Weekly rant 18.2.2012
Valentine's with a vengance
Ah, this week the choice is very easy. It is not every day that you have such a prime target like valentine's, the second red merchandizing spectacle of the year. It has been long enough since Christmas, and we need something red to pump up the chocolate slash flowers slash teddy bears market.
I never understood how they managed to hardwire red to shopping in our brains, but it is like a matador waving a big 'sale!' sign in front of us, and we have no choice but to charge. That's what credit cards are for. (The fact bulls are color blind and the whole red cloth is a myth is not important at the moment. )
Now, what do you have against valentine's you might ask. Well, I tried to keep it in this year and not go on my usual verbal rampage and massacre of fluffy animals with "I WUV YOU!" signs, but if you already asked, I will tell you exactly what I have against valentine's.
But first, let me be nice for a minute. After all, I don’t want to be the Grinch who stole valentines. So let me tell you what I do like about valentines. I have always been a big fan of legalizing prostitution.
Unfortunately, or fortunately thanks to my Jewish origins I am too cheap to actually pay for said services, so am not really a potential clients, but the establishment seems to have a solid business plan since the dawn of history, so might as well make it legal like they did in Europe and some of the US states.
How is that connected to valentine, you ask? You sure have a lot of questions today, but it is ok, I will explain. Valentine is one of those few occasions in the year where there is an unsaid agreement that you get a nice dinner, a rose and a fluff bunny. In return, you get some.
I know, I know, let me answer before you even ask – so how is this different from any other date? Well, first in other dates you don’t really try that much. You shaved. You put on some deodorant and a clean shirt. That should do the trick. On valentine, the game is on, the show has started and you know that if in the first act there is a rose on the wall, by third act someone is going to get lucky.
So that's good. The rules are clear, all is set up from the start. It is indeed an improvement.
The problem I have with valentine is that somehow it is connected to love. Or at least to the romantic delusion people call love, prince charming has come to town. But don’t be surprised if by midnight he would turn back into a frog, and not even the cute ceramic ones .
Or maybe I am again just to hard on valentine? Maybe it is not all that bad? After all, not so long ago, coming to a girls house to pick her up for the movies, you would indeed have brought some confectionary and flowers, so why am I so upset about people doing it today?
Because it is meaningless. It is a hollow gesture, done once a year, when there are enough red chocolates and flowers near the counter in the gas station service store. It is herd mentality at its worst , engulfed in the commercialization of abstract ideas in neatly packed easy to digest colorfully painted boxes of trans fat and saturated sugar.
You want my advice? And I am convinced it will bring you the best results (girls, don’t read this part, it’s a secret) try this – bring your girlfriend flowers the day AFTER valentines, and tell her that because she is special she deserves flowers everyday and not just on valentine. Believe me, you will not regret it. Prepare some Gatorade and icepacks, it is going to be a long night. The element of surprise. (plus you can get half price flowers the day after valentines. Hey, don’t look at me like that, I am married what do I care, the only dirty thing that happens in my bedroom is the look my wife gives me if I try to make a move.)
Like Christmas , you can't really escape the redness of this week. Week? Try a month. All the newspapers full of articles about love and relationship, the food section giving lists of the most romantic places to eat overpriced meals (they did put a rose on the table, that is why they charge double than a normal night for the same food. It's a rose. ahhhhhhhh) the travel magazines show us where is the best location for a romantic getaway (yeah, we are all flying to the Maldives on a Tuesday) and the level of saccharine that oozes from the radio and TV can send you into a diabetic coma if you are not careful.
I am not against love. I love love. I remember it vaguely from my bachelor days. It was nice.
I am not against chocolates. Oh how I wish I was against chocolate. But no, chocolate are good. Well, they are not good, but they do taste sweet and the serotonin in the cacao is the closest thing you can get to feeling in love (well, at least the closest legal thing)
I am not against teddy bears. My dogs have a couple and they are very cute. (the teddy bears, not my dogs, my dogs are not cute at all, and if you would see some of the things they do to said teddy bears you would be appalled)
I am not against roses. Well, I am a little. Roses are like the snobs of the flower kingdom, but not the snob snob, not the ones who are really lifted from the other flora, no, because roses are the most common flower in the markets, no, they are like Mac users who are sure they are the creative individual ones because they use a Mac. They are not like all the other five million people who bought a Mac this year. No…You are ALL individuals and extremely original.
But when it comes to flowers, as an avid gardener I am reminded of the words of Bernard Shaw, who when asked, after he refused to receive a bouquet at some ceremony, if he doesn’t like flowers, said –I like flowers. I also like small children but I don’t cut their heads off and put them in a vase.
But you know what, do what you want. At least it all fits together. You go to dinner, you get a rose, you do what you do and the next day you can hug the teddy bear and stuff yourself with chocolates when he never calls again.
So in the end, it does all work out.
See, sometimes even I am wrong. Valentines is great.