Once you get past the story of St. Valentine (the man who gave this day its name) the rest of Valentine's Day is, well . . . trivial. And even that's giving it more credit than it deserves. Over the years the whole meaning of the day has been squandered.
For example, I hate the ballad, My Funny Valentine.
To me the song is sad, somewhat preachy and just plain dumb. And we're forced to hear it every year around this time.
The truth is that Valentine's Day is a damned stupid "holiday." I don't want to be a spoil sport but this is a classic Hallmark Holiday. It was created to generate commerce after Christmas, in the dead of winter when nobody really wants to go out.
And over the years Valentine's Day has been pumped up into something so much more than it really is. It requires you to be loved, to have a sweetheart, to be wanted, to feel that you belong.
And if you don't fit one of those categories, you're pretty much left out. Oh, I know that all kinds of special "Valentines for Singles" events have been created in the interest of that great PC mantra known as inclusion. But what I said in the previous sentence still pretty much applies.
So, if cupid passed you by -- tough luck. You may even feel inclined to crawl under a rock.
For guys, Valentine's Day involves enormous anxiety and pressure.
Hey, guys don't like to shop and they often have no sense of romance whatsoever.
So they seldom know what to do for their sweethearts.
Candy? It's too fattening. Flowers? They die. Cuddly bears? They lose their cuddliness and wind up as part of the clutter. Jewelery? Often too expensive.
Even this morning, many guys are still in a quandary as to what to do, I see them roaming aimlessly at the CVS or the Walgreen's looking for something, anything that will do that trick.
And then there's the whole dining out thing. Even this year (at limited capacity) restaurants are offering special (aka UPpriced) menus.
So, eateries will be featuring roses for the sweethearts, lots of fawning and feigned affection. And special, complete package takeout meals are ready to go.
Plus, since Valentine's Day comes on a three-day weekend this year, everyone involved will go al out to squeeze every dollar they can out to it. Hey, capitalism is wonderful. And I don't begrudge them whatever extra bucks they make -- especially in the midst of this seemingly endless pandemic, made even worse by recent storms.
Still, there's something beyond merely silly -- something desperate -- about Valentine's Day.
And there's nothing romantic about desperation. Nothing.
So, if you have somebody that loves you, be thankful every day and never take that person for granted.
And if you love somebody, let that person know that he or she is loved. Do special things spontaneously and enjoy life's special moments and unexpected treats.
And if you don't have somebody right now, be thankful for what you do have and enjoy the day anyway. Indulge yourself away from all those forced, funny Valentines. Know that many of these romances won't even last into the summer, let alone to the next Valentine's Day. So, indulge yourself and to hell with all that!
But above all -- don't wait till Valentine's Day.
Try to be a warm and loving person every day. You'll feel better and really enjoy life's special moments, which often have nothing to do with some pointless Hallmark Holiday.