Today is Valentines Day. Valentines Day is kind of a funny thing. I'm not sure there is any day of the year that is more dislike by a large number of people. I mean, pretty much everyone in America likes Thanksgiving, because we all really like to eat. We like Christmas because we like getting stuff. We even like St. Patrick's Day because we like to drink. But for many, Valentines Day doesn't have the same sort of appeal. Single people don't like it because it reminds them that they are single and are doing crossword puzzles on their computer all night while others are having romantic dinners at Red Onion, or at least getting a heart-shaped pizza from Papa John's. Guys in relationships don't like Valentines Day because it is significantly detrimental to their life savings thanks to the obligatory flowers, candies, dinners, movies, etc. So as I see it, the only people who like Valentines Day are girls that are in relationships, because they like to watch sappy movies and eat overpriced pasta. And what idiot decided to start letting them control things?
At least in elementary school, Valentines Day has some redemptive value in that my class would always have a party in the afternoon, which meant less spelling and math and more eating nachos and drinking soda. Of course, the festivities also included the valentine exchange. What made this difficult was that each person was required to give a valentine to every other person in the class. This always created several problems for me. First, being such a romantic as I am, I felt my love was being put in a cage by forcing me to give a valentine to everyone in the class. Is forced love really love at all? Second, I just felt weird giving valentines to other dudes. And third, I was unsure of which valentines to give to the people in the class I just wasn't very fond of. I mean, it was hard enough for me to keep all the girls in class from falling in love with me, and I didn't want to lead anyone on.
And yet, I miss the days when romantic relationships were simple enough that my biggest worry was which Transformer-themed valentine I should put in each person's tissue paper-wrapped shoebox. Over the past several years, I don't think there has been anything that has made me more confused, frustrated, and generally irritable than the whole guy/girl sphere of life. If anybody out there reads my blog but doesn't actually know me, they probably imagine me as a tall, dashing man with a chiseled chin and rippling deltoids with a charming personality and quick wit. But the truth of things is that I'm really pretty odd and awkward and a little socially inept, and I tend to say things that offend people. So all of that doesn't bode very well for me relationally. (If you want to hear more about my social ills, go read the post "Bystander Effect" that I wrote in November). But it's all okay, because it at least gives me things about myself to laugh at. In my idiocy in turning down an invitation to go to Starbucks with a girl I liked because "I don't really like coffee that much" at least gives me a good story to tell others.
So for all of you odd, awkward, socially inept, offensive people out there: I hope you had a fantastic February 14th and that you had the opportunity to feast on plenty of those chalky candy hearts that we all eat at this time of year, even though they're not even very good.
A final thought: I think the reason that many people get so excited about holidays is that it allows them to really focus on a specific thing only one day of the year when they should be doing so everyday. For example, we celebrate Thanksgiving, but we're probably not thankful enough the rest of the year. We celebrate Easter, but we don't think about Jesus enough every other day. And we celebrate Valentines Day. It may be that we don't love very well the rest of time.