle of Autumn even. Once, the boyfriend of the ill-fated Boston trip had the notion to draw me a bath, light candles, and order me dinner one Friday night when I had to work until 8PM. The man for whom I baked a cake sent me coffee and bagels at work one morning. The fact that I wasn’t there to receive them that day is another issue entirely, but he did get credit for thoughtfulness. And my most wonderful February 14 moment occurred at a martini bar in Hollywood with a bunch of girlfriends. Some were attached, some were not, be we all decided to toast each other that night rather than focusing on some guy. We had a total blast, so much so that the staff repeatedly asked us to keep it down. Apparently our raucous laughter, conviviality and celebration was bothering all the sappy couples in the dining room. Pfft! I believe that a table of happy, drunk, single women spends more money than 5 couples monitoring their intake so they don’t feel bloated, lose their erection, or fall asleep during the sex they’re obliged to have after dinner. And drunken women tip better than some dude who spent all his money trying to impress his girlfriend with flowers and candy and fancy wine when he usually drinks Bud Light.
Romance is fleeting, but love is here to stay. At least it should be.
What I’m saying is, don’t wait for some greeting card company to tell you when or how to feel good about your beloved. And if you’re between mates, don’t let some marketing campaign make you feel like that kid in elementary school who didn’t get any conversation hearts from his classmates. It’s arbitrary and artificial. If you don’t believe me, note that even White Castle offers reservations and candlelight for you and your valentine. I can’t imagine what’s more enchanting: the smell wafting through the restaurant during your dinner, or that emanating from your bottom once the meal is over.