I have a theory. A completely unscientific, never-tested theory. But one I think is completely valid anyway. And here it is: Your attitude toward Valentine’s Day depends almost completely on where you’re at in life.
If you’re single, you hate Valentine’s Day.
It is a reminder that you are, indeed, alone. It makes you wonder if you will always be alone. You spend the day picking at yourself—blaming your hair, your smile, your weight, your laugh, your everything—for your Valentine-less existence. You inwardly rage at every heart, flower and chocolate that you see. You make elaborate plans for your evening—plans that often include either excessive partying with other singletons or hours on the couch with decadent treats and tear-inducing movies.
If you’re dating, you love Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day is, after all, a chance to lord your non-single status over everyone else. Public displays of affection are not only encouraged, but required. You glory in the beauteous floral arrangements delivered to your place of work. Wear your best lingerie. Maybe even get one of those Brazilian waxes. You spend a night out on the town, or in the arms of your lover. You are in heaven.
If you’re married, you feel obligated (but not really inspired) to acknowledge the holiday.
Money spent on flowers, candy and expensive dinners are no longer a sign of your man’s undying love. It’s money that could be better spent on groceries, or bills or well, less expensive dinners on nights when the service is less likely to suck. Your nice lingerie is probably crumpled at the back of a drawer. And if it’s not? Well, there’s a good chance your spouse washed it—and that’s not very sexy. Still, you try, but it’s far more likely that you’ll end your evening collapsed in front of the TV than curled up in bed.
If you’re the parent of a small child, you actually enjoy Valentine’s Day.
Children under five are perhaps the only people on the planet who celebrate Valentine’s Day with the proper spirit. Since everyone is still their friend, they don’t worry that their Valentine box at school will be empty. Instead, they gleefully direct the card distribution process, concentrating on the color of crayon used to address it rather than the message inside. Hugs are freely given, chocolate is consumed and everyone is wished a Happy Valentine’s Day.
And although as a parent you’ll inevitably be called on to deal with a post-sugar high, now-cranky child, for a few moments, you’re reminded that love is a beautiful gift that should be shared—not a commodity to be sold.
(However, I’m sure my husband would appreciate it if I made an effort to find the lingerie).