Denise gave truth to the phrase “fiery redhead.” She was a really interesting, highly intelligent woman who worked part-time with me at the framing shoppe (someday I'll tell you about Denise's rant about people who use extraneous “e”s in business names) primarily as an intellectual break from her Ph.D. studies in Archeology. Most of her rants would start: “There's a special place in hell for [insert offendant here].” People who park such that they use two parking spots. People who hunt endangered species. Anything, really. Ye Olde Pubbe ande Sandwiche Shoppe. There's definitely a special place in hell for that guy.
One day she was asked what she and Paul were doing for Valentine's Day.
There is, you see, a special place in hell for whoever invented Valentine's Day.
Her argument is that Valentine's Day destroys relationships and friendships, because it's a mandatory day of love. So, lets say you have two people. Maybe they are friends. Maybe there's an attraction one direction, or the other, or both. So, what are the choices? Do nothing, in which case the other person, if there is an attraction, thinks you aren't interested and/or is hurt, potentially preventing a relationship from occurring? Do something for Valentine's Day, in which case, if the person ISN'T attracted to you, you've potentially damaged a perfectly good friendship. And what to do? How much is enough? How much is too much, reflects too much commitment? How much reflects too little? Any of these things can put a damper on a relationship or a friendship. All this angst and anxiety and disappointment so that Hallmark and the floral companies and the jewelers can make a buck.
Long time ago, I had a girlfriend. After a year, she moved to upstate New York and declined my offer to come with her. She being mostly interested in girls, we'd decided early on that it should be an open relationship, and when she moved away we'd discussed and decided to continue that way. In the year she was gone, another relationship happened. Then she moved back.
Then Valentine's Day happened.
So, when you have two lovers, which one do you choose to spend the evening with?
I decided that I would spend that day alone, willfully not celebrating Valentine's Day. Emily's been out of my life for a long time now, and I married Linda (or she married me – either way, I'm the one that got the better part of the deal), but we still hold to our willful uncelebration, our willful rejection of culturally mandatory displays of Love. Last night, I asked her what she wanted to do for Valentine's Day.
“What?!?” she asked. Then: “Ewwww.”