Defending the Valentine
By Nicole Freire
Oh, I can hear you all whining already. You've been at it all week, right? Complaining that the stores are full of shiny red and pink hearts, concocting conspiracy theories about Hallmark manufacturing holidays just to sell greeting cards, muttering darkly about how wasteful it is to buy roses, telling yourself that you don't need another teddy bear, especially not one holding a sign that says "I wuv you".
But I'm telling you that Valentine's Day is one of my favorite holidays. And it should be yours too. I don't say that with any hidden agenda. I do not own a florist shop. I do not hold See's Candy stock (but how cool would that be? chocolate futures!). I do not work a second job at a Hallmark store.
Also, I do not run around in a diaper, shooting arrows at people and commanding them to fall in love. Those are cherubs, not once-a-week writers.
Break free of the Valentine's Day hate. No one is making you declare your undying love and devotion and forcing you to buy overpriced jewelry. You don't have to buy Mylar balloons shaped like hearts. You don't need to grump about wedding proposals being made on bended knee. You don't even have to go out to dinner.
(Actually, please do NOT go out to dinner. There are two days in the restaurant world that bring shivers of horror. One of them is New Years' Eve and the other is Valentine's Day. Just stay home and make pasta. I know a great sauce you can make.)
Jettison the notion that Valentine's Day is reserved only for your "sweetheart" and that if you don't have one you're not entitled to enjoy the holiday.
When it's Christmas time, do you complain about stores pushing poinsettias? Do you come home and say, "Did you see those suckers lined up buying overpriced imported red plants?" Of course you don't. So don't complain about people buying overpriced roses smothered in baby's breath. They're flowers, innocent and lovely.
Valentine's Day is an excuse to tell people you love them. And give them candy if they want it. There are certainly worse ways to spend your day.
Candy! Chocolate! Conversation hearts! Tootsie Pops with pink wrappers! It's like Halloween without the messy pumpkins. Any holiday that comes with candy as an accessory is a good holiday and should be celebrated. Also, who hates doilies? They're harmless.
It's not reserved only for one person, your true love, your sweetheart. It's for your parents. Your children. Your friends. Your coworkers. The coffee person who remembers your daily order. The guy who bags your groceries. The people in your book group. The lady at the craft store who helps you find yarn. The guys who change the oil in your car.
It's for everyone. It's about opening your heart just a little bit. Just enough to let love into your life and give it back.
It doesn't have to be overpriced and overwrought and come in a heart shaped box.
It's very simple. It's just about love.
And since it's only Wednesday, you have 24 hours to think about it.
I love you. All of you.
Nicole Freire is a freelance writer who lives in Santa Barbara.