Friday, February 13, 2009

There's Nothing Wrong With Valentine's Day

Those who know me may know my thoughts on most holidays: In general, I'm against them. On principle I am against Thanksgiving, Easter (obviously), Mother's Day, Father's Day and New Year's Day (among others, I'm sure). So it might surprise you to know that I have nothing against Valentine's Day. To be honest, it surprises even me that a holiday as transparently fake and crassly commercial as Valentine's Day does not offend me at all.

This is not to say that I love Valentine's Day. I don't count down the weeks, I don't circle the day with hearts and I certainly don't wear red or pink. My wife and I don't even exchange gifts. Nevertheless, there is something charming and good-natured about the holiday. It is a day that celebrates romance and love. It generally encourages happiness and it doesn't prescribe behavior. Sure, tradition calls for a romantic (and expensive) dinner, maybe a gift of roses, candy or even jewelry. But the day is easily modified to suit every need. As I said, my wife and I don't exchange gifts, and Valentine's Day is probably the stupidest day you can ever think of to eat at a restaurant; the wait will be long, the service will be slow, the food will be rushed and, although it will cost more than usual, it won't taste as good.

I appreciate the day, however, because it gives us a reason to go out for a nice dinner - perhaps 'reason' is the wrong word, because nice food does not need any particular reason, but it serves as a reminder. Of course, we don't go on February 14th. We save it for sometime the following week or two. And the candy - wait just one day and it's all on sale!

In my vision for unified and secularized calenars, Valentine's Day just might get a pass. If there are any religious or ancient markers for this day, they have long since been forgotten. To me, the day is just about love. And what's wrong with that?

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