Ah, the joys of Valentine's Day.
Who doesn't look forward to that annual celebration of commercial sap?
Who doesn't get a thrill from being inundated by a sea of red, pink and white?
Who doesn't love that backed-into-a-corner-panic at the thought of all the expectations, not of your spouse, but the people you work with or see daily?
You KNOW they're going to ask what you did for Valentine's Day....
I'm all for love and romance and sappy big-eyed puppy love. I always gets a big old smile on my face when I see couples who are obviously in love, oblivious to anyone but the object of their fancy. I've been known to pen love letters, write mushy cards and buy stuffed animals, and I still have the first gift my sweetie gave me 17 years ago. TS Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, if you want details....
But I just can't buy into Valentine's Day. It seems a little too manipulative, too calculated, too forced, too... too. Not a popular view, if you believe the media. So this year I opted to keep my mouth shut and not get lynched by the Valentine's Day police.
But boy, did I want to say something.
While the guys around me were handing over an average of $89.99 for a dozen red roses yesterday, I smiled serenely. When one of the guys showed off the Tiffany box for his new girlfriend I made the appropriate comments about how much she'd love it, and bit back my desire to shake him and say what sort of woman expects this after a few short weeks of dating?
I already knew the answer - the type of woman who'll mark possible 'gift ideas' in the latest fashion magazine, and intimate there'd be no nookie if he didn't cough up at least one.
When some of the guys came back looking shell-shocked from their foray into Carlton Cards, I provided sympathy, and directions to an alternative card store. By the end of the day I'd been asked 23 times what I was doing that evening, and had 23 plans laid out for me. It was exhausting.
So here's my two bits: Don't wait to tell someone you love them, or even that you like them. A thoughtful email 'for no reason' will make someone's day more easily than you'd imagine. Grand gestures are appreciated but not necessary. And the little things you do that you think aren't being noticed? They are being noticed. And they're appreciated.