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The Love-Hate Holiday

By On Feb 10 2010, 10:34 pm

As a romance writer, I know Valentine’s Day is supposed to be a sort of personal national holiday, like Veteran’s day for vets. But it’s only a few days away, and already I’m feeling the dread. I admit it … Valentine’s Day and I have a love-hate relationship.

I was single for many years, and when you’re dating, V-Day is like D-Day. It always comes at an awkward time in a new relationship. You agonize over the perfect gift for your potential new boyfriend, something that shows you’re interested without coming on too strong. You worry whether he’ll even realize it’s Valentine’s Day. After all, men can be blissfully oblivious to the onslaught of pink in store windows and the sudden profusion of commercials featuring hearts and sappy music. Is it denial? Procrastination? Blindness to the color pink?

If he does remember, you then have the task of interpreting his gift. Do red roses mean passion, or were they on sale? Why doesn’t he know you hate milk chocolate and are allergic to nuts … what future do you have with this man?? Sigh. Valentine’s Day can make you crazy.

And then there’s the competitive aspect of V-Day. Who got the biggest bouquet delivered to them at work? Whose boyfriend sprang for a spa day, while another got tickets to a boat show? On the day after, it’s all about the war stories. Who went where for dinner, who got a gift certificate to their favorite shoe store … who had the hottest sex.

I know it’s just a day, just a random twenty-four hour period that we’ve decided, as a society, to turn into a high-pressure test of the state of our love lives. I know true romance is about the little everyday things, the random “I love you’s,” the foot rubs, the replacing-the-toilet-paper-rolls. But damn it, there’s something about the big dramatic gesture that we romantics crave. I want the Godiva chocolates and bouquets of tulips and surprise dinner reservations. I want the diamond earrings and skywriting and tickets to Paris. (Hey, I can dream!)

Thankfully, those days are behind me. I’m now in a wonderful relationship that has already survived three Valentine’s Days. I believe we’ll coast through number four. Because as a romance writer and a woman in love, I do believe in love. I believe in romance. I’m just not sure I believe in Valentine’s Day. But I’m keeping an open mind.

Juniper Bell

http://JuniperBell.com

Comments

3 Responses to “The Love-Hate Holiday”

  1. Frank Tuttle says:

    As a lifelong male, your comments on Valentine’s Day struck a nerve. Or maybe a femur. I always get those mixed up.

    But, in an effort to help out non-females everywhere, I’d like to offer my own list of Valentine’s Day Don’ts for Men. This list was garnered from many years of trial, error, and occasional restraining orders, so I hope some find it helpful.

    Valentine’s Day Don’ts:

    1) Flowers are an acceptable, traditional gift. But those flowers you find left in attractive urns in cemeteries will NOT suffice on Valentine’s Day.

    2) Dinner and a movie, if a bit unimaginative, remains as a viable option — as long as the movie in NO WAY involves the words or phrases Steven Segal, ‘of the dead,’ or ‘strippers from Hell.’ Too, dinner should at no point revolve around a drive-thru window.

    3) Remember to open doors for your date on Valentine’s Eve. The exception to this rule is the door to the ladies’ restroom. They get really upset about that.

    4) Make your evening meal a memorable one. Enlist the help of the restaurant staff; they’re suckers for a romantic display, and really they’re the only ones who can authorize a hot dog eating contest at your table anyway. Ladies love a winner!

    5) Order a bottle of wine with your dinner. Avoid wines with twist-caps or labels that display fists or barbed wire. anything that sounds vaguely French will be fine, as long as you don’t order two snifters of fancy cologne by mistake.

    6) Make this night about your date. If you should run into male friends during the course of the evening, greet them briefly but don’t engage them in long conversations. If you do arm wrestle at your table, spit out your chicken wings first.

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

  2. PG Forte says:

    Oh, this was great! I think this post is going to have me chuckling through the weekend.

    I had no idea the holiday was so competitive. The things you miss out on when you’ve been married forever. ;)

  3. Juniper Bell says:

    Frank, you had me laughing out loud! You’ve provided a valuable public service, and we non-males thank you for it. Now if you can just disseminate this information among others of your kind …. ;)

    PG, believe me, you don’t know how lucky you are with that long happy marriage of yours! Here’s wishing you many many more happy Valentine’s Days!

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