I have a friend who works at Starbucks, and last week, she expressed it quite nicely:
"On Friday, we'll be super busy, because everyone will be trying, up until the very last minute, to meet someone in time for Valentine's Day. And on Saturday we'll be super busy because everyone else will be treating their Valentines."
Every year, around this time, I get a little touchy. I try not to offend people, because I totally support people who are happily in love and want to take a special day to celebrate that fact, provided they continue to celebrate that fact, perhaps in less elaborate ways, throughout the rest of their lives...
But, y'all, this problem of people having a freak-out or getting super down in the dumps because they don't have a "Valentine" is so troublesome to me. Let's just pause and think through the idea of a "Valentine" - he's actually a person. Did you know that? I don't know a ton about him, but I do think I remember hearing that he performed marriages for people in the Roman army, who were technically forbidden to marry, which is, you know, incredibly romantic and all.
BUT the holiday bearing his name was not romanticized until Chaucer got a hold of it and made it a generalized celebration of romantic love.
You know what else Chaucer helped to generalize?
Yep, the fart joke.
If that doesn't help you understand my opinion of Chaucer, you don't know me very well.
To be fair to both Chaucer and Valentine, I don't think either of them really meant for people to get so incredibly sad about their lives on this day, but it is an unfortunate side effect of our Disney-saturated, Chick-Flick-watching, Diamon-ring-advertising, First-kiss-idolizing culture.
Believe me, I'm just as subject to this culture as anyone else. In searching through my February archives, I found this gem, and I have a feeling that some of that emotional instability I was feeling may have stemmed from the surplus of romantic imagery and themes that inundates advertisements and every corner of our little world during this time of year.
It's just basically unavoidable, and really, who am I (or any of us single people who all feel a bit of "poor me" this time of year if we're honest with ourselves) to take this day away from the lovers? So what we really need to work on isn't changing, or even "boycotting" Valentine's Day (as much as I am tempted to, some years), but investing in the people that we love on this day and always. Whether they're technically a "Valentine" or not, is really beside the point.
You know who I love? Baby Sister. Poor thing. She's gonna be Baby Sister even when she's old and gray...
So, I took her to a concert of her favorite musician this Valentine's weekend, and we stayed the night with an extremely motivated writer friend of mine, who inspired both of us to start writing more.
We drove up to Dallas together, and got turned around more than once, because that's the way I travel - some GPS, mostly I-know-better-than-that-machine... She may or may not have thought I was about to drive off a cliff at one point, and also may or may not have been pretty close to correct.
She made us a road-trip cd, which was missing 5 songs, mysteriously, and gave us a good chance to listen to other music we both love.
We got to the concert early, and had 45 minutes to waste running around the cutest downtown you ever did see in Wylie, TX. (So many places were open, even after 8!)
We made some new friends in this little combination Coffe Bar and Antique Shop. And, wouldn't you know, they were camp people too, so we had lots to talk about. Of course they were there for the concert too, so we stood together.
After getting to my friend's house way too late at night, we went to bed and woke up to a homemade breakfast and 20 acres of woods, just begging to be explored.
Do you see what I'm saying? I refused to be quietly down in the dumps, and also to loudly protest. I simply made memories with someone I love on a Saturday that could have been any Saturday, but happened to be February 14th.
I think this may have been the first time I got Valentine's Day right.
2 years ago