Is it me, or is there an obnoxious Valentine’s Day marketing push this year? When did Russell Stover start making commercials? And those burly blue collar guys revealing their wives’ bloodlust for cheap chocolates – give me a break. The Flowers.com commercials are equally as annoying. They have these totally dickish guys talking about how easy it is to order flowers, the full price and how many orders they’ve made. One guy made 24 orders. If you do the math at thirty bucks a pop times 24, that’s a whopping $720! But what is more unbelievable is that he looks like a total dork which leads me to believe a) he has a lot of sisters, or b) he rivals Ron Jeremy in the goods department. Perhaps most disturbing of all are the Vermont Teddy Bear ads. Who in their right mind pays $50 for a stupid teddy bear dressed in lingerie? Are women really that crazy? I don’t think so.
Maybe I’m so cynical about Valentine’s Day because it is the day my parents were married. My parents – Helene and Paul – quite possibly the most dysfunctional pairing since Lucy and Desi – whose marriage, separation and merciful divorce spanned three decades. My father was big on the holiday. Every year he’d bring my sister and me boxes of chocolates, cards and flowers. It was our special time, an acknowledgment of his love for the three girls in his life. And my mother, well she’d get expensive jewelry (as is Sicilian style). Only she wasn’t interested in trinkets and baubles. What she really wanted were the two things that my father could never give – fidelity and a financial security. So one day when I was nine, he left, and I stopped getting Valentine gifts. To this day I still have the last card he ever gave me. It’s big and pink and full of glitter with cut-out pieces that form a tiara and paper jewelry – because I was still his little princess then. Are your eyes welling up? Go get a Kleenex, I’ll wait…..
So anyway, such is the triteness of my childhood and the reason that I never put too much stock in the holiday. I often remind my husband to thank his lucky stars that he has indeed married the coolest chick he will ever meet in this lifetime or the next. Usually we just exchange cards. Occasionally he’ll get me flowers, though I think their prices are way too jacked up for Valentine’s and usually by the time he gets around to buying them they are half dead. He’s not the best flower picker but he has other more redeeming qualities. This year I let him know that all I really want from him is a love letter and to refrain from farting in the kitchen. When I told him I wanted a love letter he looked at me as if I’d just asked him for a kidney. The terror in his eyes was that of a dog who for no reason has just been kicked in the gut by a trusted master. Couldn’t this be better expressed in a clever card or perhaps more physically? No. It’s a love letter or nothing. I don’t care if it’s on a post-it note. Will I receive this much coveted article of ephemera? Probably not. I guess I’ll have to be content with a flatulence-free dinner and maybe a slow dance in the living room. But even that beats a
fucking teddy bear! Vermont