14 February 2006

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hated Valentine's Day when I was teenager. As is the case in most American high schools, every girl -- single and attached alike -- spends all day hoping and wondering if she will get flowers. Finally, during the last period of the day, the lucky ones receive a slip of paper from the main office that tells them (and, by inference, everyone in the room) that they have a bouquet to pick up in the cafeteria. Ah, woe unto the boy who fails to make that key purchase for his girlfriend, as it is never an optional expense. You can kiss your relationship goodbye if she doesn't go home with an armload of roses and baby's breath.

Of course, all of the single girls get sick of going home empty handed pretty quick. As such, they learn to "revolt" by dressing in black on Valentine's Day to boldly make the "who needs love, anyway?" statement. In truth, all of these "goth-for-a-day" girls just wish that they were carrying the "oh-so-lame" floral display home, too. (Trust me, I know. I used to be one of them!)

What makes matters worse is the fact that Valentine's Day in the US is hyped for at least a solid month before the actual day. I'm sure it would be promoted longer, but Hallmark hasn't quite figured out how to manage marketing Christmas and Valentine's Day at the same time. I know everyone complains about the commercialization of holidays, but I never fully realized its effect on me until this year.

Normally, Colin and I don't really celebrate V-Day in a big way. (One memorable year, he bought me gourmet chocolate-covered strawberries, despite my insistence that it wasn't necessary.) For me, the months of promotional advertising and merchandising that US companies do ends up sucking the life out of the holiday all together -- the givers are stressed out from rushing around and shopping for the "perfect gift" that doesn't really exist, and the receiver ends up with unreasonable expectations that can never be fulfilled. I'm just ready for it to be over by the time it arrives.

Fortunately, the Parisian businesses don't feel compelled to over-promote, so I actually felt romantic enough to go to Lenôtre and splurge on a cream-and-fruit cake in the shape of a heart. In turn, Colin surprised me with some gorgeous roses and a box of Lenôtre chocolates:

But the best part was that none of it seemed contrived. I wasn't expecting anything, and neither was he. The holiday wasn't hanging over our heads for weeks. It just came today, and we both actually felt un-jaded enough to make thoughtful purchases to express our affections.

So, here's to love -- real love, not the kind that you can buy in a box at Wal-Mart.


At 15/2/06 03:43, Anonymous keely said...

oh, man. and imagine it's your BIRTHDAY.

first, when you're a kid, it's like insane. the v-day bombardment in stores starts the day after christmas. when you're 6, it's hard to understand that there's still a month and a half to wait.

then, when you're in school it's like everyone's either boy/girl focsed or wearing all black to protest your poor birthday! everyone's GLOOMY. it's depressing.

and finally!!! no matter how old you are, it is IMPOSSIBLE to go out to dinner on your birthday. there is a four hour wait at even the OLIVE GARDEN. and when you're a kid and on your birthday you get to PICK where the family goes out to dinner, that is a big fat downer, i've got to tell you.

so tonight? we're going out for pizza.

happy valentine's day, amy and colin :)

At 15/2/06 13:40, Blogger amy7252 said...

ps Happy birthday, Keely!!

At 15/2/06 14:26, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I truly hope that you kept that awesome chocolate away from Didge!


At 20/2/06 06:24, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cue the "Theme from Ice Castles"



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