A male friend of mine recently referred to Valentine's Day as "the most contemptible of all the holidays," and he's right. To put this in context, both of us are married.
I can think of lots things that are romantic: A vase full of gorgeous daisies on a Monday, Frank Sinatra on the stereo, or hot pancakes and coffee waiting on a Sunday morning. Expressions of affection at gunpoint aren't romantic. And neither is a day that, as far as I can tell, exists only to make singles feel bad and help drugstores unload surplus Whitman's Samplers. When I hit Publix last night to buy Valentine's Day flotsam for my kids' classmates, I saw a few hapless men standing in front of the picked-over greeting card display. It was clear that they were expected to show up with something, but their hearts weren't in it. I felt sorry for them.
My husband and I used to do the dinner-out thing on Feb. 14, but we finally realized that waiting 45 minutes outside of a Carrabba's was a crappy way to say "I love you." I didn't like the stench of obligation or the idea of an overpriced bauble purchased at the last minute. That's what Christmas is for. Besides, it's way hotter when he buys me a magazine I don't have or insists I sleep in on a random Saturday.
If it were up to me, those grim-faced guys in Publix would be off the hook today. Because either they're already good partners to their significant others, in which case no roses are needed, or they're hoping a $2.99 card will somehow make up for months of emotional unavailability and unfulfilling sex. Call me crazy, but I don't think it will.