Today is Valentine’s Day – for those of you who don’t receive my columns as a subscription, it will have been that yesterday. Anyhow. What does Valentine’s Day mean to us? As givers and as receivers? As experiencers or as bystanders?
First of all, Valentine’s Day is a gift for any business that can make appropriate offers. Especially the decorative, greeting card, flower, candy & chocolate, and jewelry industry as well as the restaurant business experience a heyday in the weeks ahead. That is the reason why they redecorate hardly that Christmas is over. To entice as many purchases as possible. As to restaurants, they will come up with special deals for two or special menus, and they will feel exhausted by the end of Valentine’s Day because of the customer influx.
This year, my husband has to work extra-long hours on Valentine’s day, although he is in neither industry. And I just pointed out how lucky he is that I don’t expect any gifts or being taken out. To be honest, there are days when I prefer NOT to be taken out at all. Valentine’s Days is certainly one of them. And not just because I have been reading somewhere that this is when restaurant kitchens are allegedly pushing out an inferior quality of food than usually because of the amounts they have to handle. We HAVE been dining out a couple of times, and the food WAS good. What I don’t like are the lines –the one I have to wait in as well as the one I feel piercing my back with stabbing looks as to why I can’t eat up faster so it’s their turn. If a meal is all about romantics, it should be in a cozy setting with lots of time on hand, no pressure, all intimacy. That being said: Indeed, I’ve come up with a special menu for two at a nicely set table … at home.
Come to think of it, guys, I feel your pressure! No woman ever is expected to drop to her knees and present her loved one with a special token aka a rock on Valentine’s Day. How many of you have ever felt they were expected to buy the ring and do the thing? And how many of you, ladies, had secretly expected him to do this? Did he deliver? If not, did your relationship last? Here is another one of the reasons why I don’t buy into Valentine’s Day: I don’t go with the flow. I don’t want to be treated in a specific way just because the calendar challenges us with the name day of an ancient saint. Or because the radio announces that we “now have a friend in the diamond business”. On another note, I was handed my diamond ring on an early April Day over a decade ago, long after we had decided to make it a life together … on a warm, rainy July night.
Chocolates, flowers, candy, gas-filled balloons? I’m not a fiend for sweets. Where is the cheese industry with their heart-shaped cheese assortments, by the way?! Where are the heart-shaped savory mini-pies for people like me?! As to flowers … I rather give them on this day than get any, for whatever reason. And as to balloons – please, spare me and save nature. We keep fishing out ever so many deflated balloons out of the Sound each and every year.
Oh my, what a bah-humbug-sayer, you must think! No, I’m not. Indeed, I am totally romantic (see the dinner solution above), and I love giving (and receiving) gifts of love. But they don’t have to be pink or heart-shaped or costly.
The other day my husband simply accompanied me to a book launch – that’s a gift of time and consideration. He helps marketing me in the most surprising ways. He stands up for me when I swallowed down some toad I have been presented with (it happens). He shows me that my presence is wished for. He makes me laugh. He takes me out. He brings me gifts from his travels. He shares his thoughts and his visions with me.
In other words – Valentine’s Day ought to celebrate Love and not turn it into an obligation. My Valentine’s Day is not just February 14 but lasts an entire year, year after year. In a paced, steady way, not in one overwhelmingly crowded day. And that’s what to me the essence of Love is: Enjoy the delicacy as long as possible, don’t swallow it down in one big gulp.