Well, it’s Valentine’s Day, the one day each year that every man in America, and by “America” I mean the world, dreads. It seems a man can never get this occasion quite right: she’s allergic to flowers, candy makes her fat, the lingerie is the wrong size– and heaven help you if you get a size too big!– and dinner tells her she can’t cook. And really, after the diamond-studded fur bathroom sink, how many diamonds can a man buy?
And god forbid the man make even the slightest, eensiest joke about sex on “the holiest romanticest day of the year”! Once I cracked wise about getting my heart on all day and she never spoke to me again!
Maybe the joke would have worked better in a note, I guess.
And none of this takes anything away from the women on Valentine’s Day, who have it almost as hard. If she’s married, she has to grin and bear the usual clumsy last-minute presents, including (if she has any) the handmade card from the kids. If she’s single, she either has to put up with the plethora of invitations from guys who figure they can get some that night easily, or the shame of a silent phone.
I’d bet the sales of Haagen-Daz and sweat pants spikes beginning February 1.
Hookers look forward to today. They actually get a day off. I’d bet if there were a Hookervania, it would be a national holiday, a day when the blood can flow back into their legs (gender neutral, you’ll note).
No one else does.
Which brings up today’s topic: love.
The obvious promotional aspect of this holiday aside, why is it necessary to set aside a day, nearly a holiday, to show love to people you care about?
If we care about the important people in our lives, what does it matter that one day a year we buy them flowers or candy or jewelry? If I give care to a loved one the other 364 days a year, should I feel guilty because one day I forget to mark an occasion? If I make a life with someone, does it matter that I prefer to show her (or him) thru being a partner 365 days a year, if by missing this silly holiday, she gets angry at me?
I’m so over these forced displays that some corporate suit has decided means something in this world. I want simplicity. I don’t need Halloween to dress up all scary (most Friday nights will suffice). I don’t need the fourth Thursday in November to tell the world “Thank you”. I don’t need the 25th of December to buy a raft of presents for people I care about. I do that on the spur of the moment.
And the people who know me, who care about me and who I care about, who love me, know this about me. I don’t need to show love to give love to someone.
To love someone is to let them know they matter to you, that what happens to them matters and that you want to help them as you can. Sometimes you can’t do enough, and sometimes you end up doing too much, but in the end it all balances out. The Beatles had it right: the love you take is equal to the love you make. You laugh when they’re happy, you comfort them and share their pain when they’re sad. When they accomplish something, you celebrate, and when they fail, you offer to help pick up the pieces and dust them off.
Valentine’s Day celebrates the one aspect of love that becomes the muddiest in relationships: romance. In a relationship, love manifests itself in so many different ways, from not yelling at your partner for leaving the seat up to cleaning the dishes when it’s not your turn. It’s not just about romance, it’s about compassion and understanding that this person is in your life and if you can make his or her life just a bit easier by giving of yourself, then that’s a good thing to do.
Maybe Valentine’s Day does matter for that narrow reason: the qualities that got us into that mess, the breasts, the hair, the way you kiss each other, the caresses, the smiles lighting up, need to be celebrated.
Or maybe, as our mom’s used to say about “Children’s Day”, every day is Valentine’s Day!