(I wrote this piece a number of years ago…and thought it worth sharing here.)
The flowers are wilted. The chocolate is devoured. The lingerie is put back in the drawer. The credit card bill for dinner has not yet arrived. These are the days of Valentine’s Aftermath.
We can all breathe a sigh of relief now that the red-hearted day is done. No more pressure to buy your loved one the right gift or to score impossible reservations at the finest restaurant. No more florist price gouging on long stemmed red roses. No more guys sweating out the 24 hours where they have to look googly-eyed and profess their undying love. That’s all gone now. Everyone can resume their normal relationship temperaments filled with banal chatter and petty arguments.
For those in love, that’s great. I hope you had a love-ly day filled with dreamy wine and roses. For those not in love, I hope you got through it relatively unscathed. I hope you wore black or blue or any color other than red. I hope you drank a whole bottle of wine by yourself and enjoyed every last drop. I hope you enjoyed pizza with friends or lay upon the couch cuddling your 12-year-old cat.
No matter what you did (or didn’t do) there is a wake that spills forth from Valentine’s Day. Those ladies-in-waiting who never got the engagement ring they were hoping for are probably more than a little annoyed. Those guys who were expecting to get some nighttime action from their wives and didn’t are most likely a little bit more tense than normal. Those who celebrated Cupid’s folly are most definetly a lot more in debt. I experienced the Valentine’s Day wake first hand as I passed one woman screaming into her cell phone on Fifth Avenue, proclaiming for all to hear, “You are the worst boyfriend ever!” No magic love for them that night, I suppose.
It’s not that I’m down on Valentine’s Day, I’m not. I actually got engaged on V-Day, over a romantic dinner in New Orleans. It was a great day that I will never forget. But years later, with the marriage and kids and mortgage in full swing, it’s a bit tough to muster up the same passionate glow we had that warm February night years ago. Love is a wonderful thing to celebrate in all its forms but not only on a manufactured holiday designed to sell greeting cards. I would hope that we are all a little more advanced than that.
Love, and the expression of love, is a bit more complicated than roses and chocolate. Those are temporary sweets designed to dazzle and woo, but when they are gone, we are left to carry on the burning torch, hoping we don’t singe our arm hairs. We have allowed Valentine’s Day to serve as a reminder of the presence or absence of romantic love in our lives – to separate us in the have and the have-nots. Cupid’s arrow can leave a mighty sting.
In the wake of Valentine’s Day, let’s remain steady and surf our way through the rest of the year in love with our selves and our lives without the over-hyped visual aids. Let’s make the other 364 days of the year about real love that doesn’t come in an envelope or a vase and has nothing to do with the purchasing power of VISA. Let’s remember that Valentine’s Day, although pleasant, is just another day of the year.