February 7, 2006

Valentine's Day Presents and Tokens

Okay kids - you've got one week to prepare. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you really need to go look at your calender because this is one day that if you are not prepared for, you will sink and die an ignominious death. That's right... Valentine's Day. No matter what your situation, this one is going to affect you. If you are single, you've got to either get a date or start repeating your mantra that love is for the weak so that you believe it by this time next week. If you are dating, you've got to get a reservation at that really expensive restaurant that doesn't serve very much food and has waiters that treat you like trash. If you are married, you've got to rack your brain AGAIN to think of some new, original way to say "I Love You" to the person who has heard it all. If you don't fall into any of these categories, you probably have the toughest challenge of all because your search for an appropriate card at Hallmark is going to be hard - you better start looking now.

I feel kind of prepared. I have found at least one little token to give to my husband so far but the rest is still just conjecture. Spike decided that I should be the "guy" this year and get the evening all planned. I guess that means we'll order a pizza and watch football. We have been so busy in the evenings lately with friends and activities that this would actually be a welcome break. Our only rule for any of these "forced love" holidays (birthdays, Christmas, anniversary, National Ponies Day) is that we have to write the other person a card that has the words "I love you" written in the other's handwritting. Other than that, we're pretty forgiving.

I get a kick out of how seriously we take this holiday. It all starts in kindergarten when our teachers make us handcraft intricate valentine greetings for everyone in the class. Except you know that you won't make one for the kid with gooey hands and funny shirt because he's just gross right? Then after the valentines get distributed, you go through and count how many you got and compare that to your classmates. No matter how hard the teacher tries to keep it all equal, you know the cute girl with perfect braids and coveted Lunchables is going to get about 50. And that gooey kid will end up sitting in the corner looking like he's about to be sick with his small handful of quickly cut hearts that don't even say his name on them. The rest of us would fall somewhere in between the two extremes but no matter how great our valentines are, we all are agonizingly jealous of that Lunchables girl. And this is just kindergarten folks.

Unless you are somehow able to totally ignore convention on Valentine's day, the holiday has little to do with love and much to do with wild excess. Women, answer honestly now - on your ideal valentine's day would you rather your man sat you down and simply said "I love you" OR would you rather have a date that involved 100 long stem roses, a mind-blowingly expensive dinner at an exclusive restaurant, new jewelry, a years supply of truffles and a singing telegram (all without ever hearing "I love you.") After all the indoctrination the Hallmark industry has put me through, I don't feel too guilty saying I'd prefer the latter. Does that make me a bad person? Or is it just the eventual result of every person who has been through the system in this country?

However you choose to celebrate this year - I hope it makes you happy because it's a day when the ordinary routine fails to satisfy most. If I don't get a card from Spike next Tuesday, for some reason that is going to ruin my day. If my friend who is dating a guy doesn't get taken to dinner, she's going to be bugged. It's a day when the usual just doesn't cut it. When we try and give more than we have. So even though I would really really like to just sit around and eat pizza with Spike next Tuesday, I have a feeling that at the 11th hour I'll have some crisis where I start thinking that if I don't get him a really expensive, unneeded watch, he'll never love me again. Or will you, Spike? But heaven help me if either of us feel like that gooey kindergardner at the end of the night. I'll do whatever it takes to keep that from happening. Whatever happened to that kid anyways? Oh yeah, HE DIED A LONELY, MISERABLE DEATH!


A Ripple Effect said...

Interestingly enough, I had planned on allowing Valentine's Day to slip by me without noticing. Until last night one of my guy friends called (not even called ... he text messaged me) and asked me to be his Midwest Valenetine. Turns out he's got one in each major part of the country. I should be so lucky to be part of this Valentine Harem!

Stephanie said...

You kill me, too funny because it's so true. And I did get Kyle a watch for V-Day, only because he'd been eyeing new ones for months. I also got him the requisite silly-romantic card although I'm not sure I can back up its preprinted promises. Shoot, I just hope I can make it through dinner. It's tough lugging someone else (however small and squirmy) around without a nap. Does some part of us silently rejoice when we find a boyfriend/girlfriend because we know we're never alone on the Hallmark holidays like V-Day? That little grubby, snot-nosed kid inside each of us is grinning ear to ear with a booger picked just for that special someone. If that's not love, I don't know what is.

As for your similar posting, great minds think alike. Or is that deranged minds...?