Friday, February 15, 2013

Bad Love: A Valentine's Day Massacre

Alright. Yeah. Yeah. I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna trash Valentine's Day. I can't help it. It drives me crazy, so I'm going to drop the box of chocolates in the mud and grind it squishingly down with the boot heel of cynicism.

I did hear guy say "Happy Singles Awareness Day," today, which I like -- but that is neither here nor there. Valentine's Day is lame. Not only is it lame, but it is a microcosm of lots of things that are wrong with the typical American perspective on life.

Call me a stick-in-the-mud. Call me a Cupid-killer. Call me Broxton Von Fleederdoingenstein. (If you want.) I'm not backing down from this.

And, no, this is not just a ploy to release me from the responsibility of getting chocolates and roses for my wife. So sheddep.

No, this is a question of (yet again) the individual versus society; it is a reaction to the constant pressure society puts on all of us to "fit in" -- to become part of the groupthinking hordes of brainwashed toe-draggers.

I feel ridiculous parading my love for my wife before the world on-demand. I don't feel ridiculous showing the world my love for my wife (as is evidenced by this post from some time in August). See, I write my wife poems in August. Why? Because the spirit moves me, not because all the other kids are doing it.
Because I love her, not  because a date is circled on the calendar.

Valentine's Day cheapens love. It makes the private public -- at metaphoric social gunpoint. Blech.

Cover of Van Halen's 1984
And what's with having our kids buy Valentines for every kid in class? I'll tell you what. It's the American way. Everyone has to get a card. When everyone is loved, everyone is happy. So, children, you will buy a card for everyone or no one gets one; even if little C. J. Snodgrass terrorizes you on the playground, you will get him a card, or you cannot give one to pretty Julia, on whom you totally have a crush. Sure, we are delaying your developing understanding of personal and romantic dynamics, but at least Snodgrass the Tormentor will be able to go home feeling good about himself. After all, bullying is caused by low self-esteem.

What's that? Valentine's Day is supposed to celebrate love? What, you didn't get the pink memo? Valentine's Day is supposed to bolster self-esteem. We boiled love out of it years ago. We're okay with a meaningless gesture, so long as kids don't have to find out that they got three less cards than someone else.

On the radio, today, I heard someone say that moms should buy cards for their sons and dads should get them for their daughters. PAGING DOCTOR FREUD!!!!

Great Scott.

I don't want to impress the world with my love for my wife. I want to impress her.

Does everyone out there think I am a bad husband for taking a stand against Valentine's Day? Good. My wife knows the truth.

And so does C.J. Snodgrass: beating up weaker kids gets him love.


  1. The sixth grade class of the school our son attended arrived at a rational if not sentimental agreement regarding Valentine's Day: the girls let the boys know that there would be chocolate or there would be trouble. As I recall, the cards were entirely pro forma. No big deal, the girls got their chocolate, they boys were left in peace, and by the following September everyone was dispersed to different schools.

    The name C.J. Snodgrass looked oddly familiar--I suppose because the poet W.D. Snodgrass won a Pulitzer with his volume Heart's Needle long ago.

    1. Sounds like that arrangement came to a satisfactory conclusion George. Expectations clear, crisis avoided.

      I don't know W.D. Snodgrass, but I have known many bratty kids named C.J. -- one of whom gave me some trouble back in the fourth grade. Fortunately, I never had to give him a card for anything.

  2. valentine's day is my birthday which sort of sucks. trying to go for a nice dinner out on that day is like going last minute shopping on Christmas. We ignore the valentines part of the day and concentrate on the birthday part of the day sans hearts and silliness.

    1. Well...I hope it was happy (and, heartless?) birthday! I'm all for celebrating those. Maybe I wouldn't be so bitter about Valentine' Day if I had a birthday on it to sort of...push it down...