Look at you, Lady Jane, you made it all the way to February! You survived the Three-Month-Long Eternity of Holiday Season without incident. You totally rocked that capelet that may have confused your husband but everyone else at the New Year’s Eve party loved. You discovered so many new and creative ways to repurpose cranberry sauce that Martha Stewart should personally come to your house and give you a shoulder rub and a high-five. You know what? You’re a warrior! Oh sure, you’ve already made and broken up to three heartfelt New Year’s resolutions (who needs them?), and your brand new gym membership card is already dusty from underuse (I love you just the way you are), but you did it! You’re done. Time to dust yourself off and coast all the way to spring, with nary a bump in the road.
But hey, wait a second. Record scratch. Why is my local drugstore replacing all of that defunct holiday cheer with chubby angel babies and synthetic roses? Why are all the candy-coated chocolates suddenly Pepto-Bismol pink? Why do I feel like any minute now my six-year-old is going to come home with that huge “art project” that will eventually find me alone in the kitchen at midnight, slaving over tiny fondant hearts and sprinkling edible glitter on cupcakes for all 32 children in her class? Oh, right. Valentine’s Day. Woo-hoo.
Question: Does anybody actually like Valentine’s Day? Anyone? Hands up if you care about Valentine’s Day. I mean, is this really still a thing? And is there any way we could consider uniting as a nation to abolish it? I only ask because when I interrogated my friends, family and husband on the subject, Valentine’s Day received a resounding thumbs down pretty much across the board. In fact, the only people who seem excited about it are the six-year-olds, and the only reason they care is that it comforts them to know there’s yet another chocolate-based occasion on the calendar.
My husband and I are old school about Valentine’s Day. In fact, we’re so old school, we predate the existence of Valentine’s Day altogether. I’m not saying we live like 13th-century serfs or anything, but then again, I’m not not saying it either. On the morning of February 14, we will get up, do all of our raising-children chores, go to work, work hard, come home, work even harder, do our evening set of raising-children chores and later pass out in front of the TV with Cheerios in our hair like any other loving couple with three young kids on any other day. So in a way we do have our own tradition—except in our case it’s called Business As Usual. So romantic.
Maybe it’s because my husband and I come from a long tradition of waitering and working in the service industry, and although the sight of Cupid and a million red hearts may set someone else’s heart aflame, for us, it just kindles terrible memories of forced affection and elbow fights at crowded bread stations.
Not that I don’t support other people’s efforts to express themselves in a loving manner; I’m not made of stone. I think what I’m more supportive of, though, is expressing yourself in this way all the time.
Wouldn’t it be great if we never had to feel this way ever again: “I wish I had just told this person how I felt about them” or “I wish my last words to that person had been loving and kind”? I mean, wouldn’t that be cause enough for celebration?
My point is that maybe instead of shoehorning our overblown expectations of romance into Valentine’s Day, we could dedicate ourselves to the idea that good things should never be left unsaid. Maybe for the whole month of February! Or every day. No quid pro quo. No gift giving necessary. No flowers. No chocolate-covered cherries, ever!
So when the time is right to tell someone you love them and cherish them, or you even just like them, and wish you could be friends, or you think they are quite fabulous? It’s right now. Do it!
Let’s leave Valentine’s Day for the newbies, people. It’s too hard to get a reservation, and besides, you just know that hollandaise sauce has been sitting around in a chafing dish a tad too long in your restaurant of choice. Ditch the scratchy red-bra-and-panty combos and join me.
Speaking of which, did I happen to mention that I think you’re quite fabulous? Oh, I did? Well, anyway, it bears repeating.