Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Heart of the Matter

OK, I'm going to go out on a limb here tonight and confess a couple of things about myself.  Don't get too excited, I am not going to share my sexual fantasies or anything, although that might garner a few more readers....or not.  No, I am going to talk about Valentine's Day.

  My name is Debra and I am a Valoholic.  I like pink. I like red. I like heart shapes. I like romance. I like flowers. I like chocolate. (I don't like stuffed animals with shirts that say "I Wuv you!") - I am not completely mad!), I like that there is a day set aside to honour love. I am a sappy romantic fool. I once spent an entire Valentine's Day making heart shaped chocolate shortbread cookies and letter shapes that spelled out I LOVE YOU DADDY as a Valentine's tribute to my ex-husband from my then 2 yr old daughter.  I laid them out on the dining room table so he could see it when he got home from work. 

In primary school, I loved the collection of Valentines from my classmates. I would spend the night before that day carefully selecting the best Valentine's from the box to give to the cutest boys. The boys I thought were icky got the one's I did not like so much.  The one's that said "Happy Valentine's Day", not ever "Be Mine" or "You have my heart". God knows I did not ever want to mislead that boy who picked his nose in class all day.  But at the same time, I never wanted to exclude anyone for fear of hurting someones feelings by not getting one at all. 

My daughter once told me a story of a boy in her grade 3 class who had the courage to give his crush a box of chocolates on V-Day and she tossed them on the playground cement and crushed them (and his heart) with the sole of her shoe.  This story, relayed to me the next day made my own heart break.  That poor boy - how devastated he must  have been. 

When I was in grade 2 myself, a boy who liked me came to my house after dinner on Valentine's Day and knocked on the front door and when I looked down from the second story window of my house and saw him standing on our front porch, I was horrified.  "Why was he here?"  I was painfully shy at 7 and when my father called me to come down;  I was frozen with fear and trepidation.  I could not come down the stairs.  He eventually left without being able to present me with his card and chocolates and to this day I hope he does not think I did not like him.  That was the problem.  I did.

I have long since gotten over that timidity, but I would still be touched if a boy came to my door with a card and chocolates and I would graciously accept his heartfelt offering even if I was not interested in him.  Any gift given from the heart deserves thanks from the recipient - it's simply good manners.

There are those of you who scoff at Valentine's Day, you know who you are.  A Hallmark Holiday you say, a day where you are made to feel obligated to spend money on over-priced flowers or meaningless gifts, but is a gift ever meaningless?  I suppose if you put no thought whatsoever into it, or your heart is not in it, or you feel you are jumping on a bandwagon with the herd, however, even a gift purchased and given under duress is better than no gift at all to a girl who grew up with cinnamon heart sweetened breath on February 14th for her entire childhood.

Very few of the significant men in my past have ever been very big on Valentine's Day, so I reluctantly accepted their view on it and swept it under the carpet.  But truth be known, I always wanted to be swept off my feet on that day, and I am quite sure I am not alone.  It is ingrained in our DNA from the get-go.  Sleepless in Seattle, the Elvis Costello version of My Funny Valentine, the more recent Teenage Dream by Katy Perry and the movie Valentine's Day - the never-ending barrage of sweet sappy sentiment in song and movies and poetry - is it so wrong?  Should we pretend we don't care, vainly trying to protect our fragile hearts? 

I say no.  Open your hearts ladies!  Tell your men you want to feel adored. You want them to lavish you with attention.  You want them to step up to the plate and hit that home run into your heart. Be vulnerable. Be you. Be a girl.

Open your heart wide and let someone in.  If they don't come in...their loss.

Is your figure less than greek?
Is your mouth a little weak?
When you open it to speak,
are you smart?

Don't change a hair for me,
not if you care for me,
Stay little Valentine, stay,
Each day is Valentine's Day

"My Funny Valentine"
Lorenz Hart

A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses. - Chinese Proverb

1 comment:

Carla Sandrin said...

I have to admit, I am one of those Valentine's Day scoffers. My husband is the opposite, and against my instructions, he always buys me something. I used to make special dinners for the family like heart-shaped ravioli and a heart-shaped chocolate cake (which I'm happy to do), but I do resent the pressure people feel to go out and buy those rip-off...I mean, expensive, roses that only last for two days. Having said that, I do appreciate your romantic sentiments and I could probably be a little more open-minded in that respect!