Valentine's Day Dupery
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because if you think you can relax and coast through this holiday, our resident ranter has some hard-earned advice you need to hear.
By Eugene S. Robinson
Feeling pretty good about yourself, aren’t you?
Like that’s going to work. (This is what we professionals call “sarcasm,” meaning it’s probably not going to work at all.) You got the chocolates. Maybe some roses. Sure, these might be sort of hackneyed picks for Valentine’s Day, but you can easily pull off the neo-post-modernist snarky take on the day, and say that by going so traditional, you were really ironically making a nontraditional statement about, well, something or other.
Look, Valentine’s Day is really the chilly icing on a cake that, if you’re in a relationship, you’ve been baking since November. Thanksgiving, to be exact.
You’re already in a flat slide toward a holiday that’s deceptively slick, sublime and very, very dangerous.
Yes, all of those normative Norman Rockwell-isms about family and togetherness start cooking in full force around the holidays. It’s enough to try one’s soul. And if you make it through Thanksgiving, you have Christmas or Hanukkah to worry about. Which is predicated on the right collection of gifts and gewgaws delivered in the right order. You’ve heard about a picture being worth 1,000 words? Well, a well-chosen present: worth way more than that.
Which means, if it even needs to be said, that a poorly chosen present can be a semifatal stagger in an otherwise even-keeled relationship.
But if you make it past Thanksgiving and the December holidays, you still have New Year’s Eve to contend with. As everyone worships Janus, the god of beginnings and transitions, who invites a look back at the year peppered with underwhelming relationship involvement from you, guess what you’ll look forward to? Being dumped by the wayside. But please, pour on the bubbly, don the hats, toot the noisemakers, and join in the fun and enforced frivolity.
Before you can even forget the falling balls and the midnight kisses, the “I LOVE YOUs,” whether you meant it or not, you’re already in a flat slide toward a holiday that’s deceptively slick, sublime and very, very dangerous. If your temptation is to soft-sell Valentine’s Day, beware. If your temptation is to think, “I’m so good the rest of the year I need not do anything earnest for this ‘Hallmark Holiday,’” beware. If you’re thinking your chocolates and roses are going to work, beware. Because you are so, so wrong.
The solution? Go absolutely NUTS on Valentine’s Day. You have nothing to lose, and very possibly everything to gain. And if you make it past these straits so dire? Smoooooooth sailing until November.
Like a 27-inch Zenith: Believe it.