The St. Valentine's Day Massacre
by Michele Christopher
I mean, we might as well. It's staring us right in the face. Not like you can ignore it. Every store you walk into is decorated in red and pink and filled with so many heart shaped things you start thinking that Cupid is gonna come out and stab you in the ass with his arrow.
Then you would fall in love with the semi-literate shelf clerk at Walgreen's and spend the rest of your life trying to figure out what you saw in her to begin with. Besides the charming hand-knit sweater vest with the likeness of her kitten on the back. And besides the way her breath smells like a combination of grape Bubble Yum and desperation.
Where was I? Oh yea. Valentine's Day. Stores. And the purchase of goods and services to give to your significant other in an exchange for a chance to feel good about yourself for a day. You know what I'm talking about. You don't think of being romantic or spontaneous or thoughtful all year long. Yet you think there is one specific day where you can do these things and then get off the hook for the rest of the year.
Valentine's Day is not a day of amnesty. It is not a day where a guy or girl can say "Well, I've been shitty to my partner all year long, but if I buy them a huge boquet of flowers on February 14th, I'm off the hook!"
Yea, I'm talking to you. But not you. You, with the guilty look.
Confession. I used to hate Valentine's Day. Well, I told myself I hated Valentine's Day in much the same way I told myself I hate diamond rings and romantic proposals and long walks in the park and pina coladas in the rain.
See, it's easy to get over the knowledge that you'll never have that stuff if you pretend to hate it. Candy and flowers? Meh. Who needs them? A nice card? A romantic dinner? A sweet gesture? That stuff is for sissies!
That's what I told myself anyhow. Sometimes it's just easier to pretend.
Truth is, I am a romantic. And I love Valentine's Day. And I love getting flowers even if they do make me sneeze. And I love cute greeting cards and romantic dinners and holding hands and small, thoughtful gestures of love.
It's much easier to admit it now that I don't have to sulk that I'm not getting any of it.
Still, even after acknowledging my inner romantic and even after having spent the last few months in a state of romantic bliss, I have to find some fault with this holiday and its false pretenses and its way of making single, lonely people feel like buying a bottle of gin and a large bottle of sleeping pills and maybe stabbing a few people to death at a Lover's Lane before offing themselves in their ex wife's garage.
Honestly, this day has a way of even making people in stable relationships feel awkward. All the commercials for diamonds and gold and restaurants where an appetizer costs more than a heart transplant are enough to drive even the most hardcore romantic away from Cupid's bow and arrow. How much is enough? Why do all the commercials make me feel that no matter how much I spend I have to spend even more if I want to prove my undying love and affection? Why do all these advice columnists on tv and the internet imply that while my loved one can get away with plunking down some cold cash on flowers or jewelry, I have to dress like a five dollar stripper and suck him dry in order to please him? And after that make him dinner and serve it in a French Maid's outfit while the soundtrack to some porn movie plays in the background. It's kind of unfair. Why can't I buy him flowers or why can't he dress like a two dollar whore for me?*
Do I sound bitter? Maybe I am. Have you ever been that kid in class who got one valentine (from the teacher) while everyone else got 20? Have you ever sat home on Valentine's night crying in your beer and eating a pint of chocoalte chip mint ice cream because you bought your special someone a really thoughtful gift and all you got in return was a look that said "this better not mean that you think you can get away with cooking for me tonight"? Then you know. You know how Valentine's Day only causes pain.
Even for the guys who have a girlfriend, because they feel they can't live up to the expectations that the media has set for them as far as presents go. Diamonds are a man's best friend apparently, and the only way to truly show her you love her is to spend the equivalent of three months salary on some raw material that Dopey and Sneezy dug out a South African mine.
For the girls who have a special someone, it sucks if they have been watching a morning television show where some guy pops out of the audience in a tuxedo and gets down on his knee and begs his girlfriend, who is a grip or stagehand or something, to marry him. And then Katie Couric or one of those hags on The View are sends them on a trip around Manhattan in a horse drawn carriage and the snow falls gently on their heads as he puts a diamond ring on her finger and....well, that's not reality for everyone, folks. So don't think it's yours. Valentine's Day only serves to get your hopes up and then have them crashed down on top of you by the end of the night when all you got was a half-hearted kiss and an offer to let you watch while he plays Grand Theft Auto.
Anyhow. For the men out there who are, at this late date, still contemplating what to buy your wife/girlfriend/mistress/companion/dog/RealDoll(c), a word or two of advice:
Chocolate is not a good gift. Chocolate says "I would like you to gain a few pounds so then I can say to you in a week or so that you look like you could lose a few pounds."
Flowers are not good. Flowers say "Here are some beautiful works of nature that will wilt or dry out and lose their beauty in a relatively short time. Like you. Which is when I will leave you for a younger woman."
Sexy lingerie is not good, because that just says "I really hate the way you look naked. Do you think you could dress like a stripper when we have sex so I can pretend that you are Shana from The Raven's Nest?"
So what is a good gift? I'll tell you. And this applies to men and women. But not RealDolls.
A really good gift would be to just be thoughtful and sweet every day of the year. To make your relationship a romantic one all the time, not just one day. To say "i love you" every single day and look in their eyes while you say it. To turn off the tv once in a while and just sit and cuddle and remind each other why you fell in love. To not take each other for granted, or take the time you have together for granted. To make your partner smile each day, whether by a word or a gesture or the way you touch them. Be spontaneous. Be romantic. Enjoy each other all the time. Don't wait for a Hallmark holiday to remind the person you love that they mean something special to you.
You don't know unless you have lived thousand of miles away from the person you are deeply in love with how lucky you are to be able to hold and kiss and look at that person every single day. Take a little time every day to remind that person that they are your Valentine all the time, not just on February 14th. That's a perfect gift.
Unless you have just started dating the person. Then it would seem kind of stalkerish. I suggest a nice sushi dinner and a movie then.