Here’s the issue with Valentine’s Day, from my perspective.
Christmas is a behemoth of a holiday. It starts the day after Thanksgiving and is emotionally and physically draining until the last piece of ham has been eaten or the last present has been opened. When it’s all done, and you’re sitting amongst the wreckage of your home, cluttered with shiny paper and dirty dishes, you’re overcome with this secondary toll. It’s over. Every Christmas you have to break up with the holidays.
Then you get a quick burst of energy in the New Year. You pretend that life can be okay again as the alcohol slowly leaves your system, as you ween off the cookies, as you attempt to be a better person, this time for real. Then a week passes and you’re left with the rest of January, sitting amongst your renewed sense of regret and despair for who you could have been. Why, Jesus, why didn’t you ask Santa Claus for responsibility or productivity or better organizational skills or for Marie Kondo to adopt you and whisk you away into the land where socks have feelings?
So you’re left looking at your life like what is this piece of shit and how many days are left until Christmas.
Then poppa Valentine comes in.
Want chocolate? He’s got some. Just as the mid-January funk starts to take toll, the grocery stores roll out aisles and aisles of pink and red candy. It’s okay to eat chocolate, he says. You tried really hard not to. And you can rationalize this because you can never get assorted truffles any other time of the year. Not to mention those little heart candies that say bullshit like be mine or ill never leave you that sound mildly like they came from a Justin Bieber song entitled Stockholm Syndrome. You’re back in the Skinner Box, baby, and you’re pressing that lever to get all the good feelings.
Back in the 1950’s, the imaginary time where everyone believes things were good, people just loved Valentine’s Day. I can say this and you’ll believe it because everything in the 50’s was great if we forget about women’s rights for a sec. So in the 50s people loved Valentine’s Day and it was actually a day to celebrate love. But then politics was invented in the 60s and a whistle blower told everyone that Hallmark was benefitting from the lonely and the depressed. Now you can’t even mention Valentine’s Day without someone being like ohhhhhh it’s a total shaaaaaaam man, they just want your money.
I prefer the happy mid-ground. I’m not going to kill myself with chocolate truffles because, let’s be real, you can buy truffles any time you want. You’re just looking to feel validated because you failed at your resolution and you miss that jolly holly feeling. But I’m also not going to complain, because life is what you make of it, and Valentine’s Day really can be about love. It can be about love, it can be about sex, it can be about friendship. It can be about sending everyone you know snail mail S.W.A.K. because you just want them to know that you care. It can be about engaging with the people you see out and about on the street. I can be about smiling, just sitting all alone in your room, like a wacko, because you’re happy. Just because.
Valentine’s Day is less than a month away, which means at this reading you’re probably in one of three camps. Your Christmas tree is still up, you never had a Christmas tree, or your Christmas tree has since been deposited into the place Christmas trees go to die. You probably need a little pick me up. Make Valentine’s Day that pick me up. Create a Valentine’s Day Plan. Create it now, because you’ll get busy, as people do. Are you going to send out cards? Are you going to buy yourself candy? Are you going to mail yourself flowers and open them at work like gosh, blush, feigned innocence. Will you buy your partner a token of affection? Escape for the weekend to a hotel? Go on a nice long walk? Make a steak? Don’t let Valentine’s Day take you by surprise. Instead, make Valentine’s Day yours. Think about what Valentine’s Day means to you, and make it yours.
Have a question about sex or love? Submit at www.suggestivetongue.com/ask or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For Valentine’s Day this year I’ll be sending out a small number of cards, reminding people I like them alright, and top it off with a hot bubble bath. Looking for gift suggestions? Keep an eye out for my yearly gift guide.