I find the fake sentimentality of the Valentine’s marketing season offensive; the bad chocolates sold a the pharmacy and cheap half-wilted flowers on every street corner depress me. If you’re trying to save money, surely there’s a more genuine way to express loving and caring to that one special person? And if a person has several “special persons” to buy gifts for, then I don’t want to hear about it, though I hear florists have all sorts of tales to tell on that subject. On another register, remembrances of loopy handmade paper hearts brought back from kindergarten, asking our mothers “Will you be mine?” always make me wish we’d kept things simple like that well into our adult years.
When you’re dating, Valentine’s makes for an awkward time. No matter what stage you’re at, inevitably it’s bound to give rise to the “what now” question. Say you’ve just met and don’t know if the other person wants to pursue… is this the time to get into that conversation? If you’ve been dating a while, what now, should you take things further? What if she expects him to mention the “M” word and the only thing he can think about is sex with her wearing a naughty outfit, or he gives her a little box containing the key to his house instead of the coveted ring? Those situations can give rise to tears of disappointment and bitter recriminations in no time. That would dampen any mood. I certainly wouldn’t want to be a guy on February 14th on any year. Who wants to deliver on so many unspoken expectations?
Married couples: I wouldn’t know what it’s like for them, but it’s a safe bet to say that if the marriage is solid, no matter what happens or doesn’t happen on that day is not going to have an impact on a healthy union either way. But if things are shaky, that must make for one difficult day to get through. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear there are as many couples who decide to get married as there are who opt to get a divorce on that same day. If you’ve just broken up and the wound is fresh, seeing those pink and red hearts everywhere feels like so many darts aimed straight you (here I speak from experience), and we wish we could vanish, mind, body and spirit so we wouldn’t have to suffer through a day celebrating all that is out of reach for us.
Which brings me to… Love unrequited. Most all of us have experienced it one way or another. As much as it hurts to be the lover rejected, there is also pain involved in being the rejector (unless you’re a sadist of course). Whether you continue communicating or whether you don’t, you know that no matter what you’re hurting the other person. But if the other persists once you’ve made it clear that there is no hope for love to blossom, then you just have to show some tough love and say what needs to be said — yes, even at the risk of sounding cruel and uncaring.
I say Valentine’s day could be a day to celebrate Love unrequited — maybe consolation prizes could be handed out to the candidates with a “close but no cigar” kind of theme. I don’t know if that idea will catch on, so in the meantime I’ve created the following collection of candy hearts that you can special deliver to all those admirers who just won’t quit no matter how many times you haven’t returned their calls. They’ll be sure to appreciate the gesture.
To make you own candy hearts, click here.