Valentine's Day was the hot topic of conversation yesterday. Yes, I know it's weeks away, but regardless I figured I'd go ahead and write about it too. My fondest Valentine's memory is from my childhood; I remember that my mother, who wasn't a big cook, made three heart shaped cakes iced in pink, red, and white (and one would have another heart shape inside of it formed with red hots) for my class several years in a row. It always made me feel special.
And for me, it's still a holiday best celebrated with baked goods and cheesy cards (preferably homemade--a heart cut from red construction paper) shoved in a shoe box (or now a-days in my mail box). If I'm going to receive a store bought card, the sillier the better. My favorites can be found in select grocery stores--they are in the "relationship" section and say the most ridiculous things and ramble on in italics for two pages. Sometimes they detail an apology (some clearly for a cheater) or a remembered encounter ("recalling your enticing scent and your gentle touch. I'll just have to remember the taste of your honey kisses.").
Anyway, I'm stealing from a post (check out those comments; they were on point) I wrote over a year ago that mentioned VD (my mother's nonmenclature for the holiday, which I find hilarious) and an e-mail exchange (on VD 2005) I had with a friend of mine to best sum up my thoughts on VD:
"With no disrespect for your cookies or cupcakes, I personally score Valentines as the nadir on the holiday score card. The crass commercialism generally makes me feel like I ate a Hamdog [a hamburger with chili, cheese, bacon, etc. that is served on a Krispy Kreme doughnut]. Perpetuating the notion of it being a barometer for romance makes it the most ironic of holidays, as I see it as the asylum of the intrinsically unimaginative and unromantic. It only wants a heart shaped tub and a bottle of cheap champagne in the Catskills to reach perfection. Forgive me the cynical venting; I had to keep a stoic stance going all day as the kids still think it's cool and I'm against jading them prematurely."
"Although I agree with your scathing review of Valentine's Day and have often said that it is a Hallmark created holiday promoted by florists who charge 3x their normal prices (and deliver subpar products), restaurants that are overcrowded and overextended, and the candy industry, I don't think VD is all bad. My take is that (1) any holiday on which you are encouraged to give/receive candy has some value, (2) if that is what it (sadly) takes to get some people to be nice to others, then it is better than nothing, and (3) I look good in pink, so VD provides yet another designated day on which I am to wear that color. Plus being sour grapes doesn't change anything and watching men scramble around the mall/grocery store is entertaining. So I refuse to buy cards or flowers or go to a restaurant on VD, but I still make a card for my niece and eat a few chocolates."
Ok, the few part is a lie. Anyway, does anyone have any fond VD memories? One year I did end up with the all-out date because my friend Sam (remember him--the girl woes after four dates?) had been on a date or two with a girl in December and given her a Christmas present in the form of ONE ticket to The Lion King for Valentine's Day. Needless to say the girl was scared off. So I ended up enjoying the nice dinner and musical with Sam that year. But usually, relationships or not, I prefer low-key and would rather enjoy a nice restaurant on a night when it's not packed and receiving flowers on a day when every other woman in America isn't (or I'd rather receive something a little less cliche--last year I think it was Fiji water, a cashmere sweater, and a cute top from J Crew that was exactly something I would have picked out--all the more fun b/c I didn't).
p.s. If you've ever been to Chile, I'd love to hear about it.