i wrote the other day about two of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated upon america, the starbucks thing, and the boar's head thing. tonight's epistle is not about hoax or fraud, (although i must admit there is a hint of it in the air). it's about a very odd tradition called st. valentine's day.
you all know the story of the origins, so i won't bore you with them. (a man named valentinius lived back in ancient rome, when young men, possibly soldier material, were forbidden to marry, because single guys were more willing to fight and die for mother rome, than were men with loved ones. he performed the marriages anyway, against the will of the emperor, and was found out and murdered and became a christian martyr. you did know all that, right? should i have said spoiler alert?) anyway, it was such a romantic gesture that it is suspected of being the origin.
but all of that aside, today, in modern times, valentine's day is a big deal on several levels.
1) single people of the world, who think it's a load of crap. i can just hear them seething.
let's just pick a day to make us single guys and gals feel miserable. i'm a happy person all year long, and single by choice, because i want to be, but somehow on valentine's day i can't venture out into a restaurant because i'm alone, single, and loving life, but there's no significant other on my arm and couples will gaze upon my independence and pity me. ME??? spare me your pity. think about it, people, it's one day, out of the whole year. i mean what's the point? you either love and have someone all year or you don't. why the fuss over one day? (see, there's a groundhog thing going on here. one insane day perpetuated by.....if we only knew....).
then there are the couples. they fall into categories as well.
a) new couples.
oh geez, everything is romantic to them. the moon, the stars, cupcakes for two, crying together watching lady and the tramp, (ok, the guy's a dork, but she loves him with his tears.) for them, valentine's day is an excuse to do cutesy things, that actually make the rest of us a little nauseous, but if you say that out loud, you're a curmudgeon, so we smile and kvell a little for young love and all its glory. (i actually do. deep down, part of me is a sentimental old fluff. and hey, i was young once. a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far,away.)
b) old couples
they've been together awhile. i'll get back to the gay couples in a minute. let's talk about straight couples. (wow, could i do a chapter or two about what straight men don't get, about valentine's day. the women will be cheering in a minute.). women are more romantic than straight men. period. straight men love manly things. sports, beer, golf, fraternizing with other men, (but not for sex), but including bragging, boasting, talking trash, exaggerating, and general camaraderie. kind of like grown up college boys. women are more sensitive, loving, caring, better human beings all round. (i know, i betray my own sex, but of course i'm talking here about straight men), and it's all too true.
so this one day rolls around, and the female half of the equation generally buys into it, that her man ought to show a little emotion or affection by way of a gift. a card. a box of chocolates. a surprise dinner out. some acknowledgement that he has access to her vagina. something. and a lot of guys get it, and they do it. some out of love, some out of fear, some out of i just don’t want to hear i fucked up, but they do, god love ‘em.
some don’t. no punani for them on the 14th.
c) the gays. my people. we get it. we know romantic love better than ennis del mar and jack twist (brokeback mountain, for you beginners). and it’s the same with us. some guys go all out. my friends, the ones where one half of the couple is, shall we say, a fussy eater? (see earlier blog). the two of them are so romantic. they do the nice restaurant thing, and sometimes jewelry. ah romance. it’s nice. and i love them for that. they told me today, that rather than go out to a crazy overpriced restaurant with poor service because the staff is overworked on a day like today, they bring in chinese food, set it up on the coffee table and sit on the floor in the living room, by the fireplace and have a romantic dinner. (well, they don't have a fireplace, it's florida, ok?) but they put the dvd of the fireplace on the tv and cozy up and feed each other with chopsticks. kindof chinese lady and the tramp. (i might have made that last part up.) but they're true role models for romance in the gay world.
d) the non-romantic gays. to them, it’s a night where, as a couple, there are specials at happy hour on drinks, or they cash in on valentine’s day special dinners around town, because they are a couple. but it’s a little like a free meal at denny’s on your birthday. not packed with a lot of emotion or love.
as for me, husband and i are good. we have love every day. don’t need a dinner out or jewelry. (thank god, because quite frankly, i can’t afford diamonds). we know we’re in for the long run, and that’s enough. i love him, he loves me, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. (catchy song lyric, no?)
so who’s perpetuating the st. valentine’s event these days?
hallmark? godiva? ftd? madison avenue? best buy? (i actually saw a commercial that said, buy your honey a kindle. talk about romance!) i’m not sure who's behind it, but i do know, as sure as punxatawnie phil is going to poke his little head out next year, and the huddled masses will pay heed, that there will be some cards, roses and candy circling the globe on the 14th.
so the truth is, this one’s as big a hoax as any of them. the difference is, that by the end of the day, there will be a lot of couples smooching, happy, getting laid, and renewed in their love and relationships, all for the price of a box of chocolates. not a bad deal, when you think about it.