Not really, but sort of. I don’t mean to make any brash and wacky comparisons here because the two holidays are obviously meant to celebrate two very different and distinct occasions but I have also noticed some very peculiar parallels in the way that the two are now observed.
1) Nothing says ‘I love you’ like going broke. Just like that mad shopping frenzy at Christmas time we scramble to find something (trivial) meaningful to tell the person (or people, or pets) that you love them within a 24-hour time frame. It doesn’t matter if you’re still trying to recover from the thousands of dollars in debt that you racked up in December to buy her that Cartier watch, it is imperative that on this day that she gets the Hope Diamond because you still feel guilty that you ignored her every day after she put that watch on her wrist 51 days ago. Also, the Hope Diamond should buy you some time and some “Honey Points” until next Christmas.
2) Nothing says ‘I love you’ like dead flowers and sour chocolates. Trust me guys buying flowers at Valentine’s only benefits two groups in the world: 1) the people who grow flowers and 2) the people who sell flowers. It’s a lot like Christmas trees: 1) growers and 2) sellers. Your sweetheart is going to look at the pretty, fragrant bouquet that you just purchased with your leftover change when you bought a hot dog and chips at 7-Eleven and think, “Wow thanks sweetie. I wonder what I can do with them when they’re dead in three days.” And the chocolates? You may as well buy her a Big Mac combo, super-size it and tell her that the only way that you could get more love out of her is if there was a lot more of her. Ya know?
3) Nothing says ‘I love you’ like getting into a fight at Red Lobster. If you’re planning on taking your sweetheart to dinner tonight make sure you give her enough money to bail you out when you start throwing knuckles because everyone else is ruining your special day by stuffing their faces too long and making you wait for crab cakes and the special fruit drink that comes in a glass that you’ll never use again in your life unless you have to put roses that will soon be dead in it. It’s a lot like going to Christmas dinner at your grandma’s and getting food flung at you by toddlers, sitting next to Uncle Schmo who likes to cop a feel on your sweetheart and getting into a shouting match with your annoying brother who still gives you wet-willies and dumps his leftover food on your plate.
On a (slightly) serious note, I’ve always been baffled by the bizarre practice of dedicating a single day to someone you love (or lust) when you have 364 other days to worship (or stalk) them. I’ve never been a romantic kind of guy (trust me I get annual, monthly, weekly, daily, even hourly reminders about my lack of romance) but I do know the mind-blowing difference between showering her with love and affection every day versus trying to throw together a little bit ‘o honey on a day when you know you have to treat her right because everyone else in the world is doing the same thing so you damn well better do it too.
Years ago I forgot about Valentine’s Day and it happened to fall on a day when I had been particularly mean spirited and cranky for about a year leading up to Valentines. You can imagine what it was like that entire day for both of us. She was melancholy and blue; I was a clueless jerk. When I finally came to my senses it was a lot like feeling that empty pit in your stomach after you had bought a gift for everyone else in your life and on Christmas Eve you realize that you had forgotten and neglected the only person that really, truly matters (or should).
I always forget the one person who loves me and forgives me because I am an insensitive, thoughtless moron. Whether it was at Christmas or on Valentines I kid you not – I have failed more often than I have triumphed.
So I try (really I do) to treat each day as if I will never see another Christmas and I may not make it to another Valentine’s Day. I don’t shower her with a lot of gifts on one day and neglect her every day after that until the next one. And because I struggle to be a hopeless romantic, I look for as many ways as possible to show her how utterly miserable I am without her.
Some days I may not say this but I want her to know that I am always thinking this – that every day with her is like Christmas morning to me and I don’t need a Valentine’s Day to remember what I want to be for her – a good man who loves her something fierce every day of our lives together.
Happy Valentine’s Day my love – let’s celebrate like we did yesterday and pray we can celebrate the same way again tomorrow and the next day and the next ’til forever.