I am friends with the anti-Christ of Valentine’s Day. Every year, he plasters his office door with cute little signs proclaiming, “St. Valentine Was Beheaded” and “Valentine’s Day is a creation of the floral industry.”
When he was a single guy, I thought it was a brilliant move. Hey, ladies, you can have this guy, but you’d best know, upfront, he ain’t spending a dime come February 14th. You’ve been warned.
There’s a politically correct version of Valentine’s Day now. Some use the date to celebrate S*A*D.
Single Awareness Day.
That’s right, celebrate your singleness. Who needs a soulmate when you have six feline friends and a house that smells like cat pee?
If you don’t live alone, though, Valentine’s Day might come with some guilt.
“What? You say you love your wife, yet you won’t spring for a few flowers or a handful of chocolates?”
On the other hand, couldn’t you – shouldn’t you - use that day as the one day out of the year you actually brought her some flowers?
There’s some conflict there.
I don’t feel an obligation, but this year I bought flowers. In fairness, it was only because we were out of ketchup. (We need ketchup, and the grocery store also sells flowers, so while I’m here…)
I also bought beer, but the beer/wine aisle is right beside the floral department. That may not be just coincidence.
I used to think buying Valentine’s Day flowers from the grocery store instead of the local florist was a complete cop-out, a version of running down to the drug store at 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve to do your Christmas shopping because it was the only place left open.
And what woman wouldn’t appreciate a bag of red and green candy corn and some toenail clippers?
Anymore, though, the grocery store is the local florist. In my neighborhood, it’s the only place left to buy flowers.
Some yellow roses caught my eye, and my wife, herself a yellow rose of Texas, prefers them to red roses, so I was in business.
In my defense, I could point out that Valentine’s Day is not the only day of the year I buy flowers, and that would be true. But it’s also true that I was buying them on that day because it was in fact Valentine’s Day, and the flowers would be the extent of any sort of recognition of the occasion.
What’s happened? What brought us to this? Used to be that Valentine’s Day was a day a guy might ‘get lucky,’ so any effort was worth it.
Nowadays, getting lucky is finding a quarter in the parking lot.
It’s not that time just wears us down, nor that we don’t love our mates. Those are not problems in our house, anyway. Sure, we both suffer from a lack of creative ideas, but mostly, it’s that we don’t need anything.
The whole digital shopping thing hasn’t helped. It’s hard to compete with a computer and a credit card. Anything that pops into my brain as necessary or amusing, I buy it. A couple of months ago, I got the bright idea that we needed a new knife sharpener. Hello, Amazon!
You needn’t think I’ve used it. I don’t even know where it is.
It’s good that my wife thinks the same way. I’d have never thought to buy her a lovely jar of deep tissue moisturizing cream designed especially for the neck no more than she would have thought to buy me some cacao nibs for making a steak rub.
So, there I was, waiting in the checkout line with this odd assortment of items that probably would have attracted some attention, anyway. But being Valentine’s Day, I could just feel other people gawking at my basket and thinking, ‘At least I’m not that guy.’
Or perhaps, ‘At least I’m not married to that guy.’
I have considered that Valentine’s Day occurs too close to Christmas. In our house, we really don’t do much for Christmas anymore, either. Other than eat like starving baby pigs.
Maybe I was buying the flowers out of guilt. Guilt that manifests itself as a loud booming voice screaming at me to DO SOMETHING! JUST TRY, FOR CRYIN’ OUT LOUD!
So, I formulated a Valentine’s Day poem.
Roses are red,
So are your lips.
Didn’t get you no chocolate,
It’d go straight to your hips.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to use it. Hard to beat roses, ketchup and beer.