Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The best part about Valentine's Day is... the day after

Anyone who knows me knows I'm not a fan of Valentine's Day. In fact, if there is any redeeming quality at all for this 24-hour pseudo-lovefest, it's scavenging the 50% off chocolates at CVS the next day. Not the crappy cheap Palmer stuff that tastes like chocolate-flavored laxatives. The good stuff - like those yummy Dove chocolates that if you pop in your mouth quick enough you forget they're heart shaped.

It's not that I had some traumatic childhood experience with Valentine's Day - or maybe I did and I've just blocked it out. OMG, maybe I have PVDSD - Post Valentines Day Stress Disorder. I'd better add that to the ever-growing list of "issues to talk to my next therapist about".

I remember doing the Valentine's Day thing in grade school. It was no big deal - pretty much the same, lame 2" x 3" flimsy paper valentines with a lollipop attached and some witty prose like, "I'm a sucker for you, Valentine!" I'm no idiot. I was the sucker, Bobby Kirk. You were totally two-timing me in 6th grade. Don't think I didn't know about it - I just let it happen.

I think I actually got my first real valentine in 8th grade - a heart-shaped box of candy. Like a big, heart-shaped box. I remember thinking, "I didn't even know these were real!" I recalled seeing them in the movies, or on TV commercials. I didn't really ever think people could go out and purchase these ginormous, shiny foil and lace heart-shaped boxes of chocolates. And I totally scored one. I don't remember anything about the chocolates, but I kept that box for a long time.

My girlfriend and I were talking today about how we loathed this day back in high school. It would start a couple of weeks ahead of time - the annual "buy carnations for the most popular girls in the school so all the rest of them can feel like losers" flower drive. Maybe that's why I don't really like to get flowers all that much.

That sounds weird, right? I mean, who doesn't like to get flowers? They're pretty, they smell nice, and if delivered to your office, make you the envy of every other female in the joint.

Lasagna also smells nice.

See, again, this is where the PTSD may figure in. Looking back, the only time I seemed to receive flowers was as a direct result of someone screwing up. Apology flowers. I'm sorry flowers. I'm sad take me back flowers. Not happy, you're-way-more-beautiful-than-these-dozen-roses-flowers, but sad, every-time-you-look-at-these-you'll-remember-what-I-did-but-I'm-sorry-flowers.

So now, flowers kind of make me nervous, even if they're given with the most thoughtful intent. I see them and I cringe. What's he hiding? What's he making up for? What did he DO? And to receive them on Valentine's Day (yes, this sounds very jaded and callous) means "Crap. It's Valentine's Day and I'm being sucked in by commercialism and the $18.88 dozen roses at Kroger."

If I am with you on Valentine's Day, I don't need flowers or candy. But I might need a lift on March 23rd. A sweet surprise may make my day on April 17th. And I could possibly need a reminder that you're thinking of me on May 11. That can be a thoughtful text in the middle of the day, a surprise date on a Saturday night or a glass of wine waiting at the end of a long day. Sometimes, I think that might be harder than following the masses to Wal-Mart on your way home from work on February 14.

But don't get me wrong. If you do the Valentine's Day thing and it works for you, then by all means - go for it. As usual, I'm in the disenchanted, apathetic minority. But if you did score big today, they stay out of my way tomorrow. I'll be first in line for those discounted chocolates on February 15.

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