A Look on the Lighter Side: Good reasons to forget Valentine’s Day

A Look on the Lighter Side: Good reasons to forget Valentine’s Day

I’ll just come out and say it: I hate Valentine’s Day.  

I have no use for it. As far as I’m concerned, it exists purely to make some of us look bad, and all of us feel awful. 

When kids are very little, it’s just one more occasion for chocolates and candies.  That doesn’t bother me much — except I’m always afraid the stores have stocked those candies for so long, they’ll be stale by the time they reach my child. Also dangerous to anyone with permanent teeth.  (I was just making sure they weren’t poisonous, okay?) 

In my own grade school years, it seemed as if this holiday was intended to show you that some girls were way more popular than others.  

Nobody then had a rule that “If you send Valentines at all, you must send one to everybody,” and I still remember eyeing the heaping mountain of valentines sliding off the desk of the little girl next to me — making a mockery of the paltry stack on mine.  

Once I’d escaped to high school and college, Valentine’s Day was just another “greeting card” holiday, fabricated to keep the florists and candy-makers in business. 

I wouldn’t begrudge it, except the flowers cost at least ten times what they would on any other day — and seem to last a fraction as long.  

I didn’t realize the true danger of Valentine’s Day until after I had graduated, and started working. 

That’s when February 14th became a hazard that required careful navigating every year. 

It was a night when it was important to have a date — like a tacky, lower-rent re-run of New Year’s Eve — except it’s a lot harder to disappear for a convenient “ski trip” when you have to be back at work in the morning. 

Once or twice I did have a date for the big night — which always turned out to be worse than nothing, because at some point during the evening, I would feel compelled to ask, “So — are we a couple?”  

And as J.P. Morgan can tell you, “If you have to ask, the answer is ‘No.’ ” (To be fair, his version was about whether you can afford a yacht — something that’s almost as expensive as a relationship — but the concept remains the same.) 

Finally, one year I felt I had a right to some expectations.  

For several months, I had been spending what free time I had with one guy, and the big Valentine’s night was coming up.  

We headed to dinner at our usual restaurant, around the corner from his work.  I had taken the liberty of preparing a small gift: a little heart-shaped tin which I had filled with “Red Hots” cinnamon candies.  

At dinner, I handed them over to him.  

“Thanks,” he said, absent-mindedly putting the tin in his pocket.  “What’s this for?”

“You know — it’s Valentine’s Day!” I replied.

“It is?” he replied, alarm in his voice.  “Geez, thanks for reminding me.  I have to be somewhere!”  

And he jumped out of his seat and rushed out of the restaurant.  

Needless to say, that was the end of that “romance.” 

I tried to ignore the holiday completely, after that.  The trouble is, it’s almost impossible to do.  

If celebrating Valentine’s Day means giving in to over-priced, over-hyped selections, not celebrating means working even harder to find alternatives to eat, drink, and do…which will still be over-priced.  

You’d have to live in a cave to avoid it all, successfully.  A cave filled with flowers you’ve sent yourself, and chocolate.

Finally, I met a guy who remembered flowers of his own free will.  

True, they were daisies — but they had cost more than roses would, any other day of the year.  

Eventually, we combined our stockpiles of chocolate into a joint account.  He prefers milk chocolate, and I prefer dark, so it all works out nicely.  

And between us, we have agreed to ignore all that hoopla about February 14th.  

We now celebrate a different date, completely.  It is known to some as Groundhog Day.  

In our tradition, you wake up to a bar of chocolate on your pillow.  And if you should happen to see anyone’s shadow besides your own, on your bedroom floor, odds are good for six more weeks of a relationship… or at least as long as the chocolate holds out.  

Works for me!

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