Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Valentine's Grinch


I'm a Valentine's grinch. We didn't celebrate Valentine's Day  when I was growing up -- it was a custom I read about in old books — maybe Anne of Green Gables — I think it mentioned Valentines, didn't it? Nobody I knew gave or received Valentines. It's a relatively recent thing here in Australia, and getting bigger every year, and we grinchly types see it as something wished on us by US TV shows and cynical commercial forces who try to guilt people into spending money...

I don't like obligatory demonstrations of love. I think they should come naturally, spontaneously and unexpectedly, and not according to the calendar. I subscribe to the "Love Actually" theory of love — that it's everywhere at all times, in different forms, and I'll celebrate it whenever I come across it.

Red roses are beautiful, but the beautiful red roses that proliferate on Valentine's Day usually have no scent, and to me, that's symbolic. A rose without scent is worse than no rose at all. Give me a blowsy, tattered, bug-nibbled rose that smells glorious instead of a pristine, tightly furled perfect scentless rose any day. One is real, the other is all for show.

That said, if you're feeling truly romantic this Valentine's day — go for it. Just don't do the romantic thing because you feel it's expected of you. Genuine or nothing.