Prisoner of Love: The Valentine’s Day Shuffle
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Or, um . . . not. The Naked Truth is that not everyone is crazy about Valentine’s Day.
When I was a young kid, it was an excuse to eat ooh-gobs of candy hearts. A real hallelujah went up if someone in the house scored a box of chocolate-covered cherries and was willing to share. And I don’t know what happens in school these days, but back then everyone in the class gave and received a card from everyone else. For that day alone, disagreements were suspended and even math geeks and word nerds went home with a backpack full of “please be mine” cards. I will admit to choosing the cutest cards for my BFFs, but it still felt good to hand over a Valentine to—and receive one from—kids I didn’t hang with in the course of a normal day.
Once elementary school was behind me and I entered middle school, things changed. Valentine’s Day cards still made the rounds, but not with everyone in the class. And a Valentine’s Day card from a middle school boy often included some gross comment or insult which, I was assured by my mother, meant he held me in high esteem. By high school, Valentine’s Day had begun to mean different things. Couples exchanged cards and stuffed animals, maybe candy and flowers, too. If you weren’t in a relationship, then boys were either off the hook completely or used the day as an excuse to start something up. Girls with and without boyfriends enjoyed the day by exchanging cards and candy with friends, because . . . candy hearts and chocolate. Valentine’s Day never gets old as an excuse for enjoying some of that.
By the time I reached my 20s it was clear that Valentine’s Day brought with it obligatory actions. The hubster was no slouch, and I always received flowers and/or candy and sexy/sweet cards. I also did my share. One year, when he worked for Hyatt Hotels, I decided to send him a singing telegram. It turned out to be too costly, but the person on the other end of the phone suggested I send him a joke basket instead. Sounded like a great idea. They promised to deliver it right to the front desk. This particular gift basket was called The Prisoner of Love, and I was assured it would be well received. Now, this was back in the mid-80s, buttercup, so no internet. I didn’t get to see this thing before I placed the order. Anyway, it was delivered to the front desk of a swanky Hyatt, topped with a bevy of floating heart-shaped balloons. The hubster was in a staff meeting when it arrived, so it sat at the front desk for who knows how long, during which time all of his hotel colleagues had the opportunity to peek at this thing. Turns out it contained chocolates, handcuffs, a riding crop, edible undies, and I don’t remember what all else. My man didn’t know whether to be embarrassed, proud, or afraid to come home.
As the years passed, we agreed to spend our Valentine’s Day budget on the kids instead of on each other. And honestly, after working with a few women who not only expected an expensive gift from their other half but would be angry if they didn’t receive one, my taste for Valentine’s Day shut down. I’d rather receive a gift from my husband unexpectedly on some random day than to receive anything on Valentine’s Day out of obligation, though I know many couples happily celebrate. There is that candy and chocolates thing, right? And if you add that it’s also a great reason for a nice dinner out, then what’s not to like?
So, for some people Valentine’s Day is this:
For others it’s this:
And others hide under the covers until the 15th.
Which best describes you? Do you have a Valentine’s Day story to share?
No matter how you celebrate the day, I hope you have a happy one! Thanks for hanging out with me. See you next week!
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