Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Valentine's Day Conflict

For those of you who know me for my fiction, that title sounds like I'm about to write something sensational between two people set on Valentine's Day. Unfortunately, this is far from sensational, unless you consider the act of someone else reflecting to be sensational. If so, you'll find this quite titillating.

I am of two minds about Valentine's Day.

Okay, this isn't that surprising to anyone really. In fact, I'm fairly certain no one born since the advent of the 'Hallmark Holiday' aren't at least a little conflicted about it. On one hand, it's really nice to feel special and having an entire day devoted to the celebration of romantic love seems like a wonderful idea. Let's paint the town red, decorate with roses to the ceiling, and put ourselves in a chocolate coma from all the confections. On the opposing side, shouldn't a romantic relationship be consistently celebrated? Should my significant other have to spend a great deal of money to prove something on this particular day? Flowers die. Candy contributes to weight gain. Cards become clutter. It's all just a ploy by the various industries to cover a slow season in their calendar. In short, you have the romantic view and the cynical view. Both are equally valid. And they both exist, at odds, inside my head.

I am seeing someone and I dropped this entire conversation on him, which I can guarantee was not something he was looking for. It started with a question about why I was having a bad day. I admitted to being upset that we didn't have anything planned for Valentine's Day. (Come to find out he had arranged something and hadn't told me what it was. Still hasn't. I guess I get to be surprised.) However, that wasn't the end of my discomfort. The discomfort was further magnified by my internal critic reminded me that I SHOULDN'T care about Valentine's Day. Was I not a liberally educated woman who understood from a marketing standpoint that Valentine's Day only really existed to hock jewelry we don't need, cards that aren't true, flowers with an expiration date, and expressions of love from a gender who were not often given to the idea of expressing anything on the softer side at all. (I realize gross oversimplification, but stick with me.) So I knew/know in my head all about Valentine's Day and why it isn't something I should be putting a lot of mental energy into, yet I still wanted (really, really wanted) to take part in this ridiculous ritual of Western consumerism regarding romance.

The man in my life assures me he had already considered the fact that Valentine's Day is important to women. Yes, those are his words. I simultaneously swooned and jumped up and down with rage internally at that statement.

Needless to say, I was unhappy after the fashion of a person handed two buttons, and being told that while they both lead to assured destruction I have to press one.

And why am I talking about this? Because I know I'm not the only one. I just want to hear from others who understand this interior conflict like I do. Comment. Tell me I'm not alone.

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