Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Second Article

Valentine’s Day is for Suckers
I am thirty years old and just now realizing that Valentine’s Day is going to be a disappointment every year no matter what. This realization has been at least twenty-five years in the making. You see, like most women my age, my notion of romantic love was heavily influenced by soap operas and MTV. So I grew up believing that either a) a handsome super hero would fall in love with me, step right out of my comic book, save me from an evil villain, then spend twenty minutes beating himself against the wall so he could become a real human and live with me forever; or, b) a burly, rebellious, dark-haired man named either Beau or Roman would rescue me from a loveless marriage and we would ride into the sunset on his Harley (me in my enormous wedding dress, him in his leather jacket). So you can see that Valentine’s Day for me was doomed from the beginning.
Even in grade school, when everyone gives a Valentine to everyone, I found disappointment. You see I always thought there might be a secret message on a Valentine, just for me. Or I imagined that the message “I choo-choo-choose you” on the card from my secret crush was really TRUE. He never did choo-choo-choose me. And my heart was always broken.
But it got worse as I entered junior high and high school, where bouncy, popular, and woefully clueless members of the student council always thought it was a good idea to sell carnations and deliver them to students during class. Guess who never got a carnation? Guess who didn’t get matched with her high school love when the student council conducted a love-match test? And guess whose best friend got matched with her true love instead? That’s right: me. And all because I said that I’d rather be a TV than a refrigerator on the “which appliance would you rather be” question. I wasn’t thinking straight! Don’t worry: I will never let my love for TV get in the way of my love for food again.
Even in college, when I had actual boyfriends, Valentine’s Day was a bust. Boyfriends make Valentine’s Day worse, because they actually give you a glimmer of hope. They set up expectations, then break up with you two weeks before the big day. Then all day long on February 14th you expect a grand romantic gesture from him in the form of a dozen roses and to the tune of “I can’t live without you! I made a huge mistake!” Well, that never happens, my friends. Trust me.
So after going through all this Valentine’s Day expectation and disappointment, I was positive that I’d get married and never be sad on Valentine’s Day again. That was a wrong assumption, too. If boyfriends make Valentine’s Day worse, then husbands make it intolerable. I’m sure there are exceptions to this rule—maybe your husband grew up watching “Days of Our Lives” too—but I don’t know any, personally. My husband’s idea of romance is His and Hers Carhartt overalls, bless his heart! He’s nothing if not practical, which is why I cho-cho-chose him. And I am glad I set aside my soap-opera notion of love to make a proper choice in a husband. Still, flowers and candy on Valentine’s Day from the man you married would be nice, since, according to television and movies, everyone else is getting them. And since when have television and movies steered us wrong?
Finally, last year I threw up my hands, crying “no more Valentine’s Day presents! We’re not celebrating it ever again!” I think my husband was relieved. And I thought I was, too. And yet it’s almost Valentine’s Day, and this little piece of me is still looking for some flowers and candy. It’s truly an insidious holiday, created to make ninety percent of women feel bad about themselves. It’s worse than unrealistic, airbrushed pictures of celebrities and models in Cosmo.
So I have taken matters into my own hands, and declared February to be “Chocolate Month.” I may not get flowers and candy, or jewelry, or any other cliché Valentines Day present from my husband, but I can work hard to keep my candy bowl stocked with fancy chocolate all month long. At least I know I can count on me to give myself chocolate. I hope all you ladies out there will join me. Happy Valentine’s Day!


  1. Yes, it should be said that my husband did buy me a Wii for our anniversary, which falls three days after Valentines Day. This article took some creative license, which Mike approved of.

  2. His and her Carharts?! That sounds vaguely familiar...Let's hear it for chocolate month sista!!

  3. Wiis are fun. I found I could actually bowl a decent score on a Wii. Too bad you have Valentine's Day and your anniversary 3 days apart. Good planning is to have every holiday (the gift kind) all over the calendar.

  4. And you need to start posting your fan letters from the paper too.

  5. Funny that we actually knew a Beau in high school, though the antithesis of what you described.(sorry, Beau.)

    I never got a carnation either. I don't like carnations anyway.

    Here, here to chocolate day.

  6. I have strong feelings about Valentine's Day as well. After working in the floral industry for so many years and seeing how cheap men can be, I abhor Valentine's Day and forbid us from celebrating it. We usually have a special night out a few weeks later. I guess I will have to lighten up as the kids get older and turn it into family love day!

  7. Katy,
    No offense taken. I might have dark hair, but no Harley, no leather jacket, and no bad-assedness either.
    It's good you didn't choose the refrigerator though...because a woman is like a fridge. 6 ft tall, 300 lbs, holds...stuff.
    Oh and if you want a more in depth review, I've done it on my blog, but Carly, you'll LOVE No Line on the Horizon!

  8. It's great to read your articles, Carly. You are one good writer. I'm glad you posted them on your blog. Keep 'em coming.

  9. I decided that Valentine's Day was a fake holiday years ago. The only people that are happy on V-Day are the sellers of candy and flowers. If my husband has to have a special day set aside to show me that he loves me, there is something seriously wrong with our marriage!
    I'm done with the rant, and now would like to request that you keep posting your articles. We are so proud of you (or the fact that we can brag about having an author in our family.)

  10. I know this is a little late but I wonder if the fact that your husband grew up without TV might be the thing that adds to this lack luster "holiday"?