[This column originally appeared in the Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, edition of The Reporter.]
Since I can remember, I’ve never truly understood why Valentine’s Day exists.
Growing up, I’ve always ever known it to be my mother’s birthday (Happy Birthday, Mom!) so frankly my question is, what is Valentine’s Day?
“Oh, it’s a day of love!”
Oh, and what about every other day? Are we not supposed to show love toward people on every other day?
“Well no, but this is a special day that you take time to make your special someone feel especially loved.”
Really? I thought this was a goal set for every other day too.
The truth is, I believe Valentine’s Day is just a holiday that a poor schmuck made up.
I picture it clearly:
A true gentleman sporting a tan, three-piece suit that’s a little too big for him walks into his home, hair slicked back making the touch of gray around his temple even more noticeable. As he’s running a small speech through his head about how lovely his wife is for the 24th time, he hoists a dozen red roses and clutches a jewelry box with a diamond necklace inside.
“Happy Anniversary, dear,” he says with the charm likened to Danny Devito.
“Um, excuse me?” the wife says. At this point, her blood has only begun the boiling process.
“You surprised or what?”
“Surprised? After I ring your neck you’ll think surprised.”
“What are you talkin’ about, baby?”
“It’s not our anniversary,” she says, her blood now brought to a boil.
“Oh, yeah, I know. I was only kidding. It’s actually Valentine’s Day. I’ve decided to make this day the most special day for you every year. You know because your birthday runs so close to Christmas and our anniversary is, well, you know, not for a little while. What do you think?”
Valentine looks at the delicate flowers, then glares at her husband. She angrily looks down at the floor pondering whether or not to just go ahead and catch him in his awful lie, or just hold it against him for the rest of his life. When she comes to a decision, she looks back up at her schmuck and before she can tell him off, she sees the jewelry box in his hand and starts to simmer.
Putting on a good show, she says, “Oh my goodness, baby. That is so sweet for you to give me a day all to myself.”
Well, the next year rolls around. This guy is out buying flowers again for his wife on her “special day.” The shop owner asks who they’re for.
“They’re for my girl — it’s Valentine’s Day.”
As the man pays the owner and walks off, the owner begins to sweat. He gives a call to his buddy that owns a restaurant to set up a dinner date for two.
“What’s the occasion?”
“Haven’t you heard? It’s Valentine’s Day!”
“What? What’s Valentine’s Day?”
Taylor Beck is managing editor for The Reporter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.