Tuesday, January 23, 2007

In my neck of the blogosphere,

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:

He wrote:

"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."

My response:

"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.


PeeJ said...

Oh my, Valentine's Day cropped up here too yesterday. As a freelance subversive I feel it's my duty to send as many as possible to cross-wire my colleagues at work, "Needful Things" style. Yes I know, it's not the point of valentine's day but it is quite funny to watch people getting a valentine's from "the smelly guy who is a little too fond of trains and bicycles from the cryogenics dept"

Best three things to be on Valentine's Day

1) A card shop owner
2) A restauranteur
3) A flower shop owner

Superb blog, mind if I drop by again?


Ryane said...

My best memory of VD is from elementary school, when my mom would bake cupcakes and frost them w/pink frosting. That was always so much fun.

And you are right--a holiday that encourages giving candy can't be all bad. I guess on paper, I Completely agree w/the poster who said, 'VD is a holiday for the intrinsically unimaginative..." But I think with the right attitude/BF/GF/friends or whatever, it can supersede tired conventions and be a fun time.

Aaron said...

I believe the best Valentine's were when we were MUCH younger. It seemed to mean more to me then. Perhaps I'm too jaded now? Although, I've been known to still make cards out of construction paper and crayons. :)

Ally, will you be my Valentine?
[ ] Yes
[ ] No

Jeff Price said...

mmmmm….baked goods and red hots!!

A fond memory would probably be the year I took Amy to Philly for Valentines, which was our first together. We went to the ballet and had a nice dinner at some fancy restaurant. What made it special was not so much the ballet itself or the dinner, but the little details of the night that accompanied those events that were unforgettable and ours to have forever.

P.S. You should definitely say [x] yes to Aaron!

Accidentally Me said...

I don't really remember Valentine's Day as being either good or bad. Usually they were just days...with extra candy. So that's good...

Anonymous said...

I always thought Valentine's was a pile of hooey...I don't want someone to dance around with roses and heart shaped chocolates because Hallmark says he should...something small and original is best..a bouquet of daisies for no reason and we're good!

allbilly said...

My ex-wife gave me a guitar for Valentine's Day before we were married. It was by far the coolest, most well thought out, biggest surprise I ever got on Valentine's Day. She was really good at gifts.

Jordan said...

well.... I got married on Valentines Day. I don't "hate" vday.. I just think it's way overrated and I love the way my ex father in law described it to me (for the reason he doesn't celebrate the hallmark day". His actions were loud as well, he would give the ex mil flowers and chocolates and take her out to dinner in spurts (usually once or even twice a month) just to say "I love you.. and appreciate you". How sweet I thought that was. I guess I just adapted his view after observing their relationship and just stuck with it. I'm not anti-vday... but I think it fits in best with exchanging cards and vday hearts at school. those are probably my best vday memories (school age).. and for my kids too because it was so much fun picking their cards out for them to exchange with classmates, also making little treats attached to the cards. If someone wants to buy me something for vday, it's not like I'll vomit right then and there...but let it NOT be the only day they do that and vice versa.

that was long. sorry!

Still just me said...

I don't care for it much now, but in high school, my first love picked a rose out of someone's garden for me. He was chased down the street by the homeowner for picking her flowers. It was the greatest gift ever!

Allen Madding said...

A guitar? Now that is rocking the V-Day. Was it a Taylor?

Ally said...

Pee J: Thanks. You're welcome to any time. I like the idea of being a "freelance subversive." Maybe I should send out some "secret admirer" Valentines:)

Ryane: Agreed. Creativity, attitude, and a little thought can go such a long way.

Aaron: Nice work. Send me a contract explaining what being your "Valentine" constitutes, and after a careful review, I'll negotiate terms and conditions of such status:)

Jeff: I love red hots!! Sounds like a very sweet VD.

AM: It seriously took me over ten minutes to remember past Valentines. And I only remember a few.

Ruby: I like small and original and/or funny. Small gifts that make you feel like someone really "gets" you even if it's just your favorite cookie.

Allbilly: That sounds like a very nice gift....and one that lasts (unlike the chocolates I devour).

Jordan: I liked putting candy in the envelope with my card. I like the picture you paint of your ex-father-in-law. Sounds like he got it right.

Still Just Me: Funny how a stolen rose can be such a fond memory--lots of $$ clearly not required.

Allen: Agreed.

e.b. said...

In law school I left little cards and candies in my girl friend's mail boxes (law school is dorky like that). I accidentally forgot to sign the cards so they appeared anonymous. They all were so curious and confused. It turned out to be a nice little game - to this day I have not told them it was me.

ella w. said...

My best Valentines to date was when 5 friends and I threw a VD Party(yes, as a double entendre) in NYC. It was the same night as some sort of awards ceremony and a few celebrities showed up afterwards. I was such a star fucker back then (not literally, but you get the idea).

Kimberly said...

Reading that description of the Hamdog made me feel sick. that is the grossest thing I've ever heard of!!!! What a hilarious email!

brookem said...

I remember when I was little, getting together with my cousin, great aunt, and great grandmother (random combo, I know), and making Valentine's Day cards together. I still buy the little envelope kind for my friends.

Ally said...

e.b.: Fun! I loved getting fun stuff in my mailbox in law school--but a secret admirer would have been even more fun.

Ella: AM was hoping that was literal...but alas. Sounds like a fun party!

Kimberly: You can have a hamdog at Mulligans in Atlanta; personally I'll stick with a normal bun. They also serve fried twinkies.

Brookem: That sounds like a nice memory. All of this VD talk is making me want to go get some of those little cards and send them out.

cdp said...

Your e-mail exchange above is hilarious. VD (great term, btw) generally is not one of my most favorite days. My favorite VD memory is also from when I was little. One year my mom stayed up late and made me and my brother the prettiest hand-drawn and decorated cards (mine had a bunny rabbit). Art is NOT her forte, but she did such an awesome job. I still have that card somewhere.

Grown-up VD has generally been a letdown. The Ex apparently never caught on to the fact that you are occasionally supposed to do nice things for your wife (on holidays or any other days). It's been a while since I've had a "real" Valentine other than him. Even when one is dating someone, I still think it's a crap day. Too much pressure. Too much opportunity for guys to err on the side of cheap jewelry, cheesy flower arrangements, and awkwardly worded cards. Blech. Maybe my feelings will change this year.

Great post, Ally.

Ally said...

cdp: How sweet and what a nice memory...I'm feeling inspired to pull out the glitter and construction paper. And yes, VD is awful tempting for men--to pick up some red roses from Kroger and put little thought into what they're doing.