For some, Valentine’s Day is just another blank square on the calendar, for others, it’s a special day to show appreciation for friends, children, parents and spouses. And for youngsters and oldsters, whose hormones are still raging, it may be a heart throbbing, love seeking adventure.
Love relationships can be tough: half end in divorce or break-ups. To the unattached, Valentine’s Day may be SAD (Singles Awareness Day), but as a wise wit once proclaimed, relationships are like fat people, most of them don’t work out. True love is like seeing ghosts, everybody talks about it, but few have actually seen it.
When beginning a relationship we all have different expectations. A woman marries a man expecting he’ll change, but he doesn’t. A man marries a woman expecting she won’t change, but she does. It is also said that to be happy with a man, a woman must understand him a lot and love him a little, but for a man to be happy with a woman, he must love her a lot but never try to understand her – ask Camelot's King Arthur – just ain’t gonna happen.
Anyway, what can you say about a holiday with Cupid at the helm, basically a short, weight-challenged kid coming at you with a weapon. Who knows when the gelatinous heaving, pulsing, bloody mass of muscle we call the heart morphed into the cute heart-shape dreamily doodled by teenage girls worldwide in the margins of their classroom notes. Some people are downright pragmatic about the frailty of love, like the teenage boy who had a pricey bracelet engraved, not with his sweetheart’s name, but instead with the generic “To my one and only love” so he could reuse it if the couple broke up. We’ve been hopeless romantics since 1537, the first St. Valentine’s Day. Every year 1,000 Valentine letters arrive in Verona, Italy addressed to Juliet of Shakespearean fame, as that was where she and Romeo suffered their ill fated, heart-breaking romance. On a brighter note, one 102-year-old Iowan couple still celebrated Valentine’s Day after 80 years of connubial bliss.
To the anti-Valentites among us who may wonder why anyone celebrates Feb. 14, ponder this: Any day which encourages caring and love for others is a good one, and we are role modeling for upcoming generations when we display acts of kindness and tenderness. Honoring relationships is important, as is honoring oneself, evidenced by the 15 percent of women who send flowers to themselves that day. Since females are famous for picking up the slack, relationship wise, it’s no wonder that women purchase 85 percent of gifts given on Valentine’s Day. Who receives the most gifts and cards? Teachers lead the crowd, followed by kids, moms, wives, sweethearts and pets.
But what do you do if you’re bored with the usual candy, flowers, dinner routine, and aren’t springing for the $10,000 diamond trinket? You can buy a pair of long distance Touch Lamps. If you are on Cape Cod and your sweetie is in Hong Kong, you only need to touch your lamp and theirs will light up halfway across the world. For a more organic approach, you can plant a love bean. It may not shoot a giant green stalk into the clouds and gain you a golden egg, but in a few days a tendril will appear, and the emerging sprout will display a tiny printed love message.
Another trendy gift is a set of longitude/latitude bracelets in leather or silver showing a location special to both, or a sentimental winner, a pair of necklaces with interlocking puzzle-piece pendants. But if you want a simple personal gift, get a red or white ceramic mug at the dollar store and write love messages on it with a Sharpie pen. Bake in the oven at 300 degrees for 30 minutes – done. Wash by hand.
For health foodies with a sweet tooth, give organic, non GMO, dairy- and gluten-free fair trade dark chocolate, loaded with protein, or take a different tack and romance your special person with candy-infused vodka. If you’ve got a bona-fide chocoholic on your list, $80 will buy a five-pound block o’chocolate. Maybe they’ll share.
Are you and your honey nostalgic types who love vintage items? You’ll score big time if you search eBay for unused Valentine cards from the '40s, '50s and '60s. You can purchase seven to 10 of them for under $20. One couple’s celebration involves trying to outdo each other by picking store-bought cards with the worst puns. They then eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by candlelight, on fine china, drinking red wine from teacups.
Being sweet to each other one day a year is not such a bad thing. If you’re alone after a failed relationship, take solace from these words: Never get jealous when you see your ex with someone else, remember we were taught to give our used toys to the less fortunate. To everybody else, gift yourself, gift others with good thoughts and gestures, and remember: If nothing else, Valentine’s Day means you can get candy 50 percent off the next day!