Monday, February 12, 2007


I'm going to play a common rhetoric card here: I'm going to tell you that there are two camps of Valentines Day people - those who like it, and those who don't. But (surprise surprise), there's a third: those for whom the day does not register.

The people who like the day do not need to be explained. You know who you are, and there is an entire retail industry waiting to help you declare it. And good on you. Those who hate the day need no longer feel left out - the retail industry has found a way to make money off you, too.

Which leaves me and my ilk. As a single person, the day does not fill me with weepy what-ifs, or angry backlash. I understand people who see the day as a celebration of romance and love. And I understand those who rail against the commercialism, the manufactured pity for the singletons, the pressure to feel bad just because you are single on Valentines Day. But for me, the day evokes absolutely no emotions. I'm valentepid.

It's not that I am cynical about love and romance, although in movies and on TV I do evaluate them on a case-by-case basis; musical triggers and admissions of love are not Pavlovian triggers for my heart to beat faster or my breath come out in a spasm of "awwws".

I don't flippantly dismiss the day as "just another excuse to eat chocolate, hooray!" because, to be totally honest, I bought quite a few M&M's at the Bulk Barn the other day and I'm pretty tired of chocolate right now.

I used to 'participate' back in the day, but I stopped when I was about ten. Mom used to buy me those big punch-out books of valentines (the ones that had two sheets of full-coloured glossy paper ones, and ten sheets of black and red print), instead of the fancy boxes of Winnie the Pooh or Simpsons or Little Mermaid valentines. I always resented that a little bit, but I did find plenty of valentines in those silly books that I liked. Those were the ones that I kept. The ugly ones I always gave away.

My childhood crushes weren't really crushes, certainly not by Judy Blume's standards, or even by my best friend's; I had no emotional attachment to the boys I picked. My criteria were cuteness, niceness, and quietness. The first one I chose had a speech impediment and blond hair and was never mean. Very cute. The second one had brown curly hair and blue eyes. He was purely an aesthetic choice, as we had nothing in common, but he never spoke much so I was never embarassed for my selection. The third spoke quite a lot more, he had an energy to him, but he was still sort of reserved, which I liked. He also seemed like he had a brain. Braininess is hot.

So what do I really have to say about Valentines Day, if I am so apathetic? Well, it all boils down to this:

Three years ago today, someone gave me my copy of the BBC's 1995 Pride and Prejudice on DVD. For which I am forever thankful. To the DVD, not to him. Now, I don't go gaga over the Firth, swoon over Mr. Darcy (I'm a Captain Wentworth girl, myself), or fantasize about Fitzwilliam, but I do find the entire miniseries wonderfully entertaining. So many hours of schoolwork, lost to that miniseries. So many Saturdays spent with Colin Firth brooding in the background. So many pieces of popcorn thrown at Mrs. Bennet. Far too many questions about how they got the cleavage that high. Valentines Day has taught me one valuable lesson: good entertainment makes it better.

Although, I have to admit North and South (BBC version, 2005) has lately taken the place of P&P. Its like P&P, but with the industrial revolution. And Richard Armitage. He seems very brainy.


Adam said...

I'm celebrating Valentine's Day (my first single one since 2002) by drinking until I can't remember it's Valentine's Day anymore.

Lori said...

Even though I am married, I would have to say I fit into the "it doesn't register" category. (Our anniversary is fairly handy, so we agreed from the get go that we would ignore it. Unfortunately for my kids they totally miss out on it (they remarked as such to me today). Very interesting read Sarah! (Do you loan out your P&P? I don't know if I have seen it in its entirety.)

Sarah O. said...

Adam - But did you at least stay away from the cinnamon hearts? I hate them...

Lori - "Indeed I do!" (That's what Elizabeth's uncle says to Darcy when he is asked if he likes to fish. "There are tench and pike in the lake..." Darcy says in reply). My copy is currently at my grandmother's, but if you would like to borrow it I can pass it along when I get it back. Scott and Dee apparently fell asleep when they tried to watch it. Philistines! If you view it as 4, 50-minute episodes, you'll make it through.