Hugs and kisses, everyone! It’s almost Valentine’s Day! Oh what’s that you’re saying? You hate Valentine’s Day? Love is a sham? This holiday was just invented by Hallmark to sell greeting cards? I don’t need anyone telling me when to show my love, I do it just fine myself!
Well, well, weellll, aren’t you just a ray of sunshine.
Here’s the thing: I like Valentine’s Day! I think it is cute and I like candy and I like wearing red and I like love.
Is it an invented, overly commercialized holiday? Sure. But honestly: what’s not? I mean, Christmas was invented by the Christians to celebrate Jesus’ birthday, and then hijacked by department stores. St. Patrick’s Day was invented by Irish Americans so they had an excuse to barf in public at least once a year. And Halloween?I mean, WHAT is even going on there? All holidays are weird and made up. You can be a grouchasaurus or you can put on your big kid panties and have a good time.
I feel like every holiday I encounter at least one person who refuses to celebrate. “New Years Eve is such pressure, I’m staying home.” “Oh, I don’t do Halloween.” Lame!
I “do” everything. Why not?! I understand that there is a lot of external, cultural pressure to make holidays into a big ol’ thang – dinner reservations and money spent and gifts exchanged and general high expectations abounding – but the way I see it, holidays are, at their very base level, a chance to turn an ordinary ho-hum day into something slightly more entertaining, whether you go all out or just add some themed candy to your daily diet. And Valentine’s Day, despite its current reputation of being the dumbest, lamest, worstest holiday in all of the land is no exception.
Would I be singing a different tune, were I not in a committed relash? No, I would not. Yes, I now am lucky enough to spend my days with a fella who happens to have the best face and butt in the Greater New York City Region and that certainly adds to my enjoyment of V-Day 2013, but I have always had fun on Valentine’s Day, even in years when I did not have a special love buddy.
[A disclaimer: I truly hate when coupled up folks reminisce all, “Oh, well, back when I was single...”, I find it very smug and self satisfied and frankly insulting, like “look at me, my life is better than yours now,” and I certainly don’t want to come across in that manner. I only bring this up to acknowledge that yes, sure, I am in a state of romantic bliss at this time, but my enjoyment of El Dia de los Valentinos is not contingent on checking off that particular box on my Liz Stats profile. I’m also so uncomfortable talking about honest emotions in public that I just called my committed adult boyfriend my “special love buddy,” sooo yeah...]
For me, Valentine’s Day is a chance to take one day out of the gross, dismal month that is February to celebrate everything and everyone you love. Your mom, your cat, your friends, your kid, everyone! Most of my favorite VD memories and by VD I mean Valentine’s Day, not Venereal Disease, have nothing to do with romantic love. Like the year I came into the office to find that a sweet colleague had stuck homemade heart-shaped valentines to everyone’s computer monitor. I kept mine hung up for years, until I had to move offices. Or every year wearing a brand new pair heart patterned socks, a gift from my mama who makes sure to send the package a few days early, so I’ll have socks to wear on the day itself. (She sends us care packages for every single holiday even though we’re pushing 700 years old, because she is the cutest.) Or the year my best friend came to town on VDay weekend. We went ice skating in a snowy central park before meeting up with another pal and getting rip-roaringly drunk over pub cheeseburgers.
None of these things were particularly romantic, nor were they that much above and beyond what I might encounter on my day-to-day life, but just knowing that it was a holiday made socks and cards and pints (and pints and pints and pints) of beer seem all the more special.
Or how bout this: I remember one year in college, we must have been sophomores. I was living with seven other girls in a campus apartment and we were thick as thieves. And all of us as single as...single cell organisms. Or something else that starts with “S” and is traditionally found alone. But we weren’t alone! We had each other and Carrie Bradshaw as it sounds, that was more than enough. We all dressed in our finest reds and pinks and went to dinner at our favorite local spot (shout-out Paper Moon Diner, Baltimore, MD!) and shared fries and breakfast for dinner and probably also a few milkshakes and slices of cheese cake and it was a true delight. A delight, I say! It was a popular trend at the time, mostly on AOL Instant Messenger, our fave, to write out “143” as a sign of cutesy endearment for your boyfriend or your family or your best gurlz: I Love You.
I = one letter LOVE = four YOU = three
That Valentine’s Night at Paper Moon our total dinner bill came to...you guessed it...one hundred and forty-three dollars. $143.
Coincidence? Almost certainly. Adorable story proving that Valentine’s Day is a lovers delight whether or not your lovers = a group of awkward Disney Channel fans chowing down on western omelets or, you know, bow-chicka-bow-wow lovers? Aaaaaabsolutely!
These are things that I love: Socks. My mom. Sweet friends. Booze. Breakfast for dinner. And, yes, my special love buddy. While I don’t need Hallmark or TV or whoever to remind me to celebrate them just once a year, celebrate them I will. This Thursday I’ll wear pink or red and my new socks and maybe even some spicy underpinnings and hand out candy…and eat candy…and wish all of you a Happy Valentine’s Day, whether you are married or single or polyamorous or a crabbapple who insists you just don't do Valentine's Day. Especially you! For try as you might to resist it, as the great Hugh Grant once reminded us, Love Actually IS All Around Us.
Happy Valentines Day, Haters!