February 14, 2001

Hearts & Flowers

As you can tell from last year's Feb. 14 entry, I'm the Valentine grinch.

Sour grapes?
Maybe.. but there's a lot more to it than that.

My family usually makes an adequate fuss but it leaves me feeling conflicted. I have serious problems with this holiday and disapprove of them marching off to the mall - or the candy store - because the calendar says they have to or else Mom will be unhappy. (Where did the saying come from, when Mother is unhappy, everyone is unhappy, or words to that effect?)

This is one of the few issues that my friend Stephanie (I'd link to her if she had a web page!) and I disagree on.
(Another is the concept of responsibility I expressed in the previous entry. I know my view isn't a popular one but that's fine. I'm not totally alone however - the Montreal Gazette printed a letter to the editor from an emergency room doctor that pretty much said the same thing I did and threw in the old adage, "friends don't let friends drive drunk", which I avoided on purpose. Unfortunately the paper didn't see fit to post the letter online.)

If I remember correctly, Stephanie thinks that a day for celebrating love is a good idea. And she's right.. only Valentine's Day, in its current incarnation, isn't it.

I don't take issue with the concept of love or the concept of celebrating love. I do object to what this holiday has become. Is love to be measured by how much money is spent? By the carat count of the diamond or the number of roses? Is it love if you get the Valentine's Day of your dreams, but you're ignored and taken for granted (or worse) the rest of the year?
Conversely, what if your loving and usually thoughtful partner happens to forget the fateful day - is that a sign of impending doom?

What really upsets me about Valentine's Day are the expectations that are built up, particularly in women. Please correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think that men form the sort of romantic fantasies that women do, specifically centering around this one day. (I said romantic, guys, not sexual!) I think that for women, sex is part of the big picture of romance; for men, romance (if it exists at all) is part of the big picture of sex.

The thing is, romance doesn't last. Romance isn't love, romance is just.. romance. It's an act. At its best it's probably sincere in the moment but it's not real.

When the romance dissipates, then you get to see what you're left with.

I don't want hearts and flowers anymore. They're the emotional equivalent of empty calories. I want friendship and respect instead, not just on one day but every day. I want to be admired for what I am and what I do, and to be encouraged and inspired to be and do even more. I want someone who can accept what I have to give and be neither frightened nor intimidated by it.

If I had that, then every day would be Valentine's Day.

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