"oh what a tangled interweb we weave..."

Sunday, February 14, 2010

i would get valentine's day

I would get Valentine’s Day--coincidentally my second least favorite day of the year after Halloween (which is another story altogether). The truth is I have a hard time with holidays in general… and games… and karaoke. Yeah, I’m clearly not a fun guy.

Valentine’s Day, the “holiday”—yes the quotation marks are intentional—is mired in myth. In fact, we are historically unsure as to how and when and with whom it began, though it is likely that the Romans and of all people, Chaucer, might have had something to do with it all. I knew there was a reason that I disliked that man…

I posit (and many others have posited the same) that V-Day was founded by Hallmark and other such “love manufacturers” to capitalize on the emotions and prey on the pocketbooks of we mere mortals.

My feeling on this day, today, V-Day, has little to do with my relationship status and quite a lot to do with the fact that I abhor manipulation AND (probably not surprisingly) being the somewhat skeptical person that I am (especially in matters of the h-e-a-r-t) I can’t help but find this day, today, V-Day, to be a bit (if not a complete) manipulation.

Of course, we subscribe to it. I mean, who doesn’t like flowers, right? Or candle lit dinners? Or chocolate? Or declarations of affection?

Hm… Okay.

I suppose, given the aforementioned list of V-Day associated “likes,” which I do share to an extent, I have to admit (at the very least) to appreciating the components of this particular “holiday.” The idea of “love”—note the quotes—may not in and of itself reduce me to jello, but… I do think that we’re all in the market for a grand gesture, you know? And admittedly, Valentine’s Day does or rather can provide ample motivation for such a gesture… which is or rather can be well… quite lovely.

So then I guess… I guess the thing is--and this is maybe my hang-up with most “holidays.” Why designate a single day of the year to be thankful? Why celebrate freedom on only one day? Why profess your love once a year? It is my feeling that when we so clearly align a specific day with a specific emotion or state of being, it sort of lessens the need to express (or grapple with) them on the other 364 days in the calendar year. It’s like these holidays give us permission to be lazy. They are in effect further evidence of de-sensitization.

The inner workings of the human heart and mind are reduced to broad generalizations. Deep emotions are not felt but rather conveyed via objects, icons—turkey equals gratitude, fireworks equal liberty, roses equal love.

I leave you with a thought… or maybe more of a challenge: This Valentine’s Day instead of gifting Godiva and calling it a year—pledge to show your affection to the one’s you love every day. Hug them a little longer more consistently. Kiss them a little more deeply more often. Tell them how much they mean to you every chance you get.

Because that… that is what this day, today, V-Day is really all about.


  1. I kind of agree and kind of disagree, h. I do think it doesn't make any sense to only celebrate freedom or love or trees one day a year. But I think the purpose of those holidays is to evoke those things so strongly that when the feelings are stirred we remember to attend to them. I don't need one day to tell me to show my love, is a common refrain of the v-day naysayers. No of course you don't need it, and a sandwich doesn't need mustard to be tasty. It does make it better though. So if, when you make that love sandwich you go above and beyond, and you are reminded of feelings that may have been cast aside by the simple nature of life happening throughout the year, the next time you go to your kitchen you're gonna think about how much better the sandwich was when you put all that extra effort and care into it, and you're gonna wanna make that sandwich that good all the time. Wait, what are we talking about.

  2. ha. yes. holidays are good for memory jogging, as benchmarks, reminders... i completely agree. i simply hope that if a person realizes that they like mustard on their sandwich (so to speak), he or she won't promptly forget and only recall how good that particular condiment tasted until the next "sandwich holiday." i advocate for the carrying around of that revelation--in your pocket or wherever you hold such information/insight. put it somewhere where you can easily be made re-aware of it.