The pressure to affirm one’s love can be all-consuming, and if you don’t believe me, ask Bennett Madison, author of I Hate Valentine’s Day. The stress is particularly acute in people like me, who once paid to have an Italian violinist join the table with my wife and I at Valentine’s. Oh, not to play the violin. I paid him to sit with us, because I couldn’t think of anything romantic to say and I figured old Mario must have a gondola full of sweet nothings he could rattle off. Plus, it kept my wife occupied while I went outside and made a few business calls.
So last year about this time, I resolved to get the work-life balance right. February 14th started off like any other day. I got out of bed, stepped outside to fetch the Wall Street Journal, let the dog lick my face, and once again realized I had set aside a moment to kiss a germ-laden quadruped before planting my lips on the woman to whom I pledged a lifetime of tongue kisses. I was going to go back to the bedroom and wish her a Happy Valentine’s, but I didn’t want to disturb her, and besides I needed to get to the Mad Money I’d Tivo’d the night before. But I had a plan. I would finish up my work early, and surprise her with some gregarious outpouring of affection, guaranteeing a passionate evening of love and re-connection.
Well, nothing like a business dinner with a prospective client running late to take your mind off romantic love. For some reason, staring across at a balding, middle-aged Senior Vice President of Amalgamated Widgets with body odor and halitosis made me forget all about Valentine’s Day. It was 9:15 before I realized my faux pas (a softer way of saying another phrase that begins with “f”), and try as I might I could not find a flower store. The next option was chocolates, and the nearest possible outlet for that was an all-night drug store, which is sort of the retail equivalent of body odor and halitosis. They had one box of heart-shaped chocolates left, but the checkout guy was kind enough to point out that he had already bitten into half of them to see which ones were the orange cremes. So, it was going to have to be a Valentine’s card. Just my luck, they were cleaned out. So, arriving home at 10:30, I presented my wife with a darling little card reading “To A Special Birthday Boy Who’s Six!” Needless to say, I spent the remainder of my Valentine’s with Jim Cramer, courtesy of Tivo.
This year, I’m not going to make the same mistakes. I have already bought my wife a card. A “Get Well”card.” Inside is a desperate urging that she try and heal the bile coursing through her system since last February 14th. Sometimes, those writers at Hallmark really nail it.
TOP THREE TAKEAWAYS
- Valentine’s Day can be a stressful holiday. Especially if you’re an idiot.
- Flowers, chocolates, cards…these are all corporate ideas of what affection means. But they sure do the job when you happen to have no idea what affection means.
- Use Valentine’s Day as a reminder that love is needed all year round. You may now gag.