Monday, February 09, 2009

Too Much Pressure for Valentine's Day?

I'm not wild about Valentine's Day.

I'm not sure why. It's not as if I'm haunted by tragic childhood memories, or anything. Our mother used to buy my siblings and me medium chocolate hearts and set them on our dinner plates. (She set a big one on our father's dinner plate.)

My parents bought each other mushy cards every single year. Sometimes they'd go out and, unbeknownst to the other, buy the same card.

They had a happy marriage all year round, so they hardly needed a commercially-mandated holiday to show their affection. I didn't understand it. Still, you might think I'd develop more respect for the annual day of love and romance.

I just never did.

Maybe it's the TV commercials that imply that if a man doesn't present a woman with just the right token on Valentine's Day, he'll never have sex again. Or the ads that make people who won't be on the receiving end of a gift feel defective (um, I've been there).

Then, there's that dinner thing. I love to go out to eat (and do almost every chance I get), but since I've been in a relationship, I avoid restaurants on Valentine's Day like a sinus infection. Oh, we tried it: wedged into a tiny table in a sea of tiny tables, stuck with an abbreviated menu (magically missing the particular salmon dish I actually wanted to eat), having to endure don't-let-the-door-kick-you-on-the-way-out service.

Nah. We'll eat at home, thanks.

But I have to admit, Peter and I have had decent Valentine's Days, for sure. One of the best on record had us -- pre-children -- making English muffin pizzas before heading to Tower Records with the gift certificates my brother gave us for Christmas. (At the time, we were aggressively saving for our first house.)

We've upgraded from English muffins since then, but by now you've probably figured out that our marriage hardly provides a boost to the diamond industry. Other women feel differently, of course.

I mean, obviously.

And, judging by all the lingerie displays we come across at this time of year, Valentine's Day is also a commercially-mandated day for sex. (This cracks me up.)

But maybe you -- like much of the rest of the population -- really do enjoy Valentine's Day, and you're wondering what the heck to buy that guy of yours. The Today Show reports that lots o' ladies plan to offer frame-worthy photos of themselves in their new lingerie this year.