I will never know how it is exactly, that we morphed a holiday meant to mourn the death of a holy Roman priest, into one that celebrates a chubby cherub archer committed to love; but we did, and we celebrate them together enough that they might as well be the same guy. Make no mistake: with a holiday like Valentine’s Day you are forced to pick a side. Whether you are the type to start picking rose buds in October just to be sure you have enough to spread in the path of your loved one throughout the day (yes – there are some people like this, and yes I can hear your audible groan of disdain—or maybe that was just an Eddie Murphy movie), or are the type to stand your ground and celebrate your love affair on the 15th just to prove a point, the reality is, every relationship needs to be acknowledged (generally driven by one, but not both people in the relationship). So whether you love celebrating love, or love to smirk at those who do, there is a conflict inherent in us all.
#5 The Valentine’s Day pressure: Some relationships – and boys and girls, you know if you are in it – simply require V day to be like an NYE celebration to self. Hearts, check; card, check; the frilly and the silly alike, check and check. Some lovers will even start dropping hints a month in advance…it’s coming! Still, I suppose if there is a bright side to be looked at here, it’s this: if you have someone in your life to whom this day is important, they will likely plan for you with as much gusto as they expect in return. If they do not, well then you have every right to (not) return the favor in kind next year!
# 4 The Twitter-ing of love: Look, I am as excited about you that you found that perfect person and they did that special thing for you that absolutely made you drool with child-like love, but it does not make it any more true just because you tell everybody about it on social media. In fact, some would argue that it is the acts of love and kindness that you do in secret that actually mean more, as they are not done simply for the recognition. Plus, the phrase “doth profess too much” comes to mind here. Meaning, if you had an amazingly satisfying relationship, you would not need to tweet me about it. So, by all means, feel the love, soak it up, and keep it a secret in the spot in your heart made for such things. Our mutual Facebook feeds will thank you for it. Promise!
#3 The E-card: I know we are all eager to take advantage of the many ways in which computers and the Internet are making our worlds so much easier, but e-cards–really? Has there ever been anyone wooed by these? Stop it. You would be a fool to not be tempted by the ease and simplicity of emailing a card. But if you think this is getting you anywhere near the credit an actual paper card gets, you are fooling yourself. Love the ease, hate the application. Be a grown up and go to the store for a card.
#2 The in-between relationship: Boy this must be the absolute worst day of the year to be in the “newly dating” predicament. Now, if this is your opportunity to double-down and let them know how you feel and confirm you are on the same page, then you are going to love it. Good on ya! But if on the other hand, it is too soon for anything as serious as even a Valentine’s card or flowers, you are in the absolute awkward period. Not only can a gesture here be perceived as over-eager and perhaps scare off an otherwise willing potential partner, but if you are not with them (and of course you wont be –it’s an in-betweener, remember?) then you are totally going to wonder what they are doing that night. Did she have a date? Did he give someone else flowers? There really is no win for the in-betweeners out there. Sorry, dude.
#1 The Friend Zone: Now this one can almost seem like the previous one, but there is a significant difference. You just may actually love this person…you just don’t L-O-V-E this person. You have a relationship, and it’s a great one, it is just that the person is hoping the relationship will be more than you would personally like it to be. So what’s the plus side? Hmm, well, I guess it is nice to be cared for. It is also nice to know that somebody who you likely think highly of feels the same. Still, when they start to think too highly of you, you just might need to issue a stalker alert. When these go bad, they go really bad. They know where you live, you have all the same friends, and they know many of your most personal details. Yes, keeping a mate in the friend-zone may be one of the hardest to tackle, but you know when you know. Also: beware grand gestures on V-day, wrought from the friend zone…you’ve been warned!
Love/Hate is just one curmudgeon’s opinion about the game of love. Feel free to yell at me by mail. I will pretend it’s a Valentine and love you for it! Stay tuned next month for Love/Hate: The Gym.