Friday Fluff, Sweet Machine

Friday fluff: Fake holidays

This week contains both a Friday the 13th and Valentine’s Day. Somehow that seems appropriate to me, given the apparently culturally mandated freakout that is Valentine’s Day. Either you’re supposed to be single and hate all the happily paired off people around you, or you’re supposed to be using this trumped up holiday to grovel to your man (female version) or bribe your woman with fancy food and flowers in exchange for sex (male version).

As you’ve probably guessed by now, I’m a Valentine’s Day cynic, so much so that I basically used to forget about the holiday altogether until the actual day arrived and I saw people carrying flowers on the bus or whatever. Which is how I managed to accidentally meet Mr Machine *on* Valentine’s Day — we had exchanged messages online and I suggested that if he wanted to meet in person, I’d be grading papers at a certain coffeeshop on a particular afternoon, and he could drop by. Not a date so much as a “let’s talk to each other in person before getting too excited” situation — but he did drop by, and we did meet, and it did happen to be Valentine’s Day, dammit, and here we are six years later. So since then, I’ve been compelled to celebrate Valentine’s Day against my will, except I call it “our anniversary” instead. Yay for us.

What do you do for Valentine’s Day, if anything? How do you feel about it as a holiday — is it a crock, or a nice occasion for romance? More importantly, has anything spooky happened to you today? Anything spookily romantic?

(And for anyone who’s feeling lonely this weekend, I humble recommend rereading this post of Kate’s.)

203 thoughts on “Friday fluff: Fake holidays”

  1. My dad has always given valentines to my mom, my sister, and me, so Valentine’s Day, for me, is a day to be reminded how much my dad loves us and wants us to be happy.

    Valentine’s day is also an indicator that chocolate will soon be on sale!

  2. Matt and I have done a few romantic things on Valentines but mostly it’s just whatever we’re in the mood for. Some years, we’re in a mushy mood, some years we could care less. My birthday is always two weeks before V-Day so I don’t make a big deal about gifts for either.

    Last year, Matt got me tickets to my favorite alterna-folk band–Girlyman (check them out at!) and we invited a friend to join us for the concert. It was awesome to share V-day with my sweetie AND a really awesome friend.

    This year, I’m throwing a Pampered Chef party during the day and we might go see a movie or something later in the evening if we feel like it. We have no plans.

  3. I love my husband, he loves me. We don’t celebrate VD. I get my niece and nephew some chocolates. We stay in. It’s just another day.

  4. Also, Monday will be “half-off” at the really cool florist near my office.

    One thing I miss every year is the Black Ball that used to be held at Ft. Lauderdale’s Squeeze club. Singles only (if anyone tried to enter as a couple they charged extra cover – hee!), huge chocolate and candy buffet, dancing and drink specials all night. It was great.

  5. Personally, I’ve never understood how people can forget, but this is because I use a clock radio. So every morning when I wake up there’s multiple commercials, days and weeks ahead, for flowers, chocolates, and “unique” Valentine’s gifts.

    My ex used to say he hated Valentine’s Day, but you know what? Everything doesn’t have to be about him. If I am inundated with the knowledge that this is coming and I have a boyfriend refusing to play, that’s painful.

    Ah, but I have a date and I think there may be flowers involved. Definitely chocolate.

    The point here is I want it all to the girly-girl Hallmark max, and don’t try to stop me!

  6. We don’t celebrate VD at all. For me, it’s a totally trumped up reason to spend money we don’t need to spend. On the other hand, a local tattoo studio is doing “13” tattoos for $13. Now that is something I might need to spend money on this afternoon… Just where will I put it?

  7. You (general you) are entitled to not like Valentine’s Day. I myself am not interested in romance. I use Valentine’s day as a day to celebrate friendship instead, and yes, I do sometimes use cards, flowers, candy, and a lot of other things to do that.

    However, if you think it’s a crock, you’re certainly allowed to think that, but just know that you’re 100% wrong.

    I absolutely hate it when people make claims that aren’t true without making the slightest effort to check their facts. Like it or not, Valentine’s Day is NOT a modern invention designed to sell products, and people who say that are simply doing it because it makes them sound edgy and rebellious, not becuase they have anything actually valuable to contribute to discussion.

    Halloween is the same way. It is NOT a fake holiday designed to sell candy. It’s been around for thousands of years and began with the pagans (with many other cultural influences added over the years.) Mother’s Day and many other holidays have also been accused of being fake holidays despite evidence to the contrary.

    Whether one likes these holidays is not the point. You don’t have to like a holiday, but lying about its origins just demolishes your credibility.

    Valentine’s day has been around for thousands of years, and has its basis in Roman and Christian tradition. It is, of course, named after the Roman Catholic Saint Valentine. There is a lot more to it than that, but please, please don’t claim to know things than you actually don’t.

    By the way, I am not accusing SweetMachine or anyone else here of making false claims. This is just for general reference.

    On the other hand, if you want to examine how it is celebrated or interpreted in a historical or modern context, as long as you have the facts, then please, go at it.

    I hated Valentine’s Day in middle school when you were no longer to give valentines to your entire class, which means I didn’t get any.

  8. I think it’s a crock. We should be loving and kind to each other every day, and spontaneous gestures of love and friendship shouldn’t be limited to a very non-spontaneous one day a year.

    I find, though, as I’m getting older, that I think every day should be treated as though it were sacred or a “holy” day.

  9. On my single VDs anyone who commented on the holiday to me met the Anticupid. It was a day for misery and licking my lonely wounds.

    I can’t help softening when there’s someone special on hand, though, and generally succumb predictably to the various wiles. The most memorable so far was the dozen roses that arrived with a card which failed to identify the sender. I eventually found out who sent it, an Englishman who’d heard somewhere that it was an American tradition to send flowers as a token of love without saying who they were from. Where’d he get that from??

  10. Faith, I was also thinking of getting a tattoo this weekend. I just need to see if my friend is available to go with me since I promised her she could come the next time I got one. I wonder if the place I go will be having Valentine’s Day specials.

  11. I should have added – I have married friends whose idea of a Valentine’s Day celebration is sitting down and watching Casablanca.

  12. This year, my husband and I are baking bread together. But not because it’s Valentine’s Day. *deletes boasting comments about her husband’s random moments of romance at other times*

  13. I would much rather receive spontaneous romantic gestures (and give them as well) than make a big fuss over a day that is “supposed” to be romantic. f-that.

    I do fuss over my girls though, cause they are young and find it all cutesie and fun. Seems appropriate since they are the true loves of my life, after all.

    I happen to be single again this v-day and I definitely won’t be bitter and angry that I am alone. I prefer it that way. I’ll go buy my own damn chocolates and I have a bottle of wine at home. Sounds like a perfect evening to me.

  14. I only use valentines day to keep track of my parent’s wedding anniversary. They were married on feb 13th. The year they got married it was situated on a friday, and it was likely I was conceived that day, so I consider Friday the 13th to be my lucky day :D

  15. I am always thinking a lot about the concept of love in (especially) capitalist societies these days. I believe in romance, most of the time I believe in love (you know..that it’s out there…somewhere…hiding from me….) but I don’t believe in the tyranny of pralines, champagne, hearts and roses.
    This evening I will go out, dancing, but since its a Friday the 13th (as SM kindly reminded us) I don’t expect to meet a potential significant other tonight. But maybe….a not sooo significant other…. ;) maybe there’ re lots of desperate valentines day hunted people out there tonight….

  16. We use Valentine’s as an excuse for a date night. We spend so much time together through the year that it is really just another day for us…but it is a nice excuse to get the Gparents to watch the kids. :-)

    He had never bought me roses…not one…because they are cliche (I told him that) so sometimes he will get me a nice bunch at the grocery store…that is fine with me…and they are usually daises or carnations or something pretty. The only thing we do that is customary is chocolate….but even then sometimes we don’t even spend it ON Valentine’s…we do it a different day so we don’t have to beat the rush to a good restaurant…and if we do anything on the day itself we order pizza and have chocolate and strawberries.

  17. Valentine’s Day to me means great, sweet-smelling, dumpster diving behind the florist shops on the morning of Feb. 15. To hell with the romantic aspects of the holiday…I just like flowers and if they’re free then that’s even better.

  18. i am *not* a video gamer by preference — just doesn’t do it for me. However, my partner requested, as a New Years Resolution, that i play World of Warcraft with him. So I started doing so last week, and we’ll be spending Valentine’s Day WoW’ing together and doing the Valentine’s quests.

  19. I like holidays in general. I think they mostly exist to punctuate our lives and mark the passage of time. One more thing to look forward to besides ordinary every other days.

    However, I don’t like all the pressure that has been put upon us to make merry for holidays, generally resulting in unreal expectations and unhappiness all around if it just doesn’t live up to the standards that Hallmark presents in their commercials.

    I try not to get all wound up by these silly standards (you need a family to enjoy Christmas and Thanksgiving! You need a partner to enjoy New Years or Valentine’s)! I’ve learned to just shrug that rubbish off and celebrate in my own ways.

  20. I hate it. I hated it when I was single, I hate it now that I’m married but with enough tension that it’s a nasty reminder of a perfect relationship, I hated it when I was perfectly happy and in love. So artificial and pressure-y. The one thing that has redeemed it a little is my kids – I treat it as a children’s holiday, so I do get my kids heart cookies and the like, and sort of reinvent it as showing love to everyone who’s important to you rather than a super special romantic focus.

  21. This is also one of the few times a year that my husband sends or brings flowers to me at work (because our cat will eat them and throw up petals all over the house, which isn’t the romatic ideal . . . and that stuff really stains a carpet.). I don’t see this as artifical, commercial, token affection, I see it as someone taking the time to do something frivolous and fun just because I like flowers.

    Besides, the best part is the delivery:
    Last year, he sent the Baby (who was barely walking) toddling into my workspace with purple roses and a big grin. The year before that (when I was 8 months pregnant), a friend of ours who is a massage therapist brought some daisies and a much needed back rub.

    I can’t wait to see what happens this year!

  22. We celebrate Valentine’s Day by looking at each other and saying, “I’m so glad we don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day” because two weeks earlier we celebrated Mr. Savvy’s birthday, and in two weeks we’ll do something for our anniversary. Good times all around.

  23. Adrianna Joanna, where on earth did I claim that this was a modern invention? I was, in fact, going to say something about the history of the holiday in the post, but then I decided it would make it too long for a fluff post. I called the post “fake holidays” because of the ridiculous cultural conditioning around them; I could have been clearer about that in the post, but I didn’t think it was necessary to state that this holiday wasn’t *actually* invented by Hallmark, no matter how much it seems that way.

    However, if you think it’s a crock, you’re certainly allowed to think that, but just know that you’re 100% wrong.

    By the way, I am not accusing SweetMachine or anyone else here of making false claims. This is just for general reference.

    Uh huh. Clearly I pushed some of your buttons. Thanks for calling me an ignorant liar in return.

  24. This year I am celebrating by hating on myself for being incurably single. And going out for lunch before my free-dessert-and-coffee card expires.

  25. Every year I buy my husband the cheapest, tackiest pair of Valentine boxers that I can find.

    I still think that nothing tops the first pair I got him, which were jockey boxer style, with Scooby Doo dressed as Cupid all over them, with a HUGE Scooby Doo on the butt and “I Ruv U” printed all around the waistband.

    Oh, and then we have lots of sex that we’d probably have anyway.

  26. Usually around this time of year there’s Katsucon. Valentine’s day doesn’t hold a candle to that.

    Someone gave my husband a free head cold this year, which he was kind enough to pass on to me. Right now I’d give up all the flowers and chocolate in the world for a quart of hot soup.

  27. I love Valentine’s Day, I don’t care about the associated materialism and commercial nonsense and I’m annoyed by people who’re annoyed by it. I guess I’m just a hopeless romantic, even when single, and I can’t bring myself to dislike or hate the day that celebrates love.

    I kind of see it like Christmas or New Year’s – you do something special, you make a nice dinner and set off fireworks and spend time with your family. You can do that any other time of the year too, just like you can tell your SO that you love them any other day of the year and not just on Valentine’s. But VDay makes it special, and not doing anything on VDay purely for the sake of cynicism towards society, just to rebel… pfffft. I don’t get that at all.

    Valentine’s Day in its idea is great – but people have messed it up, either by using it as a way to buy and bribe love, or to be extra cynical about the commercialisation of holidays. I want to let go of all of that. Celebrate love. It doesn’t matter how, when, with who, whether you’re single or alone. (Although last year I was dumped a week before Valentine’s, THAT sucked) Let go of cynicism and hate, and just feel the love. It’s only fake if you want it to be; what makes it real is what you believe, just like any other holiday. Maybe it was invented to sell candy, but who cares? Love is awesome. If the opportunity is there, then why wouldn’t you celebrate?

    But I’m a hopeless romantic, so yeah.

  28. Also, I love it when people’s first post to a blog is to tell the blogger off for an imagined infraction against some pet peeve of theirs. “Hi, I’ve never contributed to the conversation here in any way, but I was just passing by and totally off-topic I thought I’d let you know that I think you’re stupid and a liar.” If you pulled jackass shit like that (“I don’t know you and I have no context for what you’re talking about but I know more than you do so let me lecture you”) in real life you’d get punched at least 7 times out of 10, so I don’t want to hear any bitching about us making fun of you. (On the other hand, it would be totally hilarious to have a Valentine’s purists’ movement a la the “War on Christmas” folks, so if you would like to respond in a constructive way, Adrianna, I suggest you do that. I’d do it but I’m not religious or Christian.)

    ANYWAY, my dad has always gotten me, my mom, and my sister chocolate on V-day since forever, so while I flirted with being an extreme-o Valentine’s cynic for a while when I was unhappily single, it never really took because I had so much practice associating it with other kinds of love besides romantic. Dan and I get each other chocolates because, you know, why not? They’re chocolates.

    Naturally I’m disgusted by the sexist/misogynist ways in which the holiday is marketed but that’s not really different from my disgust at misogyny every other day… it just happens as soon as I walk into CVS instead of when I go down the magazine aisle. :)

  29. Reminded by several posts upthread, I’m really amused by the abbreviation VD for Valentine’s Day because I always parse it as Venereal Disease.

  30. (On the other hand, it would be totally hilarious to have a Valentine’s purists’ movement a la the “War on Christmas” folks, so if you would like to respond in a constructive way, Adrianna, I suggest you do that. I’d do it but I’m not religious or Christian.)

    I am totally down with this idea. I want this blog to be the ideological target of the War on Valentine’s folks. Curse these feminists and their hatred of martyrs!

  31. JR, try getting married sometime. All the talk about sending your friends STDs and finding pretty dresses for your BMs really got to me after a while.

  32. VD is right after my birthday and I think Mr. I’s and my anniversary is sometime around now too, obviously we really celebrate it a lot. So we generally ignore anything that isn’t my birthday, otherwise february would be expensive, and one can really only celebrate so much stuff.

    I just hope I get the breakfast in bed I was supposed to get on my birthday but was too sick for. Mmm Baaacooooon. Yeah, I said it, I want bacon for Valentine’s Day.

  33. Yorke, I’m now tempted to make a shirt reading “VD is Awesome!”

    shinobi42, bacon would be a pretty fantastic Valentine’s Day gift. Now I really want bacon. nomnomnom

  34. Eh. I buy our girls candy and silly stuffed animals, and help fill out the little fold-y cards for school. The mister and I just don’t do holidays…not as a protest or whatever, we basically can’t be arsed to worry about it ;) We do random things for each other when we can, and save the “official” days for the kids, since they care more about what the calendar says!

  35. @JR this makes me think of when HPV came out.

    Of course I’m talking about Harry Potter. What else would I be talking about?

  36. JR, I’m right there with you on the candy sales. CVS the morning after VDay = cheapskate heaven! (Sadly, this year I’m in Europe, so I’ll have to put off my gleeful purchases till next year.)

    I’m all in favor of holidays that remind us to do what we should be doing anyway (e.g. loving each other), but I have to wonder if Valentine’s Day in particular is worth it. I personally don’t mind being single on Feb 14th, and yeah, it’s nice to remind those in long-term relationships to trot out a little extra appreciation and romance one a year, but there are so many people who find the holiday hurtful that I have to say it might be better if it didn’t exist. (Those in happy relationships, who are the only ones who can really appreciate it, are presumably already happy anyway.)

    I have to say, though, this Valentine’s Day is turning out to be pretty awesome for me. My family has a tradition of exchanging candy, which I thought I’d miss out on this year, since I’m in Europe. But lo and behold, I woke up this morning and the mailman had left a box of chocolates from America on my doorstep! Totally made my day.

  37. This entry I just made about it says it all:

    I can’t hate Valentine’s Day because I’ve been known to gladly accept big, ridiculous bears and the like. And I don’t adore it either. Sometimes I’m not in the mood.

    But I can’t pretend I don’t feel all warm and fuzzy and cheesy when I see people tramping along with their ridiculous flower arrangements and teddy bears. I like to think that the person who’s getting them will have a bright spot in his/her day. And that’s always good.

  38. I like holidays in general. I think they mostly exist to punctuate our lives and mark the passage of time.

    Definitely, definitely. When I’m single, I really don’t enjoy VD (both kinds!), mostly because of how it’s expressed in media (got a girl/boyfriend?? time to woo her with flowers for sex/sex him up! don’t?? time to feel like shit for it!), and in my current relationship, we just take it as an excuse to go to this amazing Brazilian churroscaria (sp?) restaurant that’s kinda pricey, and hang out. I try my best not to rub it in everyone’s faces, and I don’t make a big deal about it. It seems to me, based on observations of friends, if you’re in a relationship, you either slightly enjoy or don’t care about VD, but if you’re single, it’s almost always kind of shitty. And I think that suxxx.

  39. A friend of mine has a hilarious post up today about Lupercalia as an alternate to VD. “Nothing says love like public S&M and a barbecue.”

    Some very raunchy, anti-shmaltzy-romance friends of ours decided to go ahead down to the Justice of the Peace and tie the knot on their lunch hour. They were surprised at the line when they got there — and then realized it was Valentine’s Day. They considered leaving and coming back later, then decided that was too much work. :D

  40. OK, pretty dresses for BMs? I know the picture I have in my head and I’m very sure it’s wrong, although grossly hilarious. What is a BM when it is not a poopy, please?

    I have great memories of Valentine’s Day from my distant childhood, when my mother would make a heart shaped cake covered with icing roses – a real work of art – and we would all make Valentines for each other in secrecy and they would be on each placemat at the dinner table that night. And every year, with great fanfare as though it were the first and most original thought in the history of humankind, my dad would produce three identical heart-shaped boxes of chocolates for us kids and a store-bought romantic card for my mother.

    How very Waltons of us, I know, but it leaves Valentine’s Day as one of my very favorite holidays, despite my own legendarily awful history in the romance department. Warm memories, little fuss, and an excuse to buy heart-shaped boxes of choccies for my own offspring who every year pretend to be surprised that I remembered.

  41. sistercoyote, a “save-the-date.” Also known as “yet another thing you are supposed to buy and agonize over the design of.” (I do like getting save-the-dates because they let me know I can a) start being excited and b) start looking for a dress, but I didn’t do them myself. I just emailed people.)

    Anyone who doesn’t like V-day can celebrate a belated Darwin’s 200th birthday this year!

  42. I make a fuss over my husband and son and mother because my dad always made a fuss over my mom and us kids. We don’t go out, but I carefully select gifts and chocolates. This year my nubby is getting some books on going from homebrewer to brewery owner and a 1/4 lb of dark chocolates that only he likes.

  43. I have never understood how this date, which is famous in history for people dying rather gruesomely, and turned it into the crucible of romantic love.

    “Not a constructed holiday” my fat ass.

    I usually make it a point to wear something black on VDay. I buy myself a bag of Dove chocolate hearts and eat them with peanut butter as an act of protest (and because YUM).


  44. I’m in the process of breaking up with the person I’ve been dating for a few months. Last night I passed the “Let me know when you’re ready to talk” ball back, and now I’m in a holding pattern for a few days (after a few days, I will steal the ball and end things).

    Original VD plans were to not make a big deal of it and definitely not go out anywhere nice because it would be a zoo. New VD plans are to clean my house, get a copy of my eyeglasses prescription so I can buy really cute glasses from Zennioptical (this relationship’s version of a post-break-up make-over because I’m happy with my hair and not rich enough to attack the wardrobe), and go dancing (goth club or swing dancing, most likely).

  45. The sexism of Valentine’s Day is catching my notice more than usual this year. Probably because I’ve been reading more feminist blogs.

    Matt and I joke about the ridiculous commercials. Yeah, he doesn’t really love me unless he gets me diamonds for Valentine’s Day. Or maybe a car.

    We are going to have a nice dinner out. Not on the day itself, because everybody in the world will be doing the same thing, and restaurants will be packed.

  46. BMs are bridesmaids and STDs are save the dates (cards). Wedding planning (or being a MoH in my case) can really get you some cheap giggles.

  47. I missed the bus, which would count as bad luck if it didn’t happen two-three times a week.

    February 14th, 2009 also the Oregon Sesquincentennial, which is fun to say.

    You know, I’m single, I have been for years, and I’m totally okay with partnered folks being mushy on V-Day. I’m also okay with them not being mushy. As always, in every thing, I’m just gonna do what I want to.

  48. Fillyjonk, you can get yelled at for celebrating Darwin Day as well. In fact, that might be even more controversial. I was admonished on my blog for ‘endorsing a racist’. That was a bit of a bummer. I might have to buy myself a pink balloon to cheer me up.

  49. pyewacket, unfortunately, it’s not warm enough for a barbeque here in DC. I’d be up for the S&M part, but I think we should reschedule the barbeque for next month.

  50. Mar, if we wanted to avoid doing things that could get you yelled at by some obnoxious asshat on the internet, we would just shut down the blog for good. :)

  51. My chap’s away on a birdwatching weekend, so I’ll be doing something creative and fun on my own. I’ll stencil a Piggy Moo T shirt if the freezer paper turns up, or bake something.

    I don’t care for doing Valentines day things as a couple, anyway. It should be an excuse for single people to send anonymous or hinting cards to their secret crushes, not for us coupled-up types to get all smug about it.

  52. A cousin by marriage is getting married tomorrow so I will be at the wedding as an unofficial videographer. It was a quickly planned thing and from what I hear, not real frilly and the reception is more of a fellowship, no DJ. That’s fine with me. I did purchase candy and cards for the family, and my mom is getting a CD of Motown love songs. Then I’m baking my grandfather’s birthday cake; his birthday is Sunday.

    I’m single with no man, and I used to feel blue, but not anymore. People can celebrate how they want.

  53. Hubs and I will be kind-of celebrating Val’s Day. He works days, I work evenings, so sometimes we don’t get to speak to each other while fully conscious for days at a time. I happen to be off tomorrow, and we generally try to go on a date when I have the weekend off. No gifts have been purchased, though, unless you count the fact that we got new phones and a new cellphone contract yesterday, so you can say he bought me an iPhone, and I got him a Crackberry.

    We probably won’t go out, because I have a thing with crowds, and there will be crowds. So, we will cook dinner together, and perhaps I will make cupcakes.

  54. The southern belle girly girl femme in me (oh, hell, it’s the outside of me too) wants so desperately to catch the valentine’s day bug.

    But –
    A) I might or might not get laid off – everyone who’s going to get canned should be gone by March 27. Way to prolong the agony, Corporate Wonks.
    B) A dear friend of mine is in the hospital thanks to a stroke
    C) I have so freaking much work to do

    All this makes me want to spend the next week in my attic, not wanting to pretend to be excited by the idea of sex with my partner and not having to keep my irritability in check.

    Between the holidays and the pharmaceutical ads on television, I feel as if it’s illegal for me to be depressed and completely uninterested in sex or physical affection.

    Isn’t it all part of the downs in the “ups and downs” of life.? Why must I want to jump into bed and boink like a rabbit to be “normal?”

  55. We have a heart-shaped cake mold because that’s what my kid wanted when she was three, and now she’s almsot five, and we couldn’t have a Christmas party because all the December weekends were booked before we thought ot it, and we couldn’t have a New Year party because all the January weekends were booked before we thought of it, so we’re having a Valentine party. I’ve cut out fourteen paper hearts and we’re making two or three heart-shaped cakes and I don’t know how many kids are coming, but it’ll be lovely.

    And loud.

    I can’t get behind the coupley Valentine thing but I like the Alles Hjartes Dag bit.

  56. I can’t hate Valentine’s Day. It is the holiday of the cinnamon heart, the chemical industry’s most delicious offspring.

    Once my mom shipped me my portfolio and a valentine’s day package of cinnamon hearts by bus and somehow it got RUN OVER by the bus. Nothing was left but a fine red powder and some twisted fragments of ring binder. It was much more hilarious than falsely-heightened romantic expectations. Also the bus company gave me a form to fill out to request compensation, but since the monetary value of the package was about $1, I didn’t bother.

  57. I know what I’m getting for Valentine’s Day this year: a small red foil heart-shaped box of Russell Stovers chocolates. I know because that’s what I ask for every year. That’s all I want.

    When I was growing up, that’s what my parents gave us every year for Valentine’s Day, so it’s tradition in my family. No, Russell Stovers are not the best chocolates in the world, but nothing else tastes quite the same. It’s tradition. It’s the taste I want.

    It’s not that I don’t like being fussed over. I do. But my birthday is about 2.5 weeks after Valentine’s Day, and I want my fuss THEN. Call me a selfish bitch (it wouldn’ t be the first time), but on Feb. 14 I have to share the fuss with pretty much the whole world. On my birthday, it’s all about ME. It’s just not fair to ask my husband for fuss two times so close together, especially when I don’t really want the first fuss.

    (I usually get him some candy of his own, this year it’s a Reese’s Peanut Butter heart and York Peppermint Pattie. I know he likes these. I wish I could find a small package of chocolate covered Oreos, but no one seems to make those anymore – just the huge bag in the supermarket.)

  58. Hate Valentine’s Day. Hate it. Ultra-cheesy pink-hearts-and-flowers nonsense, crap jewelry (and other) commercials that make me scream with irritation, and vile, hetero-normative propaganda. My partner hates it too, but not as much as I do. In fact, I think he gets a little alarmed when he sees how much it raises my hackles. Ah well, that’s what happens when your partner is a fat, hairy feminist. A *proud* fat, hairy feminist.

  59. I love Valentine’s Day, because growing up it was a family holiday. We all had dinner together, with bags of candy at our plates, and gave each other cards. Now that I’m grown, I send cards to my family and close friends.

    I also like how VDay has been reclaimed by organizations against Intimate Partner Violence; the romanticization of the “COUPLE!!!” to the detriment of all other ties isn’t just annoying and silly, it can be dangerous if that definition of romantic love includes jealousy, possessiveness, and abuse.

    So, I’ll also be celebrating VDay by sending a donation to my favorite anti-IPV non-profit.

  60. best VD present ever? waffle maker. and i’ve got a bottle of bubbly we picked up for new years and still haven’t gotten into. so i’m thinkin breakfast for diner, since he has work in the morning. bacon waffles and cheep champagen.

  61. I’m pretty indifferent to Valentine’s Day as long as I’m not expected to celebrate. Most public rituals of emotion just make me feel weird and self-conscious and the opposite of how I’m “supposed” to feel.

    And for me, being expected to be bitter and lonely when I’m not with someone on Valentine’s Day and that is nearly as annoying as having someone be disappointed that flowers and chocolates don’t mean much to be as tokens of affection. It’s just a day, you know? I’m a long-distance relationship today, I’ll be in a long-distance relationship Sunday, and I will miss my SO all weekend and the rest of the semester too.

    This year Valentine’s Day did serve as a nice excuse to get together with some of my ladyfriends and eat chocolate and play this ridiculous party game called bowls that is sort of like a combination of catchphrase and charades and tons of fun. I mean, I’d be happy if we did that any other thursday night, but it’s the sort of thing that does often need a little more momentum than just “I feel like it”. I guess holidays are good for that.

  62. My B-Day is 2/15, the day after Valentine’s Day. (incidentally, I work in HR, and to me STD means Short Term Disability!). When I was in a relationship, it was always made VERY clear to the Mr. that these were TWO SEPARATE days, to each be appropriately celebrated.

    This is my third year in a row without a love in my life, so VD makes me kind of wistful.

  63. VD just isn’t my thing. I didn’t like it as a child (can you guess, I was unpopular), didn’t like it when I was single, and now that I’ve been in a relationship for 12 years it’s just no big deal. I will cook a special meal tomorrow because we are having a newly single friend over for dinner and movies as holidays/couple things still are upsetting for her and we didn’t want her to sit at home alone.

    I think my issue with VD (much like Christmas) and I think I’m echoing someone up thread, is that it is no longer about an expression of tradition or love within a couple or family but rather about how ostentatious you can be and how much money you can spend. It doesn’t matter if a hand-written card or a home-made gift will matter more to your SO, according to the MSM you are a complete asshat for not buying dozens of long-stem roses, diamonds, and a car.

  64. From my roommate: “I don’t like the color red or the color pink. Those colors are everywhere for Valentine’s Day. It’s so irritating.”

    While I do like red and pink, I have to 2nd her avoidance of the Valentine section at the grocery. It’s just too much.

  65. I am going on a backpacker tour of Death Valley this weekend. Normally I do nothing on Feb. 14 and hit the stores on Feb 15 for discount chocolate. I love me some boxed chocolates.

  66. Oh, and Conversation Hearts. I LOVE those, maybe even more than cheap chocolate, which I can buy again after Easter. Conversation Heart candy is only around this time of year.

  67. I love me some boxed chocolates.

    Me too, and that’s why I like V-day — it’s not like I wouldn’t be psyched to get boxed chocolates any day of the year, but this is the only day that I can say “if you don’t get me chocolates, I am going to eat the ones I got for you.” ;)

  68. Sskipstress….zennioptical is the best! I have so many pairs of glasses because of utter cheapness. I don’t need a name on my glasses to help me see! And they’re really cute.

    Anyway, I do like VD. I think it started because my mom was always so clever and creative with it. She would take boxes from past VDs and and fill it up with cute notes and random candies of all kinds. So now…I celebrate it in a quiet way, even though I’m single. I take an opportunity to make cards, because I like to make cards, to be nice to my friends. I never really think of it as a couples vs. non-couples holiday. And when I had a bf, it was nice to do something special for him. I made him a cheesecake, cause he loved cheesecake and foodcolored it pink. And that was that. This year though, I saw cute disney kid’s vd cards and I couldn’t pass them up, so I sent them instead. I don’t mean being 5 one day of the year!

  69. I like the day. I do. I like family celebrations and marking the times and seasons. I like the church year. I mean, we’re one of those households that celebrates weirdo holidays like St. Nicholas Day, Epiphany, Burns Night, Pentecost, the feast day of Oscar Romero, etc. Not likely that we’d skip Valentine’s Day.

    I do realize that I’ve been carefully instructed to consider myself 100 percent responsible for the feelings of everyone around me. I realize I’ve been primed to be fawningly grateful that ONE DAY A YEAR my male partner is supposed to be all, “Garsh, I wonder what she’d like, you know, romantically n stuff” even though I do that every danged day. I know it’s assumed by practically the whole world that emotional work – like dishwashing and diapering – is silly ladies’ work — and therefore it’s endearing and heroic (and comic) that a *gasp* MAN would, one day a year, express something close to emotion and affection.

    And I know it’s commercialized and so forth.

    And yet.

    I don’t know. Maybe romance — meaning, attention to emotional shifts in temperature, and creativity in expressing affection – is like cooking. Personally, I’m a hell of a good cook. I *know* that it’s gendered work. I totally understand that not everyone will like it. I know I was readier to take up cooking because I am female than I would have been as a man. I don’t think women who don’t like to cook should have to do an unfair share of cooking simply because they’re women.

    But I, personally, still see beauty in cooking, and I’m kind of inspired by those who have cooked well and artfully. Especially when they’ve often gotten little thanks because it was just assumed that the work cooking was something that a) wasn’t all that important, and b) would come easy to them on account the lady brain.

    Anyway, to me, romance seems similar. And idiosyncratic holiday celebrations are part of our family culture.

  70. Pegkitty, I heard that Necco was expanding their conversation hearts line for other holidays, so you might be able to get them throughout the year soon.

  71. I actually have a boyfriend for Valentine’s day so I’m really excited. Well, I am also excited because I haven’t seen him since Christmas…

  72. @ ReJoyce, I am sorry about your misfortune with the bus, but I have to tell you that the way you told the story made me LAUGH OUT LOUD, and I really needed that today. Thank you.

  73. @JR, I hope they don’t go nuts with them like the Peeps people have, though. The scarcity makes them more delicious.

  74. I do enjoy the candy. I do not enjoy the flowers that much and really don’t enjoy the merchandizing that basicly says that you need to love someone more one day a year than the rest of the year. I have been single for the past few years and my single freinds and I will go out for dinner and drinks on Valentine’s day to celebrate “T.G.I.S” – “Thank God Im Single” night.

  75. I’ve been single for going on two years, and I just got cold shut down by the dude I was sleeping with. (Him: “I feel like this is moving towards becoming a relationship, and I don’t want that.” Me: “That’s fine. I don’t have any interest in being in somebody’s girlfriend right now.” Him: “Well, I want a serious girlfriend, so there’s no point in doing this if it’s not going to lead anywhere.” Me: “…Wait, what?”)

    BUT. I love Valentine’s Day. I just do. I don’t have it in me to be cynical about it.

    Tonight, my friends and I are going to go see a local burlesque troop’s V-day show. Tomorrow, there’s a poetry reading / Vagina Monologues preview, followed by a big party at my house. I am well stocked with ultra-dark chocolate (86% cacao is for HELL YES), and I have a gray pencil skirt with red seams up the back and a big red heart. I am EXCITED.

    Also, since the Monologues are coming up, there’s a group of girls on campus every day selling chocolate vaginas. Oh, I love February.

  76. Boy, holidays certainly get people all worked up. Generally, I see holidays in two different lights: first, that there’s definitely a rabid consumer, buy-it-all-now-or-be-doomed message. Second, as Adrianna Joanna pointed out, most of our holidays have been around for eons – they’ve just morphed. I try to make holidays something that my family and I enjoy. So Valentine’s Day is just another opportunity to do what we do often anyway: tell people that they are loved. As added bonuses, my husband proposed to me on Valentine’s Day and our nephew was born on the same day. So our reasons for celebrating Valentine’s Day have more to do with significant family events than with buying flowers and chocolate.

    Cynicism about various holidays implies, to me, that people are seeing the superficial consumerist part of the holiday, and not making the holiday into something personal for themselves. If you don’t want to celebrate Valentine’s Day/Halloween/Mother’s Day, or whatever, then don’t.

    Most important, though, is that people need anniversaries and holidays to break the tedium of daily life. Especially during stressful times, holidays are a good thing. So go buy yourself some good dark chocolate, a bottle of red wine, and have fun!

  77. Incidentally, the first Valentine’s Day that Dan and I were officially together (we’d been together over a year at that point and were living together, but we’d hooked up only a few weeks before V-day and weren’t serious enough to do anything that year), we both forgot about it until the day of. So we both stopped at CVS on the way home. And we both ended up with crappy chocolates. (Though the ones I got for him were hilarious… they said “Just For Him” on the front in a sort of branded-steer font.) So in a sense we are actually way more into V-day than you’d expect a similarly low-key couple to be — we order GOOD chocolates way in advance so as to avoid a similar fiasco!

    Man, that Valentine’s Day SUCKED, now that I think of it. Nothing to do with Dan, it was just basically the day I decided to drop out of grad school. I only even got the Man Chocolates because I walked out of class… if I’d waited until after class they probably would have been gone.

  78. I’m not a big fan of the commercialization of any holiday, but I don’t dislike the actual day because of it. I love Valentines’ day. My husband describes himself as “a hopeless romantic” so we always do something special, even if we just stay home and talk. But even as a kid and a teenager, it was great. My friends and I would buy each other carnations and those silly valentines for kids and we’d leave them in each other’s lockers or on desks in classes. And my parents always had something yummy for dessert that night.

    Tonight we’re having dinner to ourselves – ribeye steaks, garlic mashed potatoes, and cheesecake. Tomorrow we’ll do something fun with the kids and I’ll make french onion soup. I bought flowers for my daughter and I’ll be picking up Zack and Miri on dvd for the man. My son’s still a toddler, so all he’s getting are kisses; both chocolate and real. :)

  79. My husband and I tend to avoid VD gifts, though he occasionally does give me chocolate covered cherries, as those are my very favorite thing. But we did start our own little tradition several years ago of having dinner at home featuring red food on Valentine’s Day or the nearest weekend. And the red food, specifically, is lobster.

  80. I like any excuse to give or receive chocolates.

    Indeed, I’m house sitting for my parents this weekend and my dad left me a chocolate box filled with moonstruck chocolates… yum!

    I also sent Valentine’s cards expressing my appreciation to four of my dearest closest friends. I think I’ll make my boyfriend take me to see Coraline using the holiday as a clever ruse to get him to see a movie when he should be studying. HA, jokes on you law school!

  81. Valentine’s Day annoys me most because my birthday is two days later. My name is Rose, and when I was a child my father always bought me roses for my birthday, and I loved that. But now he finds that he can’t mail-order roses for February 16, or if he can, they suck and are dying, or else they cost ten gazillion times the normal price because they’re tough to find.

    I can’t decide how I feel about the holiday philosophically. On one hand, I object totally to the entire assertion that my loved one should demonstrate that love in particular on this particular day. On the other hand, when my loved one *doesn’t*, I feel hugely left out and like other people judge our relationship. Yet another case of how it’s uncomfortable to opt out of a social norm, I guess.

  82. I think it’s cool when people go beyond what’s expected for a holiday like this, and just do nice things for other people, whether they’re friends, family, or not, even though the media wants you to believe that VD is for COUPLES ONLY.

    Well maybe it is but I’ll be going to a benefit dinner for orphanages in Mexico with all of my singleton spinster friends, so take that MEDIA! I’m single and I’m not sitting at home wallowing in bitterness! I’ll be wallowing in yummy food instead :)

  83. I like V-Day. Always have, really. When I was a kid, my dad always got my mom, sister and me flowers, and that’s such a happy memory for me now that he’s gone. As a single adult, I just could never dredge up too much cynicism – I like the idea of a day for love. I’m happy to celebrate my mom on mother’s day, so why not love on V-Day? (Like someone said above.. holidays are fun, they break up the routine.) So when I was single, i made it a day to hang out with friends or send cards and tell them I love them. (Which I should really still do.) Now that I’m married, I like having a little reminder of romance. It’s so easy to get into a rut – we see each other at home all the time, it’s nice to have a day on the calendar that reminds us that dating each other is fun, too.

    We don’t get each other gifts and don’t spend much money other than a card. (Hallmark can have my $2, it’s fine. We did do homemade cards one year, and that was wonderful.) We used to go out for a fondue dinner (cheese for dinner, chocolate for dessert), but that got pricey, so this year we’re treating ourselves to brunch and a museum. It’s just a nice excuse to get out and spend time together, and I love it.

  84. Lisa: “Cynicism about various holidays implies, to me, that people are seeing the superficial consumerist part of the holiday, and not making the holiday into something personal for themselves. If you don’t want to celebrate Valentine’s Day/Halloween/Mother’s Day, or whatever, then don’t.”

    I agree, but some people can’t help but feel left out. I think it’s ideal that someone makes the best out of every holiday, but if s/he would rather rail against it, I’m not particularly offended. My friend’s mother died a few years ago and so she’s somewhat bitter on Mother’s Day, understandably. Who am I to judge? Some people have negative assocations with certain holidays, I’m not going to tell them to just get over it because I’m not in their shoes.

    Besides, it can be entertaining to make fun of the shallow aspects of these holidays, at least for me.

  85. I have mixed feelings about VD as a holiday…I wish it were more focused on generalized love, as opposed to couples, just because that makes so many people feel left out and crappy. Heart-shaped candy for everyone!

    This will be my first single VD post-(pending) divorce, and I’m pretty much ok with it as I have absolutely no interest in being in a relationship right now anyway. Also, the ex was really not one for romantic gestures, ever, so I’m not missing out on much! Plus, this weekend will be a fun one anyway; I have a haircut appointment tommorow, and my birthday is on the 17th, so my college roomie and I are having dinner on Sunday and my parents are coming to visit on Monday. The pink sparkly shit will barely be a blip on the radar.

    I might take MissPrism’s suggestion, though, and send anonymous naughty e-cards to cute boys of my acquaintance. :)

    Also, yay for Zennioptical!

  86. I like Valentine’s day–I’m not too proud to admit that I like presents on any occasion. Plus I think it’s great for people who need to make more time for their spouses/SOs.

  87. What do you do for Valentine’s Day, if anything? How do you feel about it as a holiday — is it a crock, or a nice occasion for romance? More importantly, has anything spooky happened to you today? Anything spookily romantic?

    Everyone’s ignoring the spooky questions. Although perhaps it’s too early in the day for spooky to have happened to many…

    I never paid much attention to Valentine’s Day one way or the other except in terms of kid’s valentines (which are often just the right size to make terrific bookmarks). Which hubby often gets on sale the day after Valentine’s – sometimes the kids give them out the next year and sometimes they just give them out the week after, because that’s what they want to do.

    My dad usually got mom a big box of chocolates she shared with everyone and usually a card because the first year of their marriage the two little old ladies in the apartment next door sat him down and told him that’s what he “should” do. A romantic he was not, but he’s conformist to the core. Also he likes candy and generally got the lion’s share. But it was always more about sending valentines to friends and grandparents than a big romantic deal growing up and I guess I still see it that way.

    Hubby’s a total romantic but pretty spacey so I’m more likely to get huge romantic gesture at random than on V Day. (I prefer V-Day to VD, myself, because the war metaphor seems oddly appropriate to commercialized love, considering the stalkerish behavior common to many romantic movies.) I did poke around the candy aisle last week looking for dark chocolate covered caramels, which I would have purchased for myself, but didn’t find any.

    Hubby showed as I was writing this so I asked if he had plans for Valentine’s Day, and he asked in surprise, “Was I supposed to?” Heh. Actually, he will Do Valentine’s Day however I care to define it if I tell him to ahead of time. But I rarely bother.

    I’m pretty sure he’s going to spend Valentine’s Day taking the kids to Civil War Day and the mammoth exhibit at the local Center For History, or at least I know I sent him an e-mail earlier this week suggesting that for Saturday. I may or may not go with them.

    I may or may not make heart-shaped cookies or something sometime this week with the kids; I do generally make red jello in the mold with a heart in it and put whipped cream in the heart on Valentine’s Day itself. I may or may not make a coeur de creme sort of thingie today to have tomorrow with strawberry sauce – sounds good but I have a lot of other cooking to do. I often make some kind of vaguely Valentine’s related decadence beyond red jello but it’s more about the kids than about hubby.

  88. Apparently, Catholics should be praying to St. Raphael instead of St. Valentine for help in finding that special someone. St. Valentine is for those who have already found their one true love.

    There’s really a saint for every occasion.

  89. No, Valentine’s Day isn’t a fake holiday–it’s a real remnant of a Roman fertility festival. In the midde ages, people believed that birds chose their mates on St. Valentine’s Day. So it is not entirely created by Hallmark and florists, just pimped by them.

  90. I typically love holidays, but I hate Valentine’s Day. This has nothing to do with cynicism or commercialism or any of that. I’m not hating it to be cool; I usually am the first person to get annoyed at people who suck all the fun out of holidays.

    But I hate VD because I am painfully alone. I’m single and have very few local friends save for acquaintances I’m not really comfortable around. My online friends are mostly coupled and won’t be around to talk to me, I hate crowds too much to go anywhere, and I’ll end up sitting in my room, eating cheap chocolates that taste like wax and refreshing OkCupid over and over, wishing somebody would message me. This effect will be magnified 1000 times by the fact that VD falls on a Saturday this year.

    If this were just my problem it’d be one thing, but the day I just described is the kind of day many, many single people will have tomorrow. Thousands, if not millions, of people are going to be sitting at home wondering why nobody loves them (because when you’re feeling sad and left out, it always becomes “nobody loves me”, even if plenty of people do). I don’t care how commercial or sincere or historical the holiday is. I just can’t get behind a party that only the people who are already happy are invited to.

    Also, pink and red clash horribly and I want to gouge my eyes out every time I walk into a store in February. But that’s probably a less important reason.

  91. fillyjonk: Man, that Valentine’s Day SUCKED, now that I think of it. Nothing to do with Dan, it was just basically the day I decided to drop out of grad school. I only even got the Man Chocolates because I walked out of class… if I’d waited until after class they probably would have been gone.


    That makes me want to… dang, I don’t know… hold a festival in your honor and pour oblations before a statue of you.

  92. Ouch. A heteronormative post right behind some of the really fantastic PC stuff that’s been coming out the past few days hurts pretty bad.

    Your gay readers celebrate Valentine’s Day, too.


    Well no, I walked out of CLASS. Actually my teacher/advisor cornered me right before class and had some problems with the fact that I had vocally disliked the one theorist we were inexplicably focusing on all semester, and after a little confrontation I finally said “you know what, I’ve got better things to do, it’s not like it’s VALENTINE’S DAY or anything.”

    But I did finish out the semester… you could say grad school and I broke up on Valentine’s day but were still living together for a couple of months.

    So… nothing so heroic. :)

  94. Also, for the “but celebrate love!” people: I’m a damned hippie and am all “peace and love! woo!” most of the year, but it’s very hard to celebrate something when it’s being held over your head like a stick that says “You Must Be This Tall to Be Happy”. I can’t be happy for other people when it’s being rubbed in my face that they have something I don’t, even if I’m happy for them at times when the dichotomy between Single and Coupled isn’t so strong.

  95. fillyjonk, I thought about quitting so many times when I was working on my master’s, especially the last month of my last semester. I think I scared some of the 1st year grad students by constantly saying “I can still quit. There’s x weeks left till exams. There’s plenty of time to quit before then.”

    I’m glad I went through with it and actually graduated though. It looks quite nice on resumes.

  96. My BF and I sometimes exchange a card or gift (it’s been erratic over the years since we don’t discuss it beforehand), but it’s always something we would actually *want*, like a book, or long underpants. Neither of us want flowers, chocolate or jools. Sometimes we’ll go out to dinner.

    I hated it when I was a kid as I was a tomboy and got angry about stuff that was presented as girly, didn’t notice it when I was single as I never felt any desire for romance, now it’s a reminder to be mushier than usual and express our love, which is kinda rare for us. So it’s nice, it’s feels like a little ‘love holiday’.

  97. So… nothing so heroic. :)

    Well, YOU may not think so, but I think that’s heroic. (Of course I’ve lived somewhere sub-optimal for six years and tried to kiss ass, all in the belief that there would be something better on the other side. Know what’s on the other side? More sub-optimal location and ass-kissing. And I’m lucky.) Wish I’d had the nerve to break up with graduate school.


  98. On the other hand, a local tattoo studio is doing “13″ tattoos for $13. Now that is something I might need to spend money on this afternoon… Just where will I put it?

    Is it really possible that this was asked so long ago, and I’m the first person to suggest your tit?

  99. (resuming hijack…)

    Um, because I’m paranoid about internet anonymity, let me hasten to add that I’m not peeved at either my grad program or my new job. It’s just that it seems like the bar keeps moving for when you can think of yourself as having really arrived. And to be so professionally vulnerable for such a long stretch of time – with skills that don’t translate well to other employment… I mean, hell, it’s a pretty easy life on the one hand, but anyway, those are the aspects I was complaining about. Please don’t kick me out, dissertation committee and/or new employers, if you’re reading this. (Though if you ARE reading this, might I say how impressed I am in your choice of recreational internet reading? And could you please let me know so that I can work some themes into the diss. for which I’ve thus far lacked the nerve?)

  100. My husband likes to cook for me on Valentine’s Day. Well, he cooks at other times, too, but this is his special fun day, so I really look forward to it. Other than that, we don’t make such a big deal out of Valentine’s Day.

  101. I’m not a romantic person, and I generally don’t get too into holidays, so Valentine’s Day really isn’t my thing. I don’t eat much chocolate, and I don’t like roses, and I’m not a jewelry person, and a bear holding a satin heart would just end up in my son’s tox boy, so I let my husband off the hook and we don’t exchange gifts.

    I was actually thinking of being out-of-character this year and doing something romantic, so I ordered a fishnet bodystocking and some safe-to-lick massage oil. But, it came a week and a half earlier than I expected, and it seemed a waste to let it sit in my dresser drawer, so my husband already got that treat. Other than that, I’ve got nothing.

    I’m not actively anti-Valentine’s Day, but I do find people’s enthusiasm about it (and disappointment if ti doesn’t go well) kind of inexplicable.

  102. In the realm of totally off topic, yet completely awesome things, here is a streaming video from the Smithsonian of people assembling a cupcake mosaic portrait of Obama and Lincoln. They started about 2pm, EST.

    Well, maybe it’s on topic because it’s about cupcakes, and we fatties all love cupcakes.

  103. Your gay readers celebrate Valentine’s Day, too.

    Uh, then what the hell is heteronormative about the post? The fact that SM is dating a man? The fact that she made negative references to heteronormative, gender-normative, and generally offensive cultural associations with the holiday? Because it is news to me that calling out heteronormativity is heteronormative, but if it is, then stop being so heteronormative.

    If you celebrate Valentine’s day, then maybe you would like to participate in this post by saying how you celebrate Valentine’s day, which is what the post was about. Or if you don’t, then you could say why you don’t, which is also what the post was about. There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in the post that excludes non-heterosexual couples, or privileges heterosexual ones.

    SM, something spooky happened to me today: EVERYONE WAS SPOOKILY ORNERY. Christ.

  104. Is it really possible that this was asked so long ago, and I’m the first person to suggest your tit?

    Oddly enough, the woman through whose blog I found Shapely Prose (she has it linked on her sidebar, and sang its praises one day–since she is smart, I took a look, liked it, and have visited every day since) has that tattoo and linked a pic of it. It’s way cool.

  105. or you’re supposed to be using this trumped up holiday to grovel to your man (female version) or bribe your woman with fancy food and flowers in exchange for sex (male version).

    I’m guessing that’s the part that was mistaken for heteronormativity, as opposed to the calling out thereof. Sigh.

  106. Question for people who deal with gay and lesbian oriented media – what are the Valentine’s Day ads like? Are they as prevalent and as offensive?

  107. I’m guessing that’s the part that was mistaken for heteronormativity, as opposed to the calling out thereof. Sigh.

    Reading’s so hard. That’s the real reason I quit grad school.

  108. Last year we had a bitter resentful singles party with alcohol and cake, it was amazing. This year me and 4 of my single girlfriend are going to London for a day of shopping together XD

  109. I’m rather meh about Valentine’s Day. I don’t feel sad and depressed for being single, and I can’t say that I enjoyed it very much when I was with someone — too much pressure, and since my ex kind of put me on a pedestal in general, it was the perfect holiday for him to do it excessively. Which was weird and uncomfortable.

    What I really find to be most irritating is more that going out tomorrow night would be nigh impossible, and that I’m tired of the ads. Other than that, whatever. I love my friends, but don’t feel any special reason to love them extra tomorrow.

  110. Reading’s so hard. That’s the real reason I quit grad school.

    This is probably going to be describing my whole weekend, except for the actually quitting part. I’m tired of reading anything of substance. Can I just read trash and watch TV for a few years?

  111. Can I just read trash and watch TV for a few years?

    No, if you’re too lazy to read I think you’re supposed to go around yelling at bloggers because of something you thought you saw when briefly passing their eyes over something they wrote.

  112. I’m not all that big on Valentine’s Day (single), but I do love those conversation hearts with a passion.

    And isn’t 13 also a Mexican Mafia tattoo (13th letter of the alphabet is M), or have I just been watching too much Gangland on the History Channel? But yeah, breast would probably be good. Fatty tissue hurts less from what I’ve been told.

  113. Can I just read trash and watch TV for a few years?

    I honestly think it took about two years after I left grad school before I could read a novel. I could manage to read non-serious non-fiction on non-literary subjects, but I just could not muster the fortitude to pick up a novel after my 4 years in grad school. But I pretty much could just read trash and watch TV, entertainment wise, for a couple of years. I was so glad when I could read and enjoy books again.

  114. Lori: safe-to-lick massage oil

    Lori, did the massage oil in question NOT taste like fakey lollipop flavoring mixed with the smell of bowling balls? Because if so, I’d very much appreciate the brand name.

    *looks at feet, digs toe into ground*

    For market research purposes.

  115. It definitely had a lollipop flavoring taste, but it wasn’t smelly. I’d say it was sort of like flavored lip gloss, although not quite as yummy-smelling.

    I will admit that it is called A Taste of Passion. Which is humiliating. However, I’m not generally a fan of the BJ, and it did enhance the experience for both of us. I went with the cherry flavor, and can’t vouch for anything else.

  116. Your gay readers celebrate Valentine’s Day, too.

    Or they don’t because they are alienated by the heteronormativity of the holiday. Hey, maybe someone should do a post about that!

  117. Cynicism about various holidays implies, to me, that people are seeing the superficial consumerist part of the holiday, and not making the holiday into something personal for themselves. If you don’t want to celebrate Valentine’s Day/Halloween/Mother’s Day, or whatever, then don’t.

    Why do people have an obligation to celebrate a holiday and find deeper meaning in it? Not everyone wants or needs that. This is a little patronizing.

    Personally, I do like V-Day, and lots of other holidays. The gender aspect of it drives me bonkers, and I hate all the advertising and products sold for it. I kind of dislike that everyone else does V-Day, too, actually. But when I’m in a relationship, I like little excuses to do a little something special now and then, so that’s how I treat this holiday. When I’m not in a relationship, like this year, it doesn’t mean much but there isn’t much bitterness. Well, maybe a little bitterness this time, but that’s because the singleness is recent.

  118. My guy and I usually celebrate Valtentine’s by mentioning to each other somewhere around the 12th or so, “Oh, by the way, I haven’t gotten you anything this year either.” On the day itself, we usually make a chocolate roll cake filled with whipped cream and iced with chocolate butter cream, and decorated with strawberries. But that’s really it — it’s a good excuse to have chocolate cake (as if anyone needs an excuse!).

  119. Hmmm, Lori, I’m wondering from your description if it might turn out to have the kind of taste I’d find unpalatable. (Not to knock you for enjoying it; but, like, I don’t enjoy flavored lip gloss either.)

  120. I forgot to mention I have the original My Bloody Valentine movie on DVD. It’s a must for anyone that doesn’t like VD. People getting killed among a sea of pink and red hearts, bloody chocolate boxes…it’s definitely the anti-Valentine movie!

    Stay away from Valentine though. That wasn’t all that great.

  121. No, Valentine’s Day isn’t a fake holiday–it’s a real remnant of a Roman fertility festival. In the midde ages, people believed that birds chose their mates on St. Valentine’s Day

    Linda – so Vday is another stolen holiday where the early Christian church, in order to suck even more pagans into their ranks, appropriated a Roman festival, renamed it after a guy killed in a horrible manner, and propagated the lie through the ages? Kind of like Christmas?

    Yeah, that makes everything so much better.

    Meanwhile, my grocery store already has the Vday candy in bins and the shelves are full of chocolate foil eggs! BRING ON THE NESTEGGS AND THE CHOCOLATE BUNNIES HUZZAH!


  122. Well this is a *bit* sappy, but we’re getting our ultrasound tomorrow to find out the sex of our unborn child. It’s sappy because I planned it purposefully on VDay after finding out we both (amazingly!) had the day off. Us both having a day off, let alone a holiday, is nothing short of a miracle. And we’re both excited to find out if the baby is a boy or girl.

    Then we’ll probably have chinese takeout or pizza and celebrate with excessive nudity.

  123. Random: Clip of Gwyneth Paltrow posted to I’m not getting the textual assault in the accompanying article at that link myself. Paltrow talks about how trying to diet and restrict her eating makes her want to eat everything in sight – granted she sounds a bit ditzy as she says it.

    I dunno what else happened during this interview, but she says right at the top of the clip she relies on exercise (which we just learned through the work out story the other day).


  124. *cough* Since it’s for research purposes… I recommend Palmer’s cocoa butter lotion. It isn’t quite massage oil, but it’s very cheap and available at most drugstores, it’s thick and rich and lasts a long time for massages, it smells vaguely like chocolate, and has no flavor at all.

    Obviously: do not use in combination with latex condoms. Deterioration of condom = bad. Otherwise, enjoy!

    (Link to see what the bottle looks like.)


  126. Yes, but is the cocoa butter safe for … well, internal use? I mean I would hate to spend the next week in agony because it irritated my vagina.

  127. I’m not a big fan of the day. And not because until this year have I always been perpetually single for it. It’s honestly always just been that I don’t have a boyfriend for the day that makes it painfully obvious and have to listen to my girlfriends who HAVE boyfriends (my skinny girlfriends who till recently I was always very jealous of to begin with, mind you) bitch about how they’re boyfriend got them RED roses when he KNOWS they like PINK roses sooooo much bettah and therefore must not luv her as much! I know not everyone treats the holiday this way, but being that that’s been most of my experience with it (or having to get something for my mom at the last minute because my dad forgot to) I’ve just developed a sort of block for the day.

    People are perfectly entitled to like the day or not like it, or like it or not like it in varying degrees. I’ll never understand the big debate on why one has to be better than the other or why people get so jumped up about it sometimes (seriously, coworkers lecturing me last year? not cool). It’s not a religious holiday. It’s not even a historical holiday (ok, well it sorta is both, but c’mon, how many people really celebrate THAT when then celebrate it?). So why the big fuss? What’s so emotionally invested? I guess being someone who’s not a big fan of it, I can’t understand why there are so many arguments over it (from both sides) or why people would be so emotionally invested.

    *shrug* not really directed at anyone/anything in particular, just something I realized that’s been nagging me lately.

  128. i have not, traditionally, been the biggest fan of valentine’s day. for one, you’d think since it was a catholic saint that the mass nearest the holiday would be more interesting than others, or might be about something other than paul and his damn dull letters to the corinthians. when you go to a lot of catholic masses as a kid and you’re not buying into their church so much, you’ll get hopeful at any excuse to shake things up. and in this case, you’d be crushingly disappointed, over and over.

    that’s one reason this holiday bores me.

    i also did not date in school – not because i was gay! though the catholic church seems to be a famous hiding place for closet cases – and so the holiday weirdness that seemed to have all the other girls in school worked up into a lather skeeved me out. (if you want to know, the reason i didn’t date was because i went to school with a class of less than 100 kids, 80% of whom had been there since kindergarten. it’s hard to pick a date from a small pool that all feels like your first cousins.)

    that’s reason two.

    reason three is it was the *other* holiday – besides the superbowl – that always competed with my birthday, which falls at the end of january. so if i wasn’t being upstaged by superdork sunday, i was being sent valentine’s crap for my *birthday*, which is kind of odd and annoying. especially if you’re not very girly, as i was not at that time. now i know how to find comfortable, pretty clothes that suit *me* – something that wasn’t available in the 80s, fashion that is now being irresponsibly borrowed from for today’s trends *ptooey* – so girly-ness isn’t the issue as much as the stuff just isn’t much use to *any* one. who needs a pencil painted with hearts, being hugged by a polar bear wrapped around it? which i did in fact get from a friend one time. it was impossible to conceal my disappointment.

    i’ve been paired off for most of my adult life, with the same guy. sometimes we do something, sometimes we don’t. sometimes it’s my idea, sometimes it’s his, sometimes we both totally forget, and sometimes we use it as an excuse to take a trip to a b&b at the beach that we really can’t afford. it’s another day just like life, in other words, and i can’t get worked up about it in either direction. it’s still just like life, and we love each other just as much on The Day as any other.

    when i’m around kids, though, i have fun making up valentine cards. it’s actually pretty fun just as an art project. but i like making paper chains and snowflakes and all that jazz too, so. but as a consumer holiday only? not much to get excited about, no.

  129. I’m not a V-Day fan at all, really. However, I’ve found that this year’s ridonkfest has been easy to forget about because my dad is ill and in a rehab center at the present time. I’d much prefer that I’d forget about it just because versus my old man ailing, but…blugh.

    The one thing I *would* say, though, is that I’m an odd duck in that I wish people (who generally tend to be the ones who are coupled up) would stop insisting V-Day really means “a celebration of love, be it romantic or platonic!!!!” It irritates the pants off me in a big way. I know they (generally) mean well, but being someone who is wickedly cynic and has absolutely no energy for hoo-hah, I’d much rather it just be a blatant “Cupplez Onlee” thing – don’t pat my head and be all “but loads of people love you in that platonic/familial way and that’s JUST AS GOOD AS ROMANTIC LOVE!” Yeah…I’m thinking not. (At least for me.)

  130. @A Sarah
    whatcha need is some coconut oil. the stuff that’s all solid at room temperature and comes in a glass jar, probably in the baking aisle. it’s naturally anti-bacterial! just get the unrefined stuff.

    i think it smells amazing. it’s not sweet, but it does smell like coconut, and made me think of macaroons. for a while. now i have… other associations. lol

  131. But then, there’s Valentinus, a Gnostic (that is, pre-Christian) theologian, and the Valentinianism movement that he spearheaded, which was about joining your higher self to your lower self before going before God. That actually sounds pretty cool to me. (I wish I’d known about that during all my tear-stained V-days spent all alone, maybe I wouldn’t have felt so shitty.)

    My Valentine verdict: Mixed. On the one hand, I see it as kind of like an anniversary, a built-in opportunity to renew relationship, and yeah, join higher and lower self together. Yeah, it would be nice if we had the kind of money to go out to semi-fancy dinner and buy each other gifts all the time, but we don’t. Plus I have a partner who really does not like to go out more than about once every six weeks during the winter months; we work at home, and except for bowling in a league as a favor to his kids’ grandparents, home is where he wants to be about 99% of the time in the winter. And I like to eat out. So it’s nice to get another shot at that in February.

    On the other hand, I absolutely loathe the pressure aspect (prove that you have a partner! now, prove that your partner really really loves you! buy her jewelry or you’re toast!) of this holiday. Nobody should be made to feel like a lesser form of life because they are uncoupled, or because they and/or their partner are of limited financial means. That sucks.

    And nobody should be in the “doghouse” because they didn’t get the right thing or didn’t spend “enough” money. That’s absolutely ridiculous. I can’t afford more than a modest gift myself, so as a feminist it would be highly hypocritical of me to demand that my partner go all-out. And even if I did have a lot more money than he did, I still wouldn’t expect that. C. is getting a vintage Grateful Dead book I found in Powell’s; that’s the sort of gift we exchange.

    And even the “semi-fancy” aspect of our dinner is getting toned down a little this year, at least partly because “romantic” restaurants are going to be ridiculously crowded, which we both hate. (Last year we waited an hour for a table in a McCormick’s that didn’t even have a waiting room, just standing and standing and standing in the way of all the waitstaff, and we had a reservation.) We’re going to do Malay Satay Hut this time, which is a place I’ve always wanted to try. Supposed to be terrific food, not very expensive, not a fancy place at all (kind of cheesy-looking tiki decor, which he’ll probably love), probably not a place most people would think to go on V-day. All the better.

  132. DRST:
    Vday is another stolen holiday where the early Christian church, in order to suck even more pagans into their ranks, appropriated a Roman festival, renamed it after a guy killed in a horrible manner, and propagated the lie through the ages? Kind of like Christmas?

    Yeah, that makes everything so much better.

    I prefer not to think of it that way–rather, counterprogramming is the Church’s way of recognizing that there are some human emotional needs that are constant. In Christmas, it’s the desire to have something to celebrate at the darkest, coldest time of the year. I VDay, it’s the power of eros and fertility. It’s better than Calvinism, stripped of every primal need that could be suspected of “paganism” and fed on the thin gruel of patriarchal scripture, with human and feminine elements blotted out entirely.

  133. i also did not date in school – not because i was gay! though the catholic church seems to be a famous hiding place for closet cases

    Whew, thanks for making sure none of us thought there was A GAY among our ranks! I was about to whip out the pitchforks and torches there for a second! Hey guys, not all Catholics are “closet cases”, we can call off burning down the church now! What a relief!

    (Maybe this sarcasm is a bit too drippy, but I’m bitter today, in case anyone couldn’t tell. I’ll mop it up in the morning.)

  134. Dove Dark Chocolate Hearts…mmm.

    My husband and I made separate plans for Valentine’s day. He’s going out of town to do man stuff with his dad. I was originally going out of town with some girlfriends…and now I’m staying in town with some others.

    Back when we were first together, the hub (who’d dated, but never had a girlfriend before) came to me before Valentine’s Day, kind of sheepish, and said “Um…so…what would you like for Valentine’s? Would you rather have flowers or chocolates or…” I grinned, stopped him, and said “Hon, you are not required to get me anything.” He was surprised and relieved (probably because his best friend’s wife is one who will not speak to her husband if he doesn’t go all out for VD).

    Basically…what did Valentine’s ever do for me? I don’t think there’s anything wrong with enjoying it, if you do. But as a kid, I was an ultra-romantic and frequently got teased for my efforts in that regard. And most of the time, it was just a reminder that I was single and unhappy about it.

    Now that I’ve been happily in love for a few years, I can still honestly say that, beyond my personal experiences, much of what bothers me about it is that the culture has taken something that meant something thousands of years ago and turned into one more way to sell candy, cards, and disappointment. (And believe it or not, I’m normally NOT a cynic!)

    More importantly, if the person you love isn’t a good partner, doesn’t respect you, doesn’t honor the covenant of your relationship (whatever form it takes) all year long – how is one day of hearts, flowers, chocolate, and Cupid going to make up for that?

    But if you are happy and loved and treated well, and you find that Valentine’s Day is a good way to celebrate all that – I wouldn’t expect anyone to ignore it! I hope that everyone who makes an event of it can relax and have fun…and not stress about getting every detail perfect.

  135. Valentine’s Day has always been another occasion for me to berate myself for being single. So thanks for the reminder that single does not equal loser. Oh, and thanks for this site. I recently came across it and can’t get enough. All of your posts are really inspiring!

  136. Bleh – count me as a V-day cynic. The expectations are just too high. It invariably ends up being disappointing, either because I’d get the fewest valentines (in school), I’m single, in a relationship but completely cash-strapped and unhappy, in a relationship with someone clueless who didn’t so much as get a card (last year), or in a relationship with someone whom I love dearly, and vice versa, but who is in a different country. I’m going out with some single girl friends tomorrow to have a good time on our own!

  137. My long term gentleman caller and i don’t do anything for V-Day. Partly because it’s my birthday the day after, and partly because we prefer to be a little more spontaneous.

  138. As a Latin teacher, I can safely say that Valentine’s Day was not based on any Roman festival. The fact that it occurs the day before Lupercalia did is pure coincidence. There’s this prevalent urban myth about young Romans’ drawing each other’s names by lot to be lovers for some period of time, but there is no historical evidence for this claim. Valentine’s Day as a romantic thing seems to have started around the time of Chaucer.

  139. “More importantly, if the person you love isn’t a good partner, doesn’t respect you, doesn’t honor the covenant of your relationship (whatever form it takes) all year long – how is one day of hearts, flowers, chocolate, and Cupid going to make up for that?”

    This is something I’ve always felt too. My parents have been married 30 years and don’t exactly have the greatest relationship but every Valentine’s my dad HAS to go all out or my mom will FREAK and stomp around and slam the bedroom door locking my dad out of their room like a fourteen year old. Sure, for one day, my dad isn’t in the doghouse because he bought my mother flowers and took her out on a date, but I wish more of that energy could be directed at them actually TALKING to each other to try to work things out. But patching things over on a day like today is something that’s easier in the short term so they seem to prefer it *sigh* Sorry for that big long drivel into my life but it’s just my way of saying “I agree”.

    In any case, I also feel similarly about couples who DO have good relationships. Just because it’s likely you do show each other how much you appreciate each other on a regular basis doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take another chance to do it. I just wish people would do it in more personal ways than like the jewelry commercials, that sort of thing just seems so manufactured. Perhaps next year my boy and I might do something like someone mentioned, baking chocolate goodies together.

  140. Valentine’s Day is a crock and a nice occasion for romance. But I figure every day is a nice occasion for romance, if you feel like it.

    As for spooky things, I saw Coraline today.

  141. While Valentine’s Day may be stupid, I’m a fool for it.
    (Sums some other things about me up.)

    Mr. Rounded isn’t from the U.S. He didn’t grow up celebrating VD.
    Unlike me, who grew up with my mind full of fantasies of how someday, there would be someone who would love me and think I was beautiful and want to spoil me with gifts (not even necessarily expensive ones).

    Our first Valentine’s Day together, we had been married less than a month, and I laid it out straight: There’s this holiday, it’s a stupid one, but you have no choice but to observe it. I will need 1) a card and 2) some sort of token gift. There was no threat attached, simply a need expressed more clearly than I could have imagined.

    Mr. Rounded came through with a really big card, with a long sappy poem on it which I know he didn’t read (he wasn’t at the time fluent in reading English) and a heart shaped cake by Entemann’s. Score. I realized later that I could have made up something much more elaborate, like, every Valentine’s Day, in an expression of love and devotion, all men in the U.S. ___________. (buy their wives a brand new car, give them a foot massage and pedicure, feed them chocolates by hand under the moonlight, etc.)

    I’m not really into the materialism of the holiday, and Mr. Rounded is not really romantic most of the time, and he hates doing anything because he is supposed to do it. So I’ve had to live with a deterioration of the observation of the holiday. It started with crappy stuff purchased at the gas station mini-mart. And Mr. Rounded’s birthday is just a few days away, so it’s not like there isn’t something really worth celebrating. But I’m mostly okay with not being treated like a beautiful fairy princess queen of all of the world on this day. I think the lowering of expectations is a sign of maturity.

    When it comes to little human, we do buy store-bought Valentines, and this year, candy, that was distributed to the other kids at daycare. And there was a very pretty baked-dough and painted heart that was supposed to be “for mom and dad” that when I asked who it was for, said “for me.” If VD turns into an expression of self-love, that’s okay, too.

    I love love. I’m just stupid that way. So a day where I get to be sappy and all, is good. I used to be better about sending Valentines to friends, but with everything I have going on, I don’t have the time or energy any more. I don’t know how many hand-made Valentines I could have created instead of reading all 150-odd comments on this thread, but probably not more than 2 or 3.

  142. Update: I got Dan more chocolates than he got me so I am eating his anyway.

    We decided to just buy one big box and split it next year.

  143. I used to hate Valentine’s. And then I had two really awesome ones in a row.

    Junior year of college I was doing study abroad and living in a house in England with six other girls and two boys. The guys got roses for all the girls in the house and wrote a really sweet note about how we were the only birds for them. And that night we all went out to what became my favorite pub and had a lot of alarmingly pink drinks. It was pretty early in the term and I remember it as being a great bonding experience.

    And then senior year I went to an awesome poetry reading and watched 28 Days Later with all of my friends. So… I used to be cynical, but I’d rather spend that energy on something else. I like wearing pink, I like chocolate. I’ve never had a significant other on Valentine’s. I sent cards to all my friends until the cost of stamps became prohibitive; last year I put together mixes called “Lupercalia” and “Love Sucks” and emailed them to everyone. I got chocolate for my parents and sister. I totally get why people hate Valentine’s, but I personally don’t anymore.

    ALSO. How about the fact that it’s now the touchstone of the V-Day movement and heralded by performances of The Vagina Monologues? Because that’s pretty awesome, and if there are any tickets left I’m going tomorrow night to a local performance.

  144. FJ, just from experience, if you’re both really into chocolate, you have to get a freakin’ HUGE box of chocolates to share them without anyone getting jealous. Like OMG huge. I’m sure it’s a sacrifice you’ll both be willing to make.

  145. Yes, but is the cocoa butter safe for … well, internal use?

    I’ve never deliberately used it internally, but I have occasionally used it on the mister and then he was… uh, used internally, with no ill effect, and I’m often sensitive to lubes. However, it does have a bit of fragrance in it, so I really can’t say anything about how most people would react to it – just my own experience.

    However, as a general massage lotion to be used on places you’d like to lick later, I think it works well. :)

  146. I live on a farm with 100 other people, and we’ve revamped Valentine’s Day into Validation Day. Everyone has a card made for them (if they want one) by someone else – there’s a sign up sheet – and they sit in a box in a common area for several days before the holiday for people to write in. Then today, we all take the day off, and spend time together. There will be a big dinner tonight, and at the end of dinner, someone will pull the cards one by one, read selections of what’s written in them out loud and we all try to guess whose card it is. Then we have a big-ass dance party. It’s probably my favorite holiday. It really brings us all together, cause it’s about appreciating each other, rather than constructed romance.

  147. I like Valentine’s Day but it’s always been a ‘celebrate with everyone’ thing for me. My mom always gave cards and small presents to us kids so that was the norm for me. Maybe it’s because I was never unhappily single on Valentine’s Day that I don’t have the bitter or annoyed feelings that some others do. Also, we sort of split the holiday, anyway. He’s my Groundhog and on Groundhog’s Day I give him presents and pick a restaurant I think he’ll enjoy (this year was Memphis barbecue – it was a big hit) and on Valentine’s Day he does things to make me happy. This year it’ll include helping to clean the house as we’re having guests over tomorrow and making dinner.

    We don’t really go for the whole ‘chocolates and roses and diamonds!’ kind of thing, anyway, so maybe that’s why I don’t feel the commercialized aspect represents The Holiday! or whatever.

  148. I have never had a romantic partner on Valentine’s Day and it is still my favorite holiday. Probably because of that. I love pink and red and hearts and chocolate and just general love of people you know. I usually give Valentines to everyone I see that day, because I enjoy doing it. (Should I admit that I am 35?)

  149. Maybe this sarcasm is a bit too drippy, but I’m bitter today, in case anyone couldn’t tell. I’ll mop it up in the morning.

    No, I think that was entirely appropriate. Especially since I missed the original comment.

    Whoever said that? Suggesting that being gay is shameful and using phrases like “closet cases” is really, unbelievably NOT OKAY around here.

  150. I live on a farm with 100 other people

    Dude, that sounds awesome. I’ve always thought it would be cool to live in a communal/intentional community situation. How did you come about that?

  151. yeah Jazzy/Caroline, that *does* sound awesome. With half a reason I’d move to The Farm in Tennessee and start growing soybeans

  152. Valentine’s Day report: So far today I have gone to a yoga class, and then I went to a farmer’s market up the road and bought myself some great chocolates. And then I ate them in the car on the way home for breakast. Best kind of tummy-ache!

    Plans for the day: knitting (I am 6 rounds away from finishing arm-warmer #1!), maybe cleaning, maybe working a little, probably checking email too much and wondering why internet dating is not going so well because I’m impatient. Maybe I’ll watch a movie!

  153. i also did not date in school – not because i was gay! though the catholic church seems to be a famous hiding place for closet cases – and so the holiday weirdness that seemed to have all the other girls in school worked up into a lather skeeved me out.

    Wow, and *I* got accused of heteronormativity! Seriously, this is grossly homophobic. hallie, knock it off or you’re banned.

  154. The husband and I are spending Valentine’s day running errands and cleaning the house. Because it is Saturday, and that’s what we do on Saturdays. Since my morning commute walk takes me past a candy store and a florist, and I watch a fair amount of television, I have been unsuccessful in my quest to ignore the holiday completely.

    Commercials in general are annoying, but I especially hate the diamond commercial featuring the pink little girl’s twirling ballerina jewelry box. Thanks for infantilizing me, honey! You’re the best!

    I’m not against love or flowers and chocolate, but it gets turned into a contest. Which woman at the office gets the biggest, loveliest bouquet? Or the most expensive jewelry to show off? That’s the stuff that’s a complete crock. All that baiting and guilting and bullshit.

  155. So why the big fuss? What’s so emotionally invested? I guess being someone who’s not a big fan of it, I can’t understand why there are so many arguments over it (from both sides) or why people would be so emotionally invested.

    I don’t get it, either. And this is how I always felt about weddings – I always hoped to marry as an adult, but I would have just as soon skipped the whole wedding mess, thanks. My parents had a tiny ceremony with just the immediate family (and then a reception later), and although my wedding was smallish and “austere” (as hubby described it in comparison to the next wedding we attended), I found it a hassle and I’m totally recommending the parents’ route to eldest and youngest daughters (middle daughter will most likely want a huge wedding with half the world invited and enjoy the heck out it, not because she’s that into weddings per se but because she’s into anything that involves Big Crowds Of Her Very Best Friends).

    I can get my parents’ low key approach to Valentine’s day because it fits their personality (they’re big on minor and predictable rituals in general and like to meet each other’s reasonable expectations), and I’ve had ragingly romantic friends who have an unsurprisingly ragingly romantic approach to Valentine’s, but it’s people like those Ostara describes who really get to me:

    My parents have been married 30 years and don’t exactly have the greatest relationship but every Valentine’s my dad HAS to go all out or my mom will FREAK and stomp around and slam the bedroom door locking my dad out of their room like a fourteen year old.

    I tend to think the people who’re most irrational about their partner performing the whole Valentine’s thing are those who want the sybolism to replace reality – in their heart of hearts they know their relationship isn’t right, but if they can get their partner to make the right symbolic gesture they can forget that. With my parents and my radically romantic friends they symbolism of their Valentine’s practice reflects the reality of their relationship, so they’re pretty cool about the fact that other people practice it otherwise and not that hung up on the symbolism should something interfere with it some years.

    Which is a hopelessly arrogant indulgence in mindreading by a non-mindreader, but there ya go. I’m less inclined to look askance at those who dislike Valentine’s, because I also see the holiday as a social construct just begging to be abused – rather, to be used to abuse others, i.e., “I got these tokens of affection and you didn’t” to non-romantic partners or hitting a partner with “You WILL give me this as a symbol of your love, or you will PAY” kind of stuff.

  156. The guys got roses for all the girls in the house and wrote a really sweet note about how we were the only birds for them.

    I live on a farm with 100 other people, and we’ve revamped Valentine’s Day into Validation Day.

    I like Valentine’s Day but it’s always been a ‘celebrate with everyone’ thing for me. My mom always gave cards and small presents to us kids so that was the norm for me.

    These, and the earlier mentions of taking friends to lunch or giving everyone in the office a rose/some chocolates, are the kind of V-day celebrations I can totally get behind. :D

  157. I hated VD for a long time. But now we have kids, and they’re at the age where EVERYONE gives and gets valentines. Plus, they make little crafty things with glitter hearts on them. So I like it again.
    I think adults should do that, too! We could all walk around with little paper-covered tissue boxes, handing out valentines (and receiving them too, of course!).

  158. Valentine’s Day update – I will going to a party at a friend’s house. Her divorce paperwork came through this week, and she wants to celebrate. We will be watching awesome movies (I’m bringing Hot Fuzz.) and eating delicious foods.

    Also, my Duo boots came in the mail yesterday, and they are officially my favorite shoes ever.

    My Valentine’s Day card from my parents also came. It has a picture of a baby with chocolate smeared all over her face with the caption “Chocolates? What chocolates?” The inside reads “It’s Valentine’s Day. Hope you’re up to something good!” I send this wish out to all the Shapelings. Whatever you’re up to today, I hope it’s good.

  159. Wait, waitwaitwait – A Sarah, YOU GOT THE JOB???
    How did I miss this? Or did I not and then forgot it? Yea you!

  160. Does having your wisdom teeth removed count as spooky?

    I never really noticed v-day when I was single, and now it’s just an excuse for the boy and I to give each other stuff (we’ll take any excuse for gifts :)).

  161. We just now got back from a really great Vday “family party” at our local community center. The kids were around 1-8, and there were crafts, a cake walk, a limbo dance, a sock hop, and cookie decorating. The kids and adults were dressed in red and pink and everybody participated in the various events. It was so much fun! I also hated Vday in junior high, but ever since I starting “taking it back” and just celebrating the way I want to, I’ve really loved it. Hearts, flowers, and chocolate–yay!

  162. The only valentine gift I’ve ever received came last year, from a guy I’d thought I’d made it clear to that I wasn’t interested in anything but friendship. (This was not a “just friends” gift.)


    This year? I am sitting with a towel on my head, waiting for the Caca Marron/Caca Brun henna I have slathered on it to colour my hair into a gorgeous, deep, glossy red shade. It seemed just as good a thing to do as anything today.

  163. I’ve had terrible Valentine’s Days since I was six. For different reasons, of course, but the terribleness has stayed consistent. I wish I had had the family traditions around it that other people here are describing; I think that would have made me feel a lot better about it.

    This is the first year I’ve been dating someone on V-Day, but he’s two states away and was on a hiking trip today and didn’t want to do anything for V-Day anyway. I think the worst part is that the friends I could have spent time with to make this into a good day were all busy with their SOs – it’s like “oh hey, you’re alone? Let’s take all your friends away so you’ll be REALLY alone!”

  164. It sounds like I’m one the few people who is completely ambivalent about VD (hee hee hee! that DOES make me giggle) and don’t really care one way or the other. Obviously the misogyny irritates me but as Fillyjonk has said further up, that casual misogyny is present every single day and not just 14th Feb…

    On the other hand, my hubby bought me a vert sweet card and wrote a beautiful message in it, and I didn’t get him anything so I feel quite gullty… This is after I’ve gone round telling everyone how we don’t need Valentine’s Day to show each other that we love each other blah blah blah… Now I feel like a right dick!

    Shiloh, I think you might be onto something with the ‘symbolism replacing reality’ thing!!

  165. RE: Symbolism replacing reality thing

    I think I did have a few years early in my marriage (we’ve got nearly 18 years together under our belts) where I did that.
    First, because the reality was new but since I had a husband (take that, imaginary people I was battling against who thought I would never find someone to marry me!) I was “owed” some sort of symbolic Valentine.
    A few years in, my immature self did feel like maybe it could “make up for” something that wasn’t always there.
    Yesterday, we didn’t get each other anything for Valentine’s Day. And while I might have had small pangs of envy when my friend described that her husband got her a meditation book and meditation cushion — a very thoughtful gift indeed — I remembered all of the ways that Mr. Rounded has been supportive, thoughtful, caring, loving, especially since it’s been medically necessary for us to avoid sex (not that there aren’t other forms that we could engage it other than what we need to avoid, it’s just been a rare “let’s not” time for us) — and that’s the primary way that Mr. Rounded gets the messages that we are close and he is loved and appreciated. TMI, I know.
    I guess I have a little defensiveness, but I’m trying to see my own progress. I don’t have to look far to see his love and committment, 24/7/360 — but as a romantic, imaginative and seriously lonely and rejected little girl, the desire for some symbolic red Valentine is sometimes hard to resist.
    I am hoping by saying this that we can hold open understanding of women who want to supplant reality with some symbolic roses or cards or chocolates. I know it’s corrupt, but it’s understandable.

  166. I tend to think the people who’re most irrational about their partner performing the whole Valentine’s thing are those who want the sybolism to replace reality – in their heart of hearts they know their relationship isn’t right, but if they can get their partner to make the right symbolic gesture they can forget that.

    Shiloh, this was the story of my first marriage. I was absolutely desperate for tangible and especially public signs of affection from him – from a man who thought anything like that was a huge waste of time and money – when I knew our whole relationship was on shaky ground from the word go, but was too scared to admit it because hey, at least I was in a relationship and that meant I must be valid as a woman and as a person. Even if I was desperately unhappy. Go figure.

    Perversely, I was always a lot more bothered about VD at times when there was nobody interested in ‘romancing’ me. For the last decade or so, remarried to a guy who does come up with spontaneous gestures, and not just on VD, it’s nowhere near so much of a big deal, perhaps because I generally feel more secure with him (and in myself).

    …well, OK, this year it couldn’t be a big deal as he caught my last week’s ‘flu and I had to have an abscessed back tooth out (in my case, the one next door to the already missing wisdom tooth…I got lost there, what’s with the dental spookiness?) on Friday night, so we’re not much in the mood for anything, but neither of us are about to beat ourselves up about it. And I’m pretty sure, if I know him, that sharing a freakin’ huge box of chocolates as soon as we are both in the mood is a definite probability.

  167. @ Karen – “Can I just read trash and watch TV for a few years?”

    Go into graduate work in Cultural Studies!! I’ve made an academic career out of some of the crappiest literature and tv there is. (But it’s only taken me 12 years…)O :)

  168. Weird – I don’t know where that capital “O” came from after my brackets.

    On a related note, my partner and I celebrate “Cheap Chocolate Day” on the 15th to once again re-affirm our love for sugar and sugar-related products.

  169. I am hoping by saying this that we can hold open understanding of women who want to supplant reality with some symbolic roses or cards or chocolates. I know it’s corrupt, but it’s understandable.

    Oh, totally agree. It’s not the best way to deal with it, but it’s still an expression of pain, and people in pain deserve consideration.

    Huh, also in the TMI department, I’m dealing with “no standard sex for medical reasons” and a husband who considers sex the primary indicator that he’s loved and appreciated, too. Complicated by my past sexual abuse which makes alternative approaches problematic. *sigh* Female-related medical conditions tend to be pretty anti-romance even when it isn’t V-Day, I’m thinking.

  170. I get the chilluns a prezzie or two, and some heart shaped choccies. I lurve spoiling them. I myself could care less about VD, except that my ma and pa always gave me chocolates, so I wanted my little ones to enjoy the day. For me, its more about the loves of my life right now, than being romantic. Speaking of which, I forbid dh to buy me flowers for VD because of the really stupid markup. We do however, celebrate every Friday the 13th. Being a huge horror movie fan, my dh does send me flowers for those, and we watch the (original) Friday the 13th movie. No flowers this time tho’ cause of the markup. Yuck.

  171. I spent the day at a sci-fi convention which involved a few obligatory references to Valentine’s Day but otherwise almost entirely ignored the holiday. I am, however, going to go out later today and see what sorts of chocolate in unlikely shapes I can find half-off to stick in the freezer for those icky days when one really needs cheap milk chocolate. I was actually going to get my boyfriend this illuminated edition of Song of Songs we’ve both been vaguely coveting, because he’s Just That Kind of a Dork, but I forgot. I’ll get it some other time.

  172. I see holidays as opportunities for consumerism, so I basically tune them all out. They’re treated as a series of deadlines. As soon as Christmas is past, the Valentine’s crap comes out, and then the St. Paddy’s day junk, and then Easter, and then Mother’s Day, and on and on and on. It’s really awful.

    What made me feel special this weekend was installing a ceiling fan in my office. My boyfriend did all the work — he seemed to regard it as a challenge and was even a little nervous about it — and it is such a marvelous thing. Not only does it look terrific, it works and evenly distributes the heat from the radiator.

    Now the renovations on the room are finished, and I have my own space with a door I can shut.

    So, so much better than cut flowers!

  173. Dareva: I have a first date with a new person on Valentine’s Day. This could be awkward.

    Are you Liz Lemon?

  174. Are you Liz Lemon?

    Nope, why?

    It wasn’t awkward, though; it was awesome, and we’re on again for this Friday.

  175. V Day is so overrated! Even when I wasn’t single I thought it’s the silliest thing. We’re supposed to be in love – if we truly were- every single day of the year.

    for the first time I spent V Day this year with my single mom friends at one of the girl’s house. Everyone bought something and we watched two movies while talking over them. it was the funnest V Day I’ve ever had.

  176. Eeee! I’ve always pretty much ignored Valentine’s Day because blah commercialism blah, and the…three times i’ve been with someone on the day itself it’s felt like this forced fake celebration of emotions I didn’t really have (which is far more about what I used to think I deserved in relationships than the day itself, to be fair).

    But this year I’m being taken out to dinner by the two lovely, lovely girls I’m dating when they get back from their Valentiney trip to London (that they booked just before they met me, boo timing). I am very excited! Yay. It’s still weird to me that the most unconventional relationship I’ve ever been a part of is the one that makes me feel the most loved. What’s that about?

  177. personally i don’t see much of a point to valentines day. although i tend to get really sick of all the ads insisting that i need to make my bf buy me something expensive and all of that junk. the 2 v-days that we have been together it’s not been a big deal. we just generally get each other some chocolate or such and typically just make it into a date night if our schedules allow for it. this year we had enough time that we went for a late lunch and saw my bloody valentine 3-D. it’s a lovely movie if your not much for valentines day. i just grew up exchanging choclate and such with the rest of the family so i don’t really see much point to it only being a couples holiday. it sucks how much people seem to use it as an excuse to spend loads of money that they wouldn’t otherwise.

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