How to Take the Bupkis out of Valentine’s Day


Originally posted on February 12th, 2010  Here ye!  Here ye!
OK — Not that I’m telling you something you don’t already know, but Valentine’s Day is Sunday.  It seems to be one of those dates on the calendar that more often than not creates more stress than success, because we have been groomed to place pressure on it. We have cultural expectations about what the day should be: Who is giving us what? Who is taking us where?  Then if our expectations aren’t met, we feel let down. Of course, we all know Valentine’s Day is a fairly commercial venture. After all, St. Valentine was brutally martyred in Rome for his Christian beliefs.  “So how did we go from that, to flowers and candy?” she asked, rhetorically.  Just to be clear, I am not against Valentine’s Day, I just think we would benefit from some redirection.

I remember back in Middle School, someone had the bright idea to sell carnations on Valentine’s Day as a fundraiser.  The concept was that  students could “send” flowers to each other via their respective homerooms with a little note attached: “To Debbie, From Tommy.”   At first I didn’t got any carnations and it was a bummer.  It was like a public badge of rejection, because the whole school sees who is carting around pink carnations and who is not.  Then my friend and I decided to crack the system.  We sent carnations to each other in secret (on this go-around they were green for St. Patrick’s Day).  It felt  great to have that goofy green flower even if it was a pre-orchestrated ruse.  It was still a sign of public acceptance.  “Phew! It looks like someone likes me!”

Looking back, I can’t believe that I placed so much stock in something so trivial, but when you’re 13,  I guess it’s a relatively good problem to have (it means you can occupy yourself with social silliness, because you are healthy, loved, housed, and fed) so for this, I am grateful. 

In 9th grade, my very first boyfriend made me this really dark, edgy Valentine card with purple paint splashed on it and burnt edges.  We weren’t Punks, but it was —  and I loved it.  As an adult, there were some Valentine’s Days that were nice (I got beautiful roses) and some that were a bust, replete with bupkis.  These days, my husband and I don’t really acknowledge V. Day with any consistency, probably because our anniversary is on New Year’s Eve, which was only six weeks ago.

There are some very sweet traditions around Valentine’s Day (homemade cards for one), but we must remember that it doesn’t signify love anymore than any other day, even though Gary Marshall is about to release a whole movie about just this idea, this weekend.  Jessica Biel and Jamie Foxx spending Valentine’s Day alone? I don’t think so.

Let’s take the romance out of the day and remember how many people we just plain love — our family and our friends —  instead of wondering who loves us (“Where is my G.D. bouquet from 1-800-FLOWERS??”). 

This is a healthy way to redirect the intention of St. Valentine’s Day.  When we give love, we get love.  It’s has simple as that.  And when we Love, we Hope, because Love and Hope are intertwined soul sisters  — carnations or no carnations. 

So I’ll start… I love you, you nice people!  Happy Valentine’s Day!  

Now who do you love? 

Please go tell them.  

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