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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

My Funny Valentine? What's so funny about Valentine's Day?

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. I know it is a day loaded with expectations- many unmet, excitement, anticipation, and even DREAD! Valentine's Day is that one day a year when people in love are celebrated with cards, gifts, poems, decorations, candy and songs. 

But let’s start from the beginning. What is this holiday that brings such strong reactions to so many? 

To make a long story short:  

"The 14th of February became a day for all lovers and Valentine became its patron saint. It began to be annually observed by young Romans who offered handwritten greetings of affection, known as Valentines, on this day to the women they admired. With the coming of Christianity, the day came to be known as St. Valentine's Day." - The Holiday Spot

So let’s examine Valentine’s Day and see where it went wrong.

Early Childhood:

Remember when you were a kid, and your class made those red construction paper valentine hearts with the white lace doily edge? That was really FUN! And don’t forget the candy and heart-shaped confections. Valentine’s Day was a great holiday to break up the nasty weather of February. Then things started to get complicated.

The Teen Years:

Once you hit puberty, Valentine’s Day became a bit more drama-rific. There were Valentine’s Day dances, cards, heart-shaped necklaces, boxes of chocolates, secret admirers, flowers and candy grams from pimple-faced young suitors. It was exciting and a little scary. Valentine’s Day was still fun.

The Grown Up Years:

Now is where the “Funny” completely leaves Valentine’s Day and it is a serious business indeed. The song, “My FunnyValentine”, by Rodgers and Hart, is anything but funny. It is actually a melancholy tune, and I can’t detect anything humorous about it. It reminds me of the “darker” side of Valentine’s Day- the broken hearts, the lost loves, the dashed dreams, and rejection. Hardly the right anthem for a day dedicated to lovers. 

For years I dreaded Valentine’s Day. Secretly, I hated it. February 14th taunted me and seemed to be that one day a year where I hated being single. 364 days a year, I was fine with it and actually enjoyed my independence and freedom, but on that day I felt very lonely.

There are such conflicting messages about Valentine’s Day. On the one hand, there is the group (mainly singles) who will preach about how artificial, meaningless, banal, and forced Valentine’s Day is, and will give eloquent speeches about the marvels of the empowering and independent single life. They hate on it mightily, and try to bring it down. Hey, I was one of those people once, and there is no reason to pretend that attitude doesn’t exist. 

On the other hand, there are those (mainly couples in love) who want to revel in the ooey, gooey, lovey dovey side of the day. This group unwittingly drives the stake into the hearts of the first group and may make them feel even worse about the day, because as we all know- misery loves company. If you don’t have a special someone in your life to share the day with, it is hard to be happy and excited for people who do. That’s just human nature.

Now the third group are those people who fall somewhere in between. They are either couples who just don’t “feel” the need to celebrate their love or relationship in the middle of February. Also, there are single people who have lots of fun celebrating the IDEA of LOVE without having to be in a relationship with one special person. Hey, whatever works! 

Personally, after spending many, many Valentine’s Days alone, some of them happier than others; I am ecstatic to have my husband to share it with. He’s not as enraptured with it as I am, but bears the strain as a testament to his love for me.

Valentine’s Day is like many holidays, you feel some of them more than others. Some people LOVE Halloween, others- not so much. The most important thing to remember is not to get completely wrapped up in something that only happens one day a year. 

So my advice to single people, please don’t hate on Valentine’s Day! No reason to have angst and misery on February 14th, and begrudge those who enjoy the day feel it isn’t a nice holiday. Single people can enjoy Valentine’s Day, or they can just ignore it.

My advice for couples- once a year you have a day designated especially for people in love, so why waste a great chance to make your special someone feel loved and appreciated by making Valentine’s Day really nice. Oh, and that doesn’t mean the rest of the year you don’t have to do nice things for your sweetheart. 

So for all who love- HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! Enjoy it with someone special, even if that person is you!

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