If you read about Valentine’s Day and St. Valentine, it’s a little difficult to figure out how the holiday came to be what it is today. But however it originated, in modern times capitalism is king as the Valentine’s Day industry represents over 2 billion in commerce in greeting cards, chocolates and flowers alone. Don’t even get me started on restaurants and their overpriced “set menus” for the occasion.
I have been a skeptic and for years refused to celebrate the Hallmark enforced romance of Valentine’s Day. I even started calling it “Hallmark Day” about 15 years ago due to the fact that the commercialization of Valentine’s “guilt” has largely been promoted by companies that have the most to gain. I estimate 1/5th of annual greeting card income is gathered over Valentine’s Day. My cynical position on Valentine’s Day is that the holiday itself really does not represent anything other than a time when you are supposed to be romantic. And the people really pushing that are the ones that have the most to gain. Roses usually double in cost. Chocolates come in a variety of heart-shaped boxes and are typically much more expensive. (If you don’t believe me go shopping for Valentine chocolates the day after Valentines Day. They are typically 50-75% less overnight.)
I don’t like to be shamed into doing anything (unless I deserve it, then that is different). I prefer to be romantic on the spur of the moment, not on a specific overhyped- overpriced day promoted by commercial entities who have the most to gain.
Now, I will say that the last 3 years I have celebrated the day with some nice gestures for Sam, but only because I could see that my cynicism was becoming tiresome and I wanted her to be able to stop explaining to friends why I was “unromantic” on Valentine’s Day. So now I just bite the bullet and do something nice for her but only because I know I will get sex because she knows I am biting the bullet and appreciates it. So I guess it is still self-serving.
I have one last point to make. In the era of equality and the ever important rise of the feminine energy, why are men still expected to initiate all of the romantic gestures? If a woman likes romance why not schedule some herself? I really think it is good for a relationship when BOTH partners initiate romantic gestures. Like anything else in the relationship, we should not rely on our significant others to fill a romantic need. The more sporadic and impromptu the better. NOT just on Feb. 14th. Make romance a part of your relationship year round. That way when Feb 14th rolls around you do not have to go broke going out for an expensive meal, get fat eating overpriced chocolates, or go through a box of band-aids while trying to stuff 2 dozen long stem roses into a vase. Be romantic often enough that Valentine’s Day does not have to be anything special. Don’t fall for the commercialism!!!
SHE SAID: It Doesn’t Matter
My first Valentine’s Day with Paddy was pure magic. He took me to a lovely resort up in the mountains with natural hot springs and very nice restaurant. We had a beautiful room fully equipped with a romantic fireplace and a giant bathtub – my favorite! We had a delicious dinner and a bath that lasted hours….we talked and laughed and kissed and had to refresh the hot water a number of times. Then we made lots of love and it was the first time I told him I loved him.
Valentine’s Day pretty much went downhill from there…the first few years as I remember it were alright. Flowers delivered to my office and take out but then started the long journey of Paddy’s personal revolution against the Valentine’s Day Machine. I feel confident he started this revolt the first Valentine’s Day he forgot entirely (although he will likely deny this). I think his Valentine’s bah humbug started out of guilt for forgetting. And I don’t remember making a huge deal out of it…I got him a card but he made a big show of how Valentine’s Day was stupid anyhow and invented and hyped by big corporations to charge inflated prices for candy we shouldn’t eat, dinners we can’t afford, and flowers that will die in a couple days anyhow. This revolution lasted about nine years. I usually got Patrick something -a card or trinket because I always got the kids things for Valentine’s – and occasionally Paddy would hit the store the day AFTER Valentine’s and buy the discounted goods.
I always WANTED Paddy to celebrate Valentine’s Day with me. It seemed like a nice reminder to do something romantic and celebrate our love. But when it comes right down to it, it didn’t matter that much. His lack of celebration of Valentine’s Day and not doing what I wanted didn’t make our relationship any different. We still had Bigger Love. If I wanted something for Valentine’s, I bought it for myself. If I wanted to have a nice Valentine’s dinner, I would cook it or make the reservation. It reminds me of a poem my grandmother gave me after my first big breakup called After a While by Veronica A. Shoffstall which says:
You plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers
So my advice if you have a partner who is either totally against Valentine’s Day, typically forgets about it or is otherwise uninterested in the whole rigmarole and it is something you want to celebrate, don’t wait to be disappointed by your partner this Valentine’s Day. Do whatever you want for your partner and then do the same for yourself! Do what you need to do to feel excited about the holiday – buy yourself flowers or chocolates or make a reservation at your favorite restaurant … or better yet, write yourself a love note! (You guys know how much we love self-love!) Don’t wait for your partner to fulfill you, fulfill yourself. If your partner ends up doing something special too, then that is an extra special BONUS!
Paddy has come to the party the past three years or so and has made nice dinner reservations in celebration of Valentine’s Day. This year should prove to be interesting – we are currently down in La Paz, Mexico and checking out of our villa here on February 14th and then checking into another casita in Loreto on February 15th. I think Paddy said he had a nice hotel reservation for the night of the 14th but only time will tell.
Paddy, even if we sleep in a shitty motel in the middle of nowhere Mexico on Valentine’s Day, you’ll still be my one and only Valentine sweetness.