Thursday, February 14, 2008


I was listening to a man on the radio tell everyone that he and his wife don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. In fact, his wife’s unwillingness to participate in the tradition was one of the things that made him fall in love with her. The man, by the way, was discussing his new anthology of love stories. It’s no surprise that the love stories in this new book were more about disappointment and dysfunction rather than the more pedestrian love conquers all variety.

The guy said Valentine’s Day commoditized something that is better expressed spontaneously and in a more private way.

There was a small part of my brain that agreed with him. But the majority of my head and heart told me that his view is deeply flawed. After all, when asked if he is romantic he said he thought he was “too old” for it. He mentioned something about being a husband and a father and that he evolved into a “familial romantic”.

What the heck does that mean?

I thought I should feel sorry for him but I didn’t; I don’t. He’s smart enough to know that any chance to remind your sweetheart he or she is the apple of your eye is a good thing. If you don’t take advantage of it simply because you feel commercially goaded into it then you’re way too self-conscious for your own good. You’re missing out.

I’ve always looked at Valentine’s Day as being like a wedding reception when people clink on their stemware until the bride and groom kiss. The newlyweds always make a face like oh brother, not again but they kiss. And everyone in the room knows the chance to demonstrate their love for each other is always something magical. This it true regardless of how many times it may be someone else’s idea to cue them to do it.

Every February 14 I hear glasses clinking.

So screw “familial romanticism”. One day, after the kids are gone I know I’ll still want to celebrate the fact that I have the hots for my wife. And if I don’t, I’ll figure out why and work very hard to fix it. And while we’re at it; screw eschewing Valentine’s Day.

This morning my wife and I exchanged gifts. We held our breath while we kissed (I hadn’t brushed yet). We honeyed our voices and wished each other a happy Valentine’s Day.

It may have not been the peak of our shared romantic experience but however commercialized or pre-packaged it may have seemed - it was still another chance to remind Debbie that I love her.

I wouldn’t miss that for anything.

Can you hear it?



Deb said...

I love you too, sweetie, though I am somewhat regretting buying you something for Valentine's Day that had so much garlic in it.

bon bon said...

what a sweet post! Deb's a lucky gal, she is!

i heard that story on npr too. and i basically agreed with him until he got to the "no longer romantic" part. romance itself should have no age limits! my first marriage was on valentine's day, so that ship has sunk. spontaneity is where it's at and i refuse to let hallmark tell me otherwise.