For Those Who Both Love and Hate Feb. 14

Nothing says Valentine’s Day like…

Valentine’s Day is just one week from Thursday. Are you a Lover, inviting this day and all its mushiness? Or are you Jamie Foxx in “Valentine’s Day” – “I am a player. But I shut down my player-ness from New Year’s to St. Patrick’s Day, just to avoid this day.”

I am in between. I am in love, but I get bothered by the bigger-every-year obligatory giving. I know I’m a girl and I am supposed to be completely into Valentine’s Day, but I’m not. For the standard reason: “I prefer to be loved every other day of the year, not just a day he’s told he has to love me.”

Well, FYI: He’s not told he has to love you on February 14th. He’s told he has to buy on Valentine’s Day.

A. Load. Of. Crap. (In case you were wondering how I really feel about it). Just like New Year’s Eve, Feb. 14th presents unreasonably high expectations. Unnecessary expectations. My feelings for this holiday are not political; they’re practical. Flowers cost more, candy isn’t as fresh, etc.

Yes, the history of Valentine’s Day tells a wonderful tale of a man who so believed in love that he married couples against some king’s rules. Romantic, yes. But that history is largely tainted by the expectations placed mainly (and quite unfairly) on men.

I like the way they do it in Japan. Feb 14th – the woman serves the man. She makes a big deal about him, gets him chocolates, makes him dinner, etc. Whatever shows him, “I love you”. Then on March 14th, it’s the guy’s turn. They shower the woman with affection. I wasn’t in Japan on 3/14, but on 2/14, it was the only day – the ONLY day – I saw dozens of couples holding hands. PDA is not the norm there. And so, Feb. 14th and March 14th actually do hold water, and there are reasonable expectations placed on both sexes.

I’m at the bottom of Niagara Falls here, screaming for the water to go back up. This argument has been made ad nauseam, but nothing changes. Maybe someday it will. Maybe someday it’ll go back to $1 store Valentines and sweet classroom parties and little cards from our grandparents. I still remember getting one from my grandma when I was 9 or 10; I kept it for years. It had a big red heart on the inside and my gram had written in tiny letters at the base of it, “I love you from the bottom of my heart.” That’s what Valentine’s Day will always be to me. (See, I can be mushy-gushy. I’m not completely cynical).

Since I’m fighting a losing battle here, I thought I’d offer those of you who do exchange Valentine’s Day gifts some crazy ideas for Valentine’s Day presents. You can’t make this stuff up…

Cufflinks made from old baseball stadium seats: (Yankee stadium is available, and is NOT the most expensive! Go us!)

Name a cockroach (yes, a hissing cockroach) after your loved one. Won’t she be tickled?

Heart-print Toilet paper: (Insert clever tagline here)

Nothing. Literally translated, an empty bag. The Gift of Nothing:

World’s Largest Gummy Bear: – Actually – this one is kind of cute. Who wouldn’t love a giant gelatin for Valentine’s Day? And it’s in the shape of a hugging bear. Can’t go wrong there…)

Some of you will do super cute things, all in the name of love. And that is totally fine, because you are genuine and follow through on sweet nothings the rest of the year. Some of you do even cuter things for your kids, and I think that’s perfectly acceptable. (Like my crafty friend Heidi at TyBro Mama who does it up for every holiday). A child’s first love is his/her home, so (s)he should know how totally and completely (s)he is loved by mom & dad, grandma & grandpa, brothers & sisters.

Just remember – You can do with this “holiday” what you want… hissing cockroaches and all.

You tell me:

What is your dream Valentine’s Day gift (crazy or not)?


  1. Funny, Elisa…and very good. John and I are not known for celebrating “on the day”, and that not only includes Valentine’s Day, but birthdays, anniversaries (the year we went to Hawaii, we went 7 months late), and occasionally even Christmas. I have a stack of Valentine’s (and Father’s Day) cards that I bought, then forgot to give John on “the day”, then never got around to giving him, because it seemed stupid to give it later 🙂 On the other hand, we will be married 36 years in March, and we plan to celebrate 36 our 36 years of marriage/commitment/love 36 times this coming year, in big and small ways. So, we do know how to express our love.

  2. Elisa, as always I love your post. I am like you I am not big on Valentine’s Day and even more New Year’s Eve. But if I had to pick what I would want to do on Valentine’s Day is just to spend quality time with friends. Dinner and games all the way. I think the best gift ever is spending quality time with people. There is nothing better than great conversation and laughter.

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