Thursday, February 14, 2008

valentine's day

Hi, Happy Valentine’s Day!
Mmmm, I just had a dream…
(I’m smiling…what a sweetie…) about?
I was rebuilding a machine and I got a call telling me of a mafia connection…
Well, Happy Valentine’s Day to you anyway…
It’s just a Hallmark holiday!

Clarification: Hallmark was founded in 1910; according to Wikipedia, St. Valentine’s Day was first described much earlier:

The first recorded association of Valentine's Day with romantic love is in 1382, by Geoffrey Chaucer:
For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese
[choose] his make [mate]

..written to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of King
Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia. They were married in 1381. He was 13. She was 14.

True, these days, I understand that one billion Valentine’s Day cards are indeed sent out to (one hopes) loved ones worldwide.
And guess who is not getting one?

OVERHEARD (later):

Richard, hi, this is Ed. I need that instructional video on repairing a spindle…Yes, great. Tried to call you last Friday. Oh, you took the afternoon off? To be with her? So what are you doing for Valentine’s Day? You got her a card? And body oil?
(how nice!)
Me? Oh, I did nothing. (big grin)
(and proud of it)
And proud of it!

Okay, okay, we’ll go to the mall and pick out a card.
(forget it! who wants to pick her own card?! and support Hallmark in the process?!)

I ask my students: how many of you think Valentine’s Day is silly?
I count hands. Half the class.

I note in the front office at 11 a.m. three staff members are receiving dozens of roses from their husbands. Wonderful.

But then:

I promise you, it’s okay. I rented a romantic comedy from the video store. I do not mind watching it alone tonight so that you can spend time with your cats.

(Why this incredibly conciliatory tone on my part? Because in exchange for not celebrating St. Valentine’s, my occasional, indeed, these days VERY occasional traveling companion offered to head up north tomorrow. For the hell of it. To embrace the outdoors. Soooo sweet! And yes, we're mindful of the snowstrom predictions. Oh, Wisconsin!)

You want to go to the mall and buy t-shirts?
(I’m charmed. My occasional traveling companion hates malls, hates shopping, clothes acquisition, spending money, using fuel… He must be thinking: it’s Valentine’s Day!)

At the mall we encounter men looking (belatedly? desperately?) for something to give to their (deserving!) sweetie.

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lace? lotion?

Victoria’s Secret and Godiva chocolates are doing well.
Elsewhere, we buy the t-shirts and are almost ready to head back…

Say, do you mind if we stop at Sears?
I want to see if they have their computer operated wood milling machine…

They do.
Five minutes, okay?
At least it’s next to the exercise equipment. I go through an entire upper body work out program before he finishes studying the details.

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We head toward the Great Dane Pub. He eats a salad, I eat a hunk of meat. Sometimes, just sometimes, we don’t conform to gender stereotypes.