Valentine's Day Done My Way|
Georgia Online News Service
I celebrate Valentine's Day twice a year -- on Christmas and my birthday.
Those are the top two days each year that I want to love and be loved.
I think Feb. 14 when the rest of the world celebrates Valentine's Day -- may just be the stupidest day of the year. I've always felt that way in years when I've had a special someone and in years when it was just me, myself, and I.
First off, I don't want flowers or a box of chocolates. Flowers are best when they remain in the ground, and I can buy my own chocolate, thanks.
More importantly, I don't think that a national campaign designed to guilt a special someone into paying me attention elicits genuine love and affection.
It just produces guilt and a forced romantic dinner or a hastily purchased gift. And this year, as the state and the nation face the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the push just seems in poor taste.
Don't get me wrong. I definitely expect a tasty meal and a thoughtful gift on my birthday and Christmas. But on Feb. 14, I say: at ease, soldier.
I suppose it's partly because I'm a feminist. But that's not the only reason I don't care for Valentine's Day.
It's also because Feb. 14 does not mean anything to me. Try as they might, the greeting- card industry and a thousand other companies that cash in on the annual cupid frenzy can't convince me that Feb. 14 is a special day.
Think about it yourself. You know how you feel when you learn a particular event will fall on your birthday? Inside you think, "That's my day!" It's a day when you remember childhood birthday parties, and you field calls from friends, and you go out to have a fancy dinner.
Or if you're Christian, think about Dec. 25. Does it get any better than Christmas morning for people who observe the holiday? After all these years of celebrating it, I find everything about the date how the month of December looks in print and even the number 25 just says, "Ooh, ahh, special day." It makes me think of shiny red wrapping paper and chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven and trimming the Christmas tree.
But Feb. 14? When I see or hear that date, I think of a national marketing campaign that unfairly targets primarily men and makes them do things they may not want to do.
The ad campaigns that invade the airwaves each year have been escalating. This year as Georgia ranks No. 8 in the nation for foreclosure activity, and thousands of people across the state are out of work, the cost of celebrating Valentine's Day has if anything increased.
The more you spend, the more romantic you are. For $60 a person (plus tax and 20 percent tip), you can dine at the Mansion on Forsyth Park in Savannah. But why not make it a weekend? For $900, you can spend two nights at the Beechwood Inn Bed & Breakfast in Clayton. Yes, you're reading right: that's the better part of $1,000 to spend a weekend in the north Georgia mountains.
But first prize goes to a spa chain in Atlanta. It advertises a couple's massage for $360. Putting aside momentarily the idiocy of getting a massage with your mate while another person is in the room hard as that may be let's think of all the other things you could buy with $360. An airplane ticket. A sofa. Maybe even some common sense.
But, men, you know what the message is. If you forget to buy something special, you aren't a good husband or boyfriend.
As for me, I'm gearing up for Valentine's Day in my own way. I'm planning to go out to dinner and then see my favorite band on that special Saturday.
And by special Saturday, I mean the first one in March when I'll celebrate my birthday. Or as I think of it, the real Valentine's Day.
Jeanne Bonner is the senior business writer at Georgia Online News Service. [full bio]