14 February 2010

Hallmark’s Favorite Holiday

February 14. A day that most men and women, whether they will admit it or not, dread. The dread starts early … in grade school ... when everyone passes out Valentine’s Day cards. You wait in anticipation to see if the little boy or girl you like will hand you a card asking you to be their Valentine – or dreading that the fat, stinky kid that NO ONE wants for a Valentine will be fixated on you and follow you around all day asking you to be his (or hers). [No offense to "fat, stinky kids", but you know what I'm saying and you know who that kid was from your childhood] Nowadays, I think parents avoid all this by buying Valentines for the entire class – but then again, why is THAT even necessary?

And it doesn’t get any better as you get older. In high school, I know guys (and girls) who wished that Valentine’s Day fell on the weekend so that the pressure of “so what did he get you?” or “what did you get her?” wouldn’t be the question you were asked 5 million times a day. I always felt bad for my guy friends because the pressure truly was on them to “get it right”. It couldn’t be too small a gesture because then “you don’t love me”, but it also couldn’t be too grandiose a thing because then “how am I supposed to get candy, flowers, the teddy bear and the balloons home on the bus and train?” (Hey, I went to high school in NYC – most kids didn’t have cars or drive to school!)

College: the horror of the Valentines Day dance. Who is going to ask you? And if the first guy that asks you really isn't the guy that you want to ask you - do you say "no" hoping that the guy you want to ask you will - and risk the chance that NO ONE ELSE will ask you and then you'll have to wander around campus the night of the banquet, lost and forlorn. OR worse, how 'bout being the guy who has to ask the girl of his dreams of right now to the banquet, only to be shot down cause he ain't the guy of her dreams? Too much pressure, I tell you.

Fast forward to adulthood and working in corporate America. If you are single and of a certain age, the torture of seeing all the flowers delivered to the married, engaged or “in a relationship” women to the office is indescribable. Everyone wants to show off their flowers and chocolates while giving you the look of pity because you didn’t get any. Or “worse”, all you get is the carnations that the little flower vendor sells for $1 in the lobby of your office building that your other single girlfriends send you so you have a flower (or two) on your desk. But God help you, if you are a woman involved with a guy who either refuses to play the Valentine’s Day game – or who breaks up with you right before the “holiday” so that he doesn’t have to go through the motions. (And don’t play, some of you guys know EXACTLY what I’m talking about!) There are more breakups in relationships in the early part of February than any other time of the year.

It’s just too much pressure for one, arbitrarily picked day of the year, if you ask me. (And yes, I know the history that Feb 14 was the birthday of St. Valentine for whom the holiday is name, but you get my point) Here’s my philosophy – and I have been told I “think like a man” in this regard: If you LOVE me, show me 365 days a year (366 in leap years). Don’t show it ONLY on February 14th because that is the day that Hallmark decided was the day you should show love. Randomly send me flowers on April 20th when I am not expecting to get flowers. (and guys: here’s a tip: roses aren’t the only flower out there – be creative and adventurous: tulips, lilies, bird of paradise, even sunflowers are nice and sweet (and cheaper usually)). Send a card expressing your love and desire that we stay together forever on July 9th. And teddy bears: they are good ANY day of the year in my book. That would mean so much more (to me) than the “forced” outpouring in mid-February. But then I admit, I’m a little bit different than most women.

On a side note, today would have been my grandfather’s 91st birthday. I asked him once how he felt about always having to give the women in his life gifts on HIS birthday. After all, your birthday is supposed to be the one day in the year when the focus is on YOU – yet, that NEVER happened to him. It was always about the women in his life: his momma, Ma Beaulah, and my grandmother, Miss T, and then later: ME! (hahaha) He just laughed quietly and said, “Ah sweetie-face (yes, that was his nickname for me), it’s my joy to show my love to all of you. It never phased me at all.” What a sweet sweet man.

Have a happy Valentine’s Day. Happy Anniversary to those of you celebrating such an event today. I encourage you to show love to those you love. But when the sun sets, and the day is over, continue to show the love. That’s all I’m saying.

Be blessed.

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