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Valentine’s Day — real romance costs nothing!

It’s not because I’m divorced that Valentine’s Day fills me with a kind of internal cringing normally reserved for the sound of nails dragging down a chalk board. It’s not sour grapes or cynicism gone amuck. It’s simply that Valentine’s Day has, over the years, evolved into a competition, one that devalues spontaneity, simplicity, romance, and — I’m pulling out the big guns here — most of all, love.

Even as a child I never got into the grade school rituals of sending Valentines. You put them into little boxes and everyone ended up actually counting how many they received in some sort of twisted popularity contest. Now, as adults, it’s even worse.

Men are under the gun to perform; but there’s not enough Viagra in the world to compensate for the misery men endure in the days leading up to V-Day. One misstep and sleeping on the couch could be the least of your problems.

Women have devised a complicated and tortuous method for decoding every aspect of the attention they receive on Valentine’s Day. Flowers rate high, but roses rate highest. As for delivery, for sheer wow factor, she wants them at the office, preferably before 10 a.m. All the better for her colleagues to ooh and ah over all day long.

Restaurants are good, but pricey French ones are better. Candy doesn’t cut it anymore, unless there’s a square-cut platinum center. And jewelry is only a hands-down winner if it’s an engagement ring. Earrings and pendants may be fine for smug marrieds, but for singletons, giving jewelry of any kind is a dicey proposition if it doesn’t come with a proposal.

Poor men. They have to buy flowers, make reservations, suffer (or smile) through ordering from Victoria Secret’s catalogs, and learn the 4 Cs of diamonds inside and out. Woe to them if the evening isn’t splashy, expensive, romantic, or sexy enough. And besides, it’s never about impressing her — the object of your affection. It’s about impressing them – her friends, her coworkers, her roommate, her mother, her cousin in Little Rock.

My cynicism aside, like nearly every woman, I love to have a fuss made over me every now and then, and I admit, preferably more “now” than “then”. Fortunately, I’ve had a few February 14ths made sublimely lovely by men who pulled out all the stops.

One man spent hours concocting a handmade card that exploded with confetti the minute I pulled it open. Another waltzed me through snow-heavy, Boston city streets – giving me one whirlwind nuit blanche of romance on high, returning me to my apartment around 5 a.m., exhausted, but thoroughly in love.

Romantic memories, for sure. But let’s face it. The day, the night really, is a gazillion-dollar industry, mired in money-making and dollar-dropping, devoid of real sentiment, and hopelessly unromantic.

So, here’s a message to all the good men and women out there: Take back your romance.

Pull yourself up by your boot or bra straps and boycott buying for Valentine’s 2009.

Resist the commercial push, the guilt-driven purchase.

Instead, take that one person who makes your heart race and your brain buzz … take that person by the hand, and go outside.

Stand in the February chill, look up at the stars, then look your beloved straight in the eye. Take a moment. Breathe.

Then, bend your head toward his or hers and kiss like there’s no tomorrow and no yesterday. Kiss like the first time. One long, slow, deliriously serious, smashingly sensuous kiss. And don’t come up for air until that person knows, beyond any reasonable doubt, the promise and passion of your heart.

One kiss, that’s all it takes. Completely free. And as any good Visa commercial will tell you … completely priceless.

Posted on February 11th, 2009Comments RSS Feed
3 Responses to Valentine’s Day — real romance costs nothing!
  1. Hey MC,

    Thanks for the great blog. Allow me to share a personal story. Several years ago, my mother-in-law, Mrs. Andree Rose, died suddenly from complications of a heart condition. On Valentine’s Day.

    After experiencing that tragic event, the day of hearts and roses became something totally different for my husband and me. Instead of showering each other with trinkets and flowers, we now shower each other with love and gratitude for another day we have been given with each other.

    Love is glorious, and life is temporary. I am grateful to my mother-in-law for choosing Valentine’s Day to leave this world; the poignant reminder of what is truly important was the best gift in the world.

    PS. Happy Valentine’s Day. :) You are loved.

  2. Theresa, What a fabulous perspective on V-Day. I’m sorry for your loss, but equally grateful for what you gained. Thanks for sharing. MC

  3. “Resist the commercial push, the guilt-driven purchase.”

    Oh, I was going to send you flowers or something.. Nevermind.. Just know that I care..


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