Donna Tavano: February Perks

The doldrums of February (most misspelled month of the year) are upon us. A cold, grey dampness permeates our mood. The uninspiring weather is punctuated only by the occasional bombogenesis which inevitably leaves us pondering 18 inches of a disturbing white powder that saps us of energy and breaks the strongest snow shovels available. Yes, we made it through the holidays intact, but now we’re broke. By now we’ve made peace with our failed New Year resolutions and slog forth, hoping and needing a shot in the arm, which we get, but it’s for the flu. The only hope on the horizon is a new month. February drags itself in.

It knows we resent it, yet must muster through the infernal thing. Every four years it leaps, giving long overdue birthdays to those poor folks who’ve been shortchanged. It attempts to lure us in with Groundhog Day, a celebration which is only exciting if you are partying it up in Punxatawney with the 10,000 other despondents escaping their own doldrums. February does offer us the Westminister Kennel Club Show, with its sassy display of all manner of pups from Yorkies to Danes, and the Daytona 500, and the start of baseball spring training, but what else? This year we have the Winter Olympics, if you like that sort of thing, and Mardi Gras, which we only get for one night, not the weeks of New Orleans madness, both great opportunities for FeBREWary soirees. However, the elephant in the room remains silent, a pulsing, beating rage of passion and heartbreak, boldly occupying the middle of the second month. We know it as Valentine’s Day, which, this year, shares a spotlight with Ash Wednesday. Ironically, on this day, the burning heart of love will leave many romantic hopefuls in the ashes.

There is no escape. Love it or hate it, married, coupled or single, while innocently perusing the drugstore aisle, searching for a birthday card, the assault will begin. We will be surrounded by hundreds of throbbing hearts, satin candy boxes, and pink decorated oh- so-cute stuffies. In England, they banned Valentine cards at a primary school because the process might cause “emotional trauma.” Pleeease, of course it will cause trauma – that’s what love does! Those little Brits might as well learn to give life a go, even at those tender ages. VALENTINE ALERT for new boyfriend types: a card is nice, but you’d better think twice about cheaping out on your very first bout! Studies indicate aromas and scents are arousing, but don’t go spending the cost of a tank of gas on exotic perfume. Research suggests that women love baby powder, and Good and Plenty and cucumber. Men go gaga for doughnuts and licorice…I got nothin’, you’re on your own with that one.

The least romantic expression of love was a greeting spoken in Klingon, “qaparha.” Unless his heartthrob was a Star Trek buff, I’m sure the next expression was “23 skidoo” to you. Then there was the girl who had her boyfriend’s nickname tattooed on her stomach. All was well until she was told the word was actually “supermarket.” Never get something tattooed in a language you don’t speak. Please refrain from gifting your love with puppies, kittens or love birds which match the living room décor (unless specifically requested and anticipated). Such spontaneous offerings usually create disaster, as well as pee stains on the carpet.

For those seeking a special person, the world of apps is rife with opportunity. Bumble, Cuddli, Klique, Badoo and Hater allow you to meet others with similar interests; if you’re a geek or Marvel fan you can canoodle with a lover of caped crusaders. Want to date a celeb look alike? There’s an app for that. Let your friends find matches they think would work – kind of like the old arranged marriage days, but without the dowry. You can meet people who go to places you frequent, coffee shop, dry cleaners, therapist? There’s even one for haters, hate The Bachelor, a politician, cilantro? Hook up with someone who feels your pain.

For the couples who’ve survived years of Valentine cards, candy, sick children, fine and not so fine jewelry, I submit my personal favorites: a warm bath, drawn for me, flickering candle lighting the room, a warmed (in the dryer) nightgown on a chilly evening, a smile instead of curses when I again spatter paint without using a drop cloth, his willingness to enter a cold/dark/summer traffic night to satisfy my yen for wine, a magazine, pizza – just because.

So you lovers, would be lovers or even haters, maybe February need not be the bugaboo we so often consider it, if it brings forth a day to celebrate a relationship which comforts, caresses and cares. To all who remain single through choice or fate, be as kind to yourself as you would be to another. And if in this dreary month we feel the need to assist cupid, maybe we could match up Punxatawney Phil and his Massachusetts counterpart, Ms. G. for a future furry, fun frolic.