Valentine’s Day – Not so nice for many

Tomorrow is V.D., uh, Valentine’s Day. This makes people think of love, romance, running through the snow, (or meadow if you live somewhere with warmer climates than we in Toronto) chocolates, roses, diamonds, candlelit dinners….Well, let’s take another look at this so-thought of auspicious holiday.

I guess what I like least about this holiday is the guilt people are made to feel by those wishing to guilt-trip people into buying lavish gifts, dinners, etc. just in the name of so-called romance. And if one doesn’t come through, they are made to feel awful, even those only dating a short while. Didn’t we exchange lots of presents only a month and a half ago? Aren’t those who put said gifts on their credit cards still trying to pay off those expenses? Don’t we also give at birthdays and for those in relationships, anniversaries?

As well, aren’t many of us trying to lose the weight we gained at Thanksgiving and Christmas? Do we really need candy? And have a look at the cost of flowers before, during and after V.D. Wow, businesses really know how to make a killing on roses, etc. And just try to get a reservation if you waited too long, so you can celebrate over a romantic dinner; and if you do get a reservation, the bill will have been marked up considerably, just because it’s Valentine’s Day. You know, like how the airlines ding people when it’s Christmas or March Break. (just a little sidebar; years ago I spent the week prior to Christmas at Club Med in Puerto Vallarta. I gleaned the menu for Christmas Day, which was the day after I was due to go home; not a word of a lie, it was literally double! The meals, the drinks, all double, just because it was Christmas Day. I didn’t even bother to see how much it would have been to fly there! And the food didn’t look any more wonderful than that which was served prior to and I’m sure shortly after this holiday.)

But there’s another demographic that is affected by this day; those who have lost their significant other, those who are caring for a once vivacious spouse who is now in the last months/days of their life and are suffering; a mere shadow of the person they once were. Also, those for whom their relationship recently concluded, those who are and have been for some time, alone.

And how badly would one feel if they bought a really nice gift for their loved one, and received either something simple, or worse, nothing at all? Then everyone feels lousy, and that’s the end of a romantic event.

I would also like to tell of something which happened to me when in elementary school. On one V.D., I believe I was in grade 4, I had a little crush on a boy named Peter. The teacher had rearranged our desks in a circle so students could dance to the music she provided, and we all had little plastic baskets filled w/ candies on our desk, and later we would all have cake and iced cream. Peter was sitting next to me, and told me he’d have asked me to dance…but I was too fat! I look at photos of myself at that time, and truly, I was not fat, at least I wouldn’t be considered fat today; but maybe as I wasn’t stick thin, I was considered fat.

So, that day was ruined for me, so let’s fast forward to the following year. We students were encouraged to exchange V.D. cards w/ our fellow students. The popular kids got countless cards, and I sat at my desk, waiting, and just when it all seemed hopeless, a card appeared on my desk when I wasn’t at my desk for a moment. It wasn’t signed, but I later found out from whom this was came, and to this day, I am grateful to a sweet lad who grew up to be a wonderful man, twin brother, son, husband, father, friend and educator. His name is Bruce Behrnes, and I have been fortunate to have reconnected with him through Classmates.

I apologized to Bruce, as he did this without letting anyone know as kids can be so unkind. I put it away and didn’t tell anyone, but the next day, after I’d left the card at home, some of the kids teased me as the only person not to have received a card. I said I had, and they didn’t believe me, and I said I’d bring it in the next day. Well, what a rat, eh? I told my mother about this, and I swear she hid the card as I never could find it, and the next day, thankfully, the matter had been forgotten. Again, Thank You Bruce, for being such a caring, thoughtful person, and I am so sorry I almost embarrassed you, for though you hadn’t signed the card, somehow I found out it was you who gave it to me.

So, for all those who are happily in a relationship and have the dosh to splash out on expensive, needless gifts, bottles of wine/Champaign and dinners, have a wonderful, happy, loving day. But for those who are not as fortunate, take heed…St. Patrick’s Day is fast approaching, and you can drown your sorrows in either some green beer or a green McShake at you-know-where!

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