Monday, February 14, 2011

Love Day Diatribe

Maybe today isn't the best day for me to write this post. I woke up with a raging sinus headache that has literally left me speechless. If you know me personally, this is the kiss of death; I sure like to talk. My precious children are on a scheduled break from school despite having had only 3 full days of school so far THIS MONTH. And we're all about to go bonkers. In other words, I didn't just wake up on the wrong side of the bed. I dug a hole in the mattress and started growing roots.

I opened the dreaded facebook page to a smattering of Happy Valentine's Day wishes. Twitter was rife with the same well meaning drivel. All I could do was sneer. Bah! A pox on all these red hearts and "one of kind" corporately manufactured "sentimental" gold charms. Gag me.

To be clear, I have no problem with people expressing their love for one another. Fantastic. My problem with Valentine's Day stems from an early predilection for romance that has since been replaced with a deep and abiding love for myself and the people in my life.

Sure, sure. Romance is amazing. Who doesn't love the scene in "Pride and Prejudice" where Mr. Darcy confesses, clumsily, that the opinionated Miss Bennett has "bewitched [him]. Body and soul." Sigh. Sure, I loved the early days dating my now-husband of nearly 16 years. We couldn't wait to talk on the phone (people used to do that), we would pedal bikes through Pittsburgh snow storms just to be together. Delightful days, all. And yet, there is something so transient about those days. While now I can see, almost touch, something so adhesive about having come through the last 16 years together. And more.

But my abhorrence for Valentine's Day is more than just being content in my marriage. I can't help it; I'm disgusted with a culture that elevates couples and relegates singles to the sad little corner with their sad little single selves. It is not unlike the grotesque ideals of beauty women confront every day: thinner waists, bigger boobs, and a man on your arm. There is always someone telling us we are not good enough, pretty enough, or worth enough. The suggestion is that you're loser if you are alone today. And I will not abide that.

So, it comes to this. Women and men have value because they are inbued with it. Not because they've earned it. Second, people are of value, whether single, married, dating, divorcing, etc. Just simple fact. Finally, I love my husband every single day. I know he loves me every single day. I don't need card companies and jewelry makers to mandate my love.

I know some of you love this day and that's great. I will even smile if you tell me to have a nice Valentine's Day. As much as you can celebrate it, I can choose not to. So there.

I told you I was in a snit.


  1. Well I love you anyway and since I became a mom this day is all about trying to shape how my babies see and experience love - from others and of themselves. So that kind of redeems it for me. Plus I got a box of to die for chocolate caramels...

  2. Well, see? I wouldn't turn up my nose at chocolate caramels. Today or any day. And of course that's what you do, because you are an amazing mother. And of course I celebrate my kids. I just don't want them to get caught up in the world's idea of love: conditional and predicated on gifting stuffed animals to grown women. But again. I love you, too Bethie poo.

  3. I like to think of Valentine's Day as a day to celebrate the love in my life in all of its forms, whether that means the love I share with my husband, with my son, or with friends and family. Or, even the love of a good breakfast muffin, or a great cup of coffee. In my mind, it all counts. Maybe I live in a dream world, but I'd like to think this holiday can be celebrated by just about everybody from that vantage point.

  4. Good point, Tasha. I know I was in a cranky snit yesterday. I like to think every day can be that day. Especially if you're looking for it. I just hate to see the hype and then the broken expectations. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. I find myself surprised by people who rant against a specific day. I mean, I understand the logic that says 'why just that one day, it makes no sense'. But apply that to all celebrations and we end up with no special days, no markers in our years. I celebrate that my wife was born every day, but I focus that celebration on her birthday. I celebrate that my parents were married for 37 years but I focus that celebration on their anniversary. Same goes for Mother's Day and Father's Day. I don't NOT think about those virtues in others on other days, I just focus my attention on that day.
    I think of Valentine's Day as Love Day. Romance is something that can accompany that for couples, but it is not a necessity for that to be in the mix for love to be shown. I like Natasha's understanding of it, that single or coupled, alone or in a crowd, there is a way and a means to show and feel love on Love Day, and, as you said, on any other day as well.

  6. Girl, I hear you. As you know from my post yesterday, I have some of the same issues with Feb. 14. Part of what I find interesting, is that we're both feeling concern and care for those who aren't in happy marriages with wonderful spouses. Sure, we might not know exactly how V-Day makes them feel, but we're trying to imagine, and that shows a lot of sensitivity (if I do say so myself).

    I'm beginning to think, though, that it's more important that we reframe Valentine's Day than smite it. This year my husband was out of town for V-Day, which automatically re-framed it for me. And then Jason and I decided to make V-Day goodies for people, since we didn't make our usual Christmas baking extravaganza happen this year. So I was out delivering love in the form of homemade nutella to friends yesterday, and that felt really good.

    I guess the best way to sum it up is the way I did in this tweet toward the end of the day:

    "I'm finding I like V-Day more when the emphasis is taken off of romance and placed on showing gratitude for people who fill life w love."

    And YOU fill my life with love. Wishing I could drop off a jar of nutella for you.

  7. Like I said, I knew I was already in a mood, so writing about it may not have been the best idea. I am thankful than Napkin Dad popped over. I feel the same way you do. I guess I just got tired of "The Man" directing something intended for better, higher purposes.

    KT, you fill my life with love, too. I look forward to chatting with you everyday and if a jar of that nutella happened to find its way to Tulsa, why, I'd welcome it with open arms!

  8. Count me as someone who isn't a particular fan of Valentine's Day, not for any particular high moral reason like anti-commercialism or anything like that. I guess I just remember all too well that awful and lonely feeling I had when I was single on Valentine's Day. Or then there was that one time when I was dating who I thought would be my future husband and presented him with a very thoughtful, handmade gift, only to have him start crying out of guilt - he was cheating on me. Then, of course, there were all those Valentine's Days I had to work as a waiter, one of the busiest nights of the year. Sure it would have been nice to see my love, but I worked until midnight. And so did he, as a chef, often leaving at dawn and arriving home after I was asleep. So, yeah, some holidays are bittersweet for some of us and Valentine's is it for me. I sure do have a lot of love in my life, and I'm definitely grateful, but Valentine's Day can still go suck it as far as I'm concerned.