Thursday, February 7, 2008

V-Day or D-Day?

Valentine's Day is stupid. It's like this manipulative thing that either makes us think that we need to spend money on or receive a) dumb, useless gifts such as a teddy bear holding a heart or flowers that will die and then start rotting and stinking up our houses until we finally get off of our lazy asses to throw them out or b) lots and lots of liquor to drown away our sorrows because we don't have anyone to buy for or receive from these dumb, useless gifts. It is a contrived monster, a monster draped in cupid's clothing that feeds on dollar bills. Our dollar bills. It is the evil spawn of Hallmark and Things Remembered, or maybe Zales. Hallmark's not entirely sure who the father is. Hallmark is a whore. Every trinket, fruit stinking candle, overpriced Willow Tree figurine being shilled in that store is a waste of your hard-earned money and you know it. But for some reason, we all go back. We walk by the window on our way to pick up our new specs at the Glasses Galore and the Hallmark draws us in with her wiles like the prostitute she is, as if we were in the Red light district instead of the Newtown shopping center, with her perfectly adorable Vera Bradley purses placed oh so strategically at the front of the store. You know you want one. You have 3 at home, but you need another. And then she has you.

I mean, I know it's just a card store in theory but come on. It's turned into so much more than that. That's like saying Cinnabon is just a bakery. Hopefully you all know the truth about that, namely, that Cinnabon is selling obesity and heart disease in the guise of cinnamon doughy deliciousness for $3.29. There is so much unnecessary garbage being purchased in that Hallmark store and others like it for the sake of a holiday that has no real meaning other than to make you think you aren't a loveable person if you don't have someone to open their wallet and spill out all the contents on the counter for a stuffed animal and fancy chocolates. Getting a stuffed bunny rabbit that dances and sings a corny 70's love song does not mean you are loved. It means your partner doesn't know you well enough to realize that you'd much rather have him do the laundry or watch the baby while you get a night out to yourself than get a trinket or toy you'll never look at again. Plus there's something so unnatural and creepy about a plush toy that animates.

God, I know that now I'm sounding ungrateful. But I'm really not. I just think that even diamonds are over-rated. You know that commercial where the guy buys his wife the diamond "journey" necklace that every jewelry store is suddenly marketing incessantly? Well when he slips it onto her neck while she is sleeping and this wakes her up and then puts on this act like he's still asleep, it really doesn't make me feel all sweet and squishy inside at all. I keep thinking that the woman would probably rather sleep in late for one day of her whole fucking life than be woken up to get a necklace that early in the morning. Couldn't he have waited until noon to give it to her when she at least had the chance to…I don't know…brush her teeth? Get her bearings for what will surely be a busy day? And you know that guy just lazed around the house all day, all smug and shit about the fact that he got her a JOURNEY necklace. I'm sure he was thinking "my work is done here". And I'm sure that she wore the necklace all the live long day, probably through making breakfast, getting the kids fed, changing the kitty litter, folding the wash, while he sat his ass on the couch watching some sort of sporting event. Being married to that guy must be exhausting.

I hate jewelry commercials almost as much as I hate the Holocaust. And I know you think it's clever, Jodi, but the more I hear the slogan "Every Kiss begins with Kay" the more I realize how completely, irrationally egocentric it is. But now back to our favorite harlot of a card store, Hallmark. Upon entering the store your nose is assaulted by the scent of a thousand Yankee candles. I'm not really complaining here. (The only place I like the smell better is a Home Depot. I love the aroma of freshly cut lumber for some reason). One unnerving thing about this place is that when I go in there to just buy a birthday card and some wrapping paper they ask me if I want to join some sort of Hallmark club or something. I'm like, umm lady, I just bought a couple of things for my friend's birthday, and I'm not looking to get involved in a "card buying group", per se. Apparently there is some sort of membership card and discount "rewards" involved should you join. And who knows what sort of things you have to do to maintain membership. Like I said, Hallmark's a whore. There ain't anything for free. I don't trust Hallmark, so I'm always like "NO" before they can even finish asking the question. When they ask you, what will YOU say?

Anyway, Valentine's Day isn't ALL bad. I'll admit it was sort of rude of me to call it a monster. There's something adorable about those little candy hearts with the alluring messages, even if they always taste stale enough to have been made when the original St. Valentine was still alive. I remember waiting anxiously 9th period in high school while they passed out the Valentine carnations, and always got a few. From my girlfriends. I also remember the first Valentine's Day I spent with Todd. He bought me these beautiful Armani sunglasses. I admit I sort of loved them. But what I loved even more is that we went snowboarding that evening and I made a complete fool of myself falling off the lift. We laughed together about it and he didn't make feel like an idiot even though he should have. I realized, then, that I could fall in love with this guy. We shared the most romantic kiss when the lift was high and we were high after having smoked pot on the mountain. We were shivering cold and we snuggled close to get warm and then…a kiss so hot I couldn't even feel the icy air. That wasn't about Valentine's Day, though. That was two people on the brink of falling in love. That it happened on Valentine's Day was a coincidence I'm sure, because you can't manufacture romance, no matter how hard you try.

Oddly enough some of my best memories of Valentine's Day actually occurred when I was single. A few of my single friends and I used to get together to eat at a diner for our "Lonely Hearts Club" Valentine's dinner, to ease the pain of being alone, yet again, on this fake holiday. And you know what? We weren't alone. We were surrounded by love, just in a different way than we thought we wanted.

I still have fun on Valentine's Day, when I have the opportunity to even enjoy the day, but I just don't take it too seriously. I love my husband. I want to celebrate that love in little ways every day, not just when I'm told its now the time. It's not that I always do. It's just that I want to. Even if it's just a sexy text message or an extra long kiss when he empties the dishwasher, or his favorite dinner waiting for him after a difficult day. And he, too, gives me so many gifts of action every day. Especially now, with all I've been through. With all we've been through. The first time he saw me, when he looked at me naked, scarred and breastless, he didn't even blink an eye. He just kept, and keeps, insisting, "You are beautiful. You are beautiful." What better gift could I ever get than that? I guarantee Hallmark doesn't have unconditional love in stock, and never will. So Happy Stupid Valentine's Day to everyone I love. You know who you are.

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