February is a milepost month no matter your age. It marks the end of January (a completely unnecessary month, in my opinion), and ushers in a season of fancy candy, teddy bears, and the excuse for Hallmark to manufacture over 9,000 different styles of Valentine Day cards. Are there really that many ways to say ‘I love you’?
To say the season of amore begins the first of the second month is a bit misleading. I clearly remember seeing a cacophony of pink hearts filling the store aisles by approximately 12:01am December 26th. Santa had hardly settled in back at the North Pole before he was replaced by Cupid. But that’s the nature of the [retail]beast and we’ll happily chomp through chocolates while snatching up discount Christmas decorations. And the pink candy is soon joined by the yellow candy! How any one keeps their New Year Resolution to lose weight when Cadbury Eggs are available for the taking, I’ll never know, but I digress.
As I said, February is a milestone month for all ages: School kids exchange cute Valentines en masse. Teenage boys overcome their self conscious, acne prone, sweaty selves and pluck up the courage to send a carnation to the pretty girl in math class. High school couples make mixed CD’s and frequent the chain restaurants that fancy up for the night with their “Romantic Dinner for Two” specials. Young adults send roses and giant stuffed animals, balloons, sappy cards, over-priced jewelry, and anything else that may impress the opposite sex. Older married couples, more secure and mature in their relationship, will go for sensible tennis bracelet or a set of cuff links, maybe a nice dinner out and a movie if the babysitter can work late. And those in their golden years are, in fact, golden, because they are content to simply enjoy and appreciate the others’ continued presence in their life.
In the end, it’s not your age that makes the biggest difference on February 14th, however, it’s your relationship status. (And this brings a resounding “duh” from the readers. Sometimes you just have to state the obvious, though.)
To put it bluntly, being single on V-day can suck. It can really, really suck. Nothing is more demoralizing than sitting in an office and watching a parade of over-scented bouquets file past your cubical. And that’s followed by the squeals of delight and the “oohs” and “ahhs” as the card is read and shown to anyone caught looking in that general direction. No work gets done on V-day. The recipients are too busy gushing over their wonderful men with each other, and you’re too busy consoling yourself through that box of assorted chocolates to care about job performance.
Several years ago, I began the tradition of wearing black on this day. It was a handy trick because it quickly built a defensive wall between myself and friends/coworkers who wanted to talk only of the roses they received that morning and the romantic champagne dinner planned that evening. It saved me the trouble of feigning interest and hiding the green-eyed monster trying to take control of my body. I often felt like the Incredible Hulk. I liked to think the black clothes sent the message that I didn’t care about this particular holiday, that I was too confident and secure to get worked up over frivolous nonsense.
Suffice it to say, my relationship with V-day wasn’t a good one, and I suspect that Hallmark will not be knocking at my door in the near future to hire me as a writer. Unless, of course, they start making Valentines for all us singles out there.
“Ah-ha!” If I were a cartoon, a light bulb would have just lit up over top my head. Who says that Cupid’s holiday has to be confined to people in love? Greeting card companies and retail super stores who operate under the presumption that only people in relationships deserve flowers, jewelry, or candy? Just because you’re single on this particular day, this twenty-four hour stretch of time, why should you be delegated to the “loser” wall of a Middle School dance?
If you’re in between relationships, searching for Mr. Right, or have sworn off love altogether, I leave you with this challenge: Embrace V-Day. Wear something fun and flirty to work. Proudly buy yourself a box of chocolates and savor every single bite. Pick out your own assortment of flowery buds and delight in their sweet aroma. Tell Cupid to keep his arrow. You don’t need a shot in the butt to be happy on February 14th 2011.