Well, a less-than-favorite holiday for many is quickly approaching us, and that would be Valentine's Day. I've just gotta say, I rather enjoy Valentine's Day. And I have never had a boyfriend on Valentine's Day, so before you roll your eyes at me and think that I like the mid-February celebration just because I'm so happily in love, think again.
Here is my list of reasons for enjoying V-Day:
1. I love wearing red and pink together. I have absolutely no hesitations in mixing these hues on any other day of the year, but on Feb. 14th I make sure to capitalize on the opportunity. Particularly a bright pink and a dark red, preferably touching each other, i.e. a pink tee under an unzipped red sweater, versus a red headband with some pink socks. If you're gonna clash, do it right.
2. Free. Candy. Everywhere. Who cares if it's a box of chocolates specifically for you, there are candy conversation hearts and Luv Pops (the heart-shaped, cherry flavored suckers with Mickey and Minnie on the wrapper) just about everywhere for the taking.
3. Unfortunately the days of exchanging these are over for most of us, but the handing out of perforated cardboard valentines with popular cartoon characters on them is not against the law. I usually still receive about one valentine a year with Sponge Bob, Nemo, or a "Homie" on it, tucked in a tiny envelope with little hearts printed on it, or sealed with a sticker, and it certainly brings a large smile to my face.
4. Valentines from the parental units. While I have never had a BF on V-Day, I did receive a rose in eighth grade, and in recent years I have received a few e-cards from a wonderful man in my life, so I can't say I've never had any attention on that day. However. I can always count on a Valentine from my parents. When I was a senior in high school, Dad got individual valentine gifts for me, Mom, and Riley, and for dinner we went to Sonic and ate burgers in our minivan while it rained outside. And I remember thinking, "No I don't have a boyfriend, I didn't receive a bouquet of daisies today, but I have my whole life for that, and right now I am with my best friends, eating a burger, listening to the rain that I love so much with the people who love me the most. That's irreplaceable, and pretty awesome."
My dad gave me a valentine with Mr. Rogers on the front when I was about six years old, and wrote "To the prettiest little girl in Kansas!" inside. I still have it.
5. The opportunity to give flowers. My wallet doesn't allow for a lot of this, but I truly love to surprise and delight another with a fistful of bright color bursts. Especially when it's unexpected, be it on any given day or to someone who would never see a bouquet coming her (or his) way. Don't worry if someone says she don't like flowers, ten bucks says she'll be happy if you give her some. Even if she doesn't let loose a smile in your presence, when you leave she'll smirk. Or squeal.
So I urge you next Sunday to sit back and enjoy the day that might otherwise trigger your gag reflex. If cynical old me can do it, so can you. If the girl who grits her teeth to get through Christmas festivities can enjoy Ga-ga Google-eyes Day, then I know you can too. The reason I have a hard time at Christmas is that there is so much pressure to be happy, with yourself, your life, your surroundings, when maybe you are not. But contrary to popular belief, Valentine's Day is not, in my opinion anyway, a time to pressure you to be in love. Rather, just to love and be loved.
Because, hopefully, God willing, we all have one person whom we love, and one person who loves us. Obviously I hope we all have more than just one. And hopefully at least one of those people is within your everyday reach. Hug that coworker that makes you giggle on Mondays, taking away the sting of exiting the weekend. Kiss that dog that worships (and pees on) the ground you walk on. Call your g'ma, the so oft forgotten sage who loves you to pieces. Eat candy, create ridiculous sentences with the candy hearts (i.e. "My Hero, So Fine: Email Me. Get Real, LOL."). Watch a sappy movie and lust over the lead actor/actress. You can even attend an anti-Valentine's Day party, as I am actually in full support of such an activity, just as long as you are having fun with other people in the process and acknowledging that you are lucky to love and be loved, even if it is not in a way that makes you particularly google-eyed.
And finally, wear your most impressive mix of red and pink!! Make me proud! Hint for the gents: wear a collared pink shirt or tie, the ladies will love you for it. Soooo hot!