February 14, 2003
I Heart Valentine's Day



I love Valentine's Day ... and I don't care who knows it.

It's a minority opinion, I realize. These days, it's a lot cooler to bash The Holiday of Love than to praise it: to dismiss it as irrelevant or manipulative or a vast commercial machine, targeted to the emotionally dishonest and the reality impaired. And I can understand why some people might feel that way: *I* feel the same way about about Christmas. But Valentine's Day is different. Valentine's Day is special. And I don't say this as a woman, or as a mother, or as an incurable (some might say terminal) romantic ... or even as one half of the world's most nauseatingly-happily-married couple. I'm saying it as somebody who simply loves Valentine's Day.

Why?

Because it is what it is. Valentine's Day is one of a tiny handful of holidays that doesn't try to be 43,897,621 different things all at once: a religious celebration, a children's holiday, a civic observance, a three-day weekend, a family reunion, a snow day, a chance to wipe the karmic slate clean and start all over again, a get-out-of-work-free-day. Valentine's Day is beautifully single-minded in purpose: the Forrest Gump of holidays, if you will.

It's a day to remind the people you love how much you love them. Period.

What could be simpler -- or nicer -- than that?

A few other reasons why I love Valentine's Day so much:

  • It's not Christmas.

  • It has the benefit of good timing. The gift certificates have been redeemed, the last of the pine needles have been vacuumed up, Bing Crosby is safely back in the attic, and everybody except your idiot neighbor has finally taken down their outdoor Christmas displays. We've recovered from the whole overblown October-to-December holiday marathon -- plus we've survived four weeks of boring, plain-vanilla January -- and now we're ready for a party again.

  • It's an extremely user-friendly holiday. Valentine's Day -- like Mother's Day -- is one holiday where homemade is not only acceptable, it's actually preferable. (Think: bad mushy poetry scribbled inside handcrafted *collage* greeting card.) But even if you do decide to take a shortcut and buy prefab Valentine stuff, it's technically possible to do all of your Valentine's Day shopping at one store/one greeting card counter/one website ... AND you can do it in under an hour, for less than you generally spend on one Hallmark Keepsake Christmas Ornament. (And if worse comes to worst, and you run out of time and money and *Creativity Molecules,* you can always send the same cyber Valentine to your fourteen favorite online boyfriends and be done with it.)

  • It involves chocolate. We've just polished off the very last of the Christmas See's, and now here come the chocolate-covered cherries! If we're careful, we can probably make them last until the Cadbury Easter Eggs get here!

  • It's a really CUTE holiday. Admit it. Is there anything cuter than a display of teddy bears dressed in Wonder Bras?

  • It gives you a reason to wear that tomato-red pantsuit hanging in the back of your closet. You knew when you bought that tomato-red pantsuit, last summer, that there would only be three days out of the entire year when you could wear it to the office (or risk losing valuable front desk *credibility molecules*). Valentine's Day is one of those three days.

  • It's not Christmas.

  • It requires people to use skills they may have forgotten they possess. Like picking up an actual PEN and using actual LONGHAND to scribble an actual HANDWRITTEN MESSAGE inside a Hallmark.

  • It practically guarantees you a restaurant meal. Even if *you* are the one picking up the tab.

  • It is one of the few holidays that has turned out to be more fun sober than it ever was drunk. Unlike New Year's Eve, Halloween, The Fourth of July, Super Bowl Sunday -- all of which were a lot more fun when I'd had a snootful, to tell you the truth -- Valentine's Day has actually been enhanced by my sobriety. I don't end the meal face-down in my chicken parmagiana anymore. I'm a lot less likely to throw furniture at anybody. My eyes don't match my tomato-red pantsuit. Plus when I wake up the next morning, I can remember everything that happened the night before.

    And I do mean everything.

  • It's not Christmas.

I could probably think of a thousand more reasons why I love Valentine's Day ... but you get my point.

And no, I realize that we don't "need" a day to tell our loved ones how much they mean to us: at least, those of us who practice daily *I Love You* therapy don't need it. We're hard-wired to express our emotions every .043 seconds ... usually out loud. But isn't it nice to have one day a year when everybody else remembers to say it, too?

Happy Valentine's Day, everybody! Have a great weekend.

Secra





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i love you, david!
i love you, jaymi! i love you, kacie! i love you, kyle!
i love you, mom and vince and dad and valerie!
i love you, deb and tim and the world's cutest nephew!
i love you, matt lauer!
i love you, edmund and feef and george and mizz and mr. mizz ... and yes, even you, you fat grumpy old bastard!
i love you, amazon.com!
i love you, brina! [sort of.]
i love you, joel! [go, raiders!]
i love you, bev and donna and olivia and all of my fellow BOOBS!
i love you, cranky denver lady!
i love you, jeff probst!
i love you, sarah bird!
i love you, earl peterson!
i love you, little david wilkins!
i love you, martian hop guy!
i love you, america!
i love you, everybody reading *footnotes* tonight!
[whew ... i think i'm covered.]