Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Valentine's Day Grinch

I have to confess. Valentine's Day means nothing to me. I used to love it . . . in elementary school when the holiday promised heart-shaped cookies and lacy hearts and an afternoon party during school. My mom would make sure I wore red or pink to school. What's not to love?

But for the last thirty years? Valentine's Day has been a non-event. Oh, wait. I remember my first married Valentine's Day. In 1988, it must have been on a Sunday, because I remember after church spending the day with my husband . . . and a bunch of young people from the church we were attending. I wanted to confide in the mom of the house--she was probably forty-five, maybe fifty--and I wanted to ask her about marriage and did she worry that her husband didn't think she was pretty anymore and would she please be my mentor and my friend and help, help, help, I'm lonely, even though I'm married. You're okay. Am I okay?

I can't remember other specific Valentine's Days, though my husband always brings me chocolate and a card and sometimes a teddy bear or something. But a gradual realization has dawned over recent years. I'm not very romantic. I have a very low need for romance. Perhaps I can blame this on Maslow's hierarchy of needs . . . I'm always stuck in the "need sleep" stage of life, it seems. I'm just pragmatic, sensible, apt to choose comfort over fashion. I have no poetry in my soul, other than the tried and true: "I had a little tea party, this afternoon at three; t'was very small, three guests in all, just I, Myself and Me; Myself ate up the sandwiches, while I drank up the tea; T'was also I who ate the pie and passed the cake to Me." (Thank you, Miss Brittingham, third-grade teacher.)

My husband, though, appears to be moving closer to the romance spectrum of life while I inch away, bit by bit. And so, with some alarm, I opened my eyes wider in dismay when he announced, "I thought of the perfect Valentine's Day gift! And it's not too expensive, either." (He already brought me two dozen red roses with the reassuring thought that they are less expensive now, only $19.99 at Costco and they are really quite lovely.)

Oh no! We're doing Valentine's Day? I mean, beyond a card and chocolate? Does this require creative thinking on my part? My creative powers are exhausted by the challenge of examining the American Revolution, battle-by-battle, while comforting the baby who bit his lip and negotiating with my little terrorist daughter who wants to cut with scissors right now and wondering, all the while, what we'll have for dinner that will take ten minutes to prepare because I forgot to get something in the crockpot again.

I'm a married woman. Nineteen years in July, as a matter of fact. As I see it, that's my own personal Valentine's Day. Is this not enough? Can we not leave Valentine's Day to elementary schools?



Blogger MissKris said...

Oh, DARLIN'!! Does THIS ring a bell with ME!! LOL! I am so incredibly weird. I do NOT like the calendar telling me when I should be happy I'm in love...or when it's Mother's Day...or any other day out of the year. I celebrate being ME and HAPPY and LIFE every single day out of the year, thank you very much. Dear Hubby and I will be married (gasp!) 32 years in June and we've never celebrated a lot of 'holidays' just 'coz they mean nothing to me, per se. He tells me I'm a very low-maintenance wife, haha. Well, so be it. Does it come from being the only girl in a male-dominated household with very dominant males growing up?? Does it come from having a childhood where stuff like that just didn't mean much to anyone? I dunno. One thing about me, I'm comfortable enough in my own skin I really don't care what the rest of the world thinks of me. Whatever floats their boat is fine with me. What I love are Dear Hubby and my spontaneous picnics out in the woods together...going out in search of the first vine maple in the mountains going scarlet...long drives going nowhere...long walks together. I dunno. Maybe my priorities are different than most people's but they suit me just FINE!

5:37 AM  
Blogger Darla said...

I'm sorry but I must disagree with you ladies. I have been married for 18 years, but sometimes we other wives get hardly or no attention during the rest of the year so Valentines Day is a "get off your ass and remember to show your wife your love" day. Even though we wives are hip to this fact we still want to know that this person we chose to marry can show that he loves and care for us even if it is only for one day. I'm expecting something even if it is a just a card, I still want to know that he gives a rip cause I just don't hear it enough! Sorry for the grammer, it's early and I'm not even halfway through with my coffee.

6:13 AM  
Anonymous Stacy said...

I'm all for my hubby showing me how much he loves me, but when he works such long hours, I work, the kiddos need fed and driven hither and yon....making a big deal out of Valentines' Day often ends up seeming forced to me. It's much better when one of us spontaneously does something nice or romantic.

6:43 AM  
Blogger tab said...

Valentines, along w/Mother's Day and Father's Day have always been what we call "Hallmark Holidays." Big whoopiedo. I'm more interested in how I am treated all year long than on one day.

He usually does give me a card---why I'm not sure, neither one of us are card fans at all--his mother probably guilts him into it--I'd wish he wouldn't give me a card. I told him this year that if he felt like he just HAD to do something, bring home Oreos or one of those packages of Hershey Peanut Butter Kisses (yummy).

7:14 AM  
Blogger Ginger said...

Hmmmm. Sorry Mel, but for some reason I don't believe it. When my now-husband and I were getting to know each other by e-mail (set up by a mutual friend), I went on a rant about Valentine's Day, too. He later told me he knew I must have a romantic bone to have waxed verbal against the day, and he was delighted by that. Ya' know? He was right.

Get ahold of the latest National Geographic, cover story about love. They'll tell you it's all just a passing cocktail of chemicals, that's all.

7:17 AM  
Blogger deb said...

Valentine's Day is big in our household - my partner loves it. Hearts everywhere. Cute little red and white teddies. And it's contagious - Katie & Megan love it too. I think if it was up to me, the lesser romantic, I'd settle for a night out on the town, wine, dinner, smooching. Forget all that other stuff. :-)

Mostly what I don't like about it is how this, as most holidaze, are so darned commercialized. I really hate that. I like a romantic holiday, but not one that is enforced by media, press, printed articles, you name it.

That, I can do without, ya know?

7:58 AM  
Blogger Turtle Guy said...

Personally, I've always thought of Valentine's Day as another consumeristic opportunity - sadly, much like Christmas. Only, Christmas for me has much more spiritual value. Valentines, however lovely, is great for business, but as you've pointed out aren't there more important landmarks!

As for romance, it is whatever you preceive it to be. My lady doesn't consider herself a "romantic", that siad, she appreciates when I cook for her - she gets that "look" in her eye and I sense the vibe. This is the same woman who sees "romantic love" as a second-hand emotion while she shares the story of having written a month's worth of letters in a week to her Mom. Her Mom was in hospital, and she had to be away until the Christmas break. A letter a day was there for her to read until her daughter's return.

8:31 AM  
Blogger Reloaded said...

i'm not expecting much on valentines day - my wife is simply not in an affectionate stage of her life right now (it's been a long stage, too.)

that isn't to say I don't want affection on V-Day or any day, but my expectations are pretty low. in fact, i'm hungry for her affection and loving words, but that's not where she's at, and that hurts -- she's says she's changed, and that (being affectionate) is just not her anymore, 'cause affection ALWAYS leads to sex (it doesn't), and so on and so forth - i'd like a hug and kiss when i get home from work - how exactly is that going to lead to sex when it's dinnertime and the kids are up - i just want a hug and kiss when i get home, and i'm tired of initiating it 99% of the time

i'm venting.

i will do something, i always do, probably write a love song for / to / about her.

8:44 AM  
Blogger The Dung Beetle said...

I agree with you 100 percent on this one.

9:45 AM  
Blogger Feeble Knees said...

It's February??????

I need to sleep more, I think... :)

10:24 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

yeah, I don't like the idea of Hallmark telling me when to be romantic. Actually, when D & I were getting ready to get engaged, it was in January (7 years ago!!) and I pretty much told him he better not propose on V-Day or I will say no because that is so cheesy.

We got engaged on 2/13 at 11:50pm.

Sometimes we celebrate, but I just prefer the good times we have together without Hallmark shoving it down our throats. Or wallets.

10:45 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Darling said...

well people sounds good; dont like valentines becasue of commercialism, dont need valentines because love all year is more important yadda yadda.

Hogwash! Whats wrong with showing love all year AND Valentines day? I make dinner in heart shapes for the family; special heartshaped snadwiches, molded jello and coookies in heart shapes, and heart panckaes for breakfast. These things are just the little extras that make traditions and solidly jell the family unit.

I just dont buy the other arguements against Valentines. Hate me if you will but I think the majority of people who adamantly contend they dont like Valentines are in the same mold; they are either at a loveless place in their life or hurt because their spouse doesnt do anything for them on Valentines day.

Now having said that I must add that their is one arguement to not liking Valentines day that I consider to be a very valid reason to call it off. And that is the reason Mel stated in her entry; too tired.

I can totally relate to that. Young children in the home makes tired mommys me included.

The above is only an opinion of the writer and not to be taken as gospel truth. The writer knows nothing of true statistics that would state the real reasons people dont do valetines day

11:26 AM  
Anonymous mopsy said...

Last year's Valentine's Day was seriously crappy (still recovering from pregnancy loss 2 days before, hubby and I went to the mall and dropped big bucks on an amethyst ring to "commemorate"---it's on my middle finger right now).

I so don't care what we do or what happens on V-day anymore...before, I rather enjoyed it.

11:45 AM  
Blogger The Daring One said...

I have to say I love the excuse to do something a little extra special. It's nice that your hub is into it.

12:36 PM  
Blogger dinodoc said...

For those couples who like to celebrate V Day, more power to them; for those that would rather commermorate their love in a non-Hallmark way, good for them too. (Poor American Greetings, everything is always about Hallmark.) Since I don't have a Someone in my life, I tend to be "bah humbug" on the whole affair, feeling like my nose is getting rubbed in it by all those romantic commercials. (Okay done venting now.) I think the best thing about VDay, though, is for the kids: making paper hearts, the decorations, something fun to do in February.

1:29 PM  
Blogger BEM said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:07 PM  
Anonymous judy said...

My husband will be working out of town.

I feel differently about it this year.

I want a blender.

(i'm the deleted comment above. was signed in as my grandson.)

9:11 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I've never been one to buy flowers for my wife and we have been married for 19 years.

I decided to surprise her on Valentines Day somewhere around 12 years with a small bouquet. As soon as she saw it, she exclaimed, "But they'll die!!!". Translated, she was saying that she wanted something that would last like "jewelry". So that was the last time I've bought flowers and I swore I'd never do it again.

I think a woman invented Valentines Day anyway. :)

7:02 AM  
Blogger portuguesa nova said...

My mom has run a flowershop for her entire life. Valentine's Day, her busiest day of the year, has always been known as the day/week where she threatens to divorce my dad and put us all up for adoption as the result of massive stress. So, yes, I too am not a big fan of this day. AT ALL.

Moreover, she would always make these obnoxiously huge, huge, huge corsages from left over or slightly scruffy roses and send my sister and I to school with a big backpack full of them to give out to our teachers. We always found this to be very embarassing. In retrospect, it was a very nice gesture, but there were years that I couldn't decide if I dreaded having to give my teachers The Winners Circle sized corsages or help out at the shop with my mother-turned-monster.

8:47 AM  

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