When I asked my boyfriend for advice on my looming Valentine’s Day column, he told me I should make fun of sluts. At the time, I thought it was the gin talking, because what does that have to do with Valentines? After a couple days of my own sober reflection, however, it has all started to come together. Maybe Cam wasn’t so off-base. In the name of St. Valentine, this week I will bash the hos, haters and head-cases that take the fun of V-Day down a notch.
I don’t know why everyone gets so bent out of shape over Valentine’s Day. Yesterday I was at Starbucks waiting in line to fill my daily caffeine quota and found myself watching two freshman girls ogle a tray of heart-shaped cookies on the counter.
“God, as if February isn’t bad enough,” one grumbled. “It all has to climax in Valentine’s Day.”
Pardon me, but how do people manage to become so embittered before they can even legally drink? Leave it up to 21st century cynicism and upper-echelon academia to sulk with true virtuosity in the face of any celebration.
Listening to their ensuing conversation was like stumbling into a Chekov-meets-“Clueless” fusion of doleful self-pity and valley-girl histrionics — in short, where being single might actually be the end of the world.
Griping about Valentine’s Day is really unattractive. The first thing that goes through my mind when someone starts unleashing a Valentine’s vendetta is that they are either a) incapable of making their own fun or b) so emotionally crippled that a holiday about love makes them go Mr. Hyde.
For me, V-Day is more Jane-Austen-meets-Miss-Piggy. I see Valentine’s Day as a valuable — nay, vital — celebration of our own hedonism. Unlike most holidays that at least profess to commemorate certain critical issues or events, Valentine’s Day has no such hang-ups. It’s actually about lying around in a negligee and eating bonbons. So, like a devout worshiper of St. Valentine, come February 14th I slip into a coma of giggly self-satisfaction that can only be rivaled by the likes of Anna Nicole Smith. Yes, Valentine’s Day has been commercialized, but that fact just makes this little hedonist’s heart go aflutter. As my muse once said, “We are living in a material world and I am a material girl.”
I have no tolerance for people who try to make this day difficult for couples. Don’t be that kid who asks me what my boyfriend and I are doing for Valentine’s Day and then makes me feel bad for answering anything other than “breaking up.” I don’t mope around the whole week before Mother’s Day obsessing about how childless I feel, or whine that Veterans Day only exists to rub it in my face that I never saw any action in ‘Nam. A relationship, like motherhood and war, is hard work. Holidays don’t come free.
I think the main problem here is that the idea of the steady relationship has been totally romanticized, especially in college circles. I’m all for monogamy, but it’s important to understand that it’s more than just lying around re-enacting scenes from “Pretty Woman.”ÊUnless your sweetheart happens to have a suite at the Beverly Wilshire, for the average Yalie single beds and double rooms keep conventional couples feeling about as hot and spontaneous as nursing-home patients. That may be why long-term daters are an endangered species at Yale, and why they’ve been replaced by a new, distinctly collegiate crop of non-committal friends-with-benefits seekers.
Odds are 2-1 that dealies like these damn the friendship and 10-1 that the so-called “benefits” never add up to anything like candlelit dinners and candy hearts (benefits my ass), but that doesn’t seem to be a deterrent. Yet for those throw-backs who still mean “couple” the old-fashioned way — supplementing ritual drunken groping with long-term snuggling and squabbling — Valentine’s Day is but a rare chance to reap the true benefits of all that hard work. Go ahead, throw that homebody roommate to the curb and trade the likes of Eli’s Breakfast Sandwich for more aphrodisiac dining fare.
This focus on true feelings is one of the many reasons why the fact that 2/14 is fast approaching should not inspire you to hooch yourself out just to secure some flowers and candy.
“Oh my gosh, Valentine’s Day is two weeks away. I need to find a Valentine!” No, that’s not how it works. Forget choosing a boyfriend, it takes me longer than 14 days to decide which every-day handbag to buy. Cramming a year’s worth of sexual acts into the first two weeks of February does not constitute a long-term relationship. There is no such thing as an insta-mate. Plus, that approach may end up allowing you to celebrate Mother’s Day while you’re at it.
In closing, allow me to impart the advice that has made my past 20 Valentines memorable ones:
Ask your mom to be your Valentine. Just trust me on this one, it is not half as lame as having a Valentine who you don’t recognize outside the strobe lights at Toad’s. Your mom is your first love. Your mom will never say “Happy Valentine’s” with a wink, a kamikaze shot and a slap on the butt. Your mom will not only let you spend the night, but she will make you yummy pancakes for breakfast. And she won’t even think you are a pig when you eat them the way you really want them — with peanut butter. Plus, you won’t have to put out. Now wouldn’t that be nice?
Will you be Liz Gunnison’s valentine?