We find ourselves right around the corner from the annual celebration of love, chocolate, pink and red drug stores, and strange stuffed animals: St. Valentine’s Day. Good luck, gentlemen.
Evolving from early pagan traditions (how is it that we’re so unoriginal that everything stems from pagan something?), Valentine’s Day became commercialized very fast. You wanna talk entrepreneurial? In 1797 a British publisher wrote The Young Man’s Valentine Writer. This was a compilation of sappy prose for the wanker unable to write his own panty dropping verses. Today, it is an overwhelming, billion-dollar industry, albeit with its heart in the right place.
To those of us in relationships or already locked into the expectations of this glorified love-fest, play it safe. I recommend not getting her jewelry because she’ll never wear it unless she picked it out and I recommend not getting her movie tickets because that’s just lame. Dinner and a hand written card – thoughtfully written of course – should do the trick. If it doesn’t, re-evaluate her. And if it takes a commercialized holiday to bring out your inner Romeo, re-evaluate yourself.
As for the rest of us, we must be careful. This is a sensitive time and no one should mindlessly get himself into a regrettable, clingy situation. First and foremost, do not text message anyone. This is the devil’s creation and nothing (or everything) good ever comes of it. There are two weekends between now and Unfulfillable Expectations Day, don’t go out. Do not intoxicate yourself around the opposite sex; you will say things you regret. Do not sign on to Facebook; you will look at your ex’s profile, become sad, and likely text. DO NOT TEXT.
And if you think you’re above hiding yourself, able to navigate these choppy waters alone, marinate in this anonymous anecdote. Attending a seemingly harmless and humorous Valentine’s Day singles party, said unnamed man quickly realized that he had walked into match.com-live. But when he inevitably woke up next to his “soul” (evening) mate on his host’s love sac where he’d sworn his love and removed half his clothes before passing out, well, he found himself feeling lower than ever before. And in deeper than he ever wanted (no, that’s not what she said).
Let us not be cynics, but realists. If Hollywood and Hallmark can romanticize February 14 to unmatchable levels, let’s not fight that fight. Listen to the advice of a wise friend of mine:
No man has ever succeeded on Valentine’s Day.
There is never a winner. Men either survive or are crushed
in a sea of tears, emotion, and over-inflated expectations.
This is an uphill climb not worth embarking, unless you must. And if you must, be understated but bold. If you mustn’t, carefully pass this fragile time.
So if you’re worried that you’re too entwined in pop celebration, here are a few noteworthy things to cherish on February 14:
- Arizona’s birthday, the 48th State, 1912
- The nationalization of the Bank of England, 1946
- Oregon’s birthday, the 33rd State, 1859
- The Death of Dolly, the first cloned mammal, 2003
If these are insufficient to meet your celebratory needs, I am certain that someone at any local dive will celebrate something with you.
Ultimately, love is good and great. Manufactured love, not so much.