V-Day is coming up in a few weeks: one of my favorite holidays of the year. (You can do SO MUCH with V-Day! But, I digress…)
Instigated by an early employee vying for promotion at Hallmark, Valentine’s Day is a day to either be celebrated with a loved one or, more importantly (if you’re female), to hang out at the card racks enjoying the faces of men who ordinarily wouldn’t be caught DEAD shopping for any other sentimental card than a quick “I’m sorry I f**d up” missive.
The older male shopper arrives alone, wearing a low-slung hat, thick coat or manly disguise that radiates the sentiment “I’m not really shopping for a V-card, I’m just a lost wayfarer from the Beer Aisle passing through.”
The modern younger male version proudly and firmly strides down the V-aisle openly eyeing the huge hearts above it that serve as unmistakable signposts to romance with nary a shudder. He will open every card, read the sentiment with furrowed brow, pause a moment whilst openly reflecting if their loved one fits the sentiment (and likely reviewing how much commitment is imparted by the words inside) before returning said card to the rack and moving on to view the other 999 options.
The teens are the funniest. Any male teen caught dead in the V-Aisle would be cannon fodder at school the next day, so they slink along the aisle seemingly intent on texting with their iPhone whilst performing the amazing fete of simultaneously looking sideways at the racks, reading card faces, and making a sudden grabbing move when the right card heading presents itself; to then hit the road to the cash register with a 25-yard sprint that would earn an ‘A’ from their track teacher. Having not actually mastered the finer art of Looking Inside, these males may be caught dead when the object of their affection receives a card that on the face of it proclaims ‘like’ but inside is mushy with ‘love’. (Uhoh. It PAYS to have at least perfunctorily attended English 101.)
All these male shoppers are united by one goal fostered by the V-Day event: to demonstrate they have NOT ACTUALLY FORGOTTEN THE OCCASION (and ergo their loved one).
Never mind that the TV begins to ominously blare V-Day’s imminent and unholy arrival right after Xmas, newspaper ads begin mysteriously appearing in color with red hearts everywhere, and puzzling articles in the news revolve heavily around Lost Loves Rediscovered: my guy is usually Caught With his Pants Down on The Day. (His excuse: he thought so much about it in the months before, he actually believed he’d gone shopping, made purchases, and they had already been presented!)
The Peanut Gallery (on The Day, stumbling out of bed at the obnoxiously early hour of 10AM): What’s this???
(Alluding to a frothy card and a heart-shaped box of sugar-free chocolates painfully excavated from the bowels of the Sugar-Free Internet which has appeared on the dining room table overnight. Logical deduction would deem it most likely was delivered by some newly unemployed elf commissioned from the North Pole for Special Delivery Service in February.)
Diane: I have NO IDEA. (…and sometimes it DOES pay to leave the details out.)
Diane’s theory of The Unemployed Elf is postulated, examined, and summarily rejected by a 67-year-old upon whom the dawning doomthought is blossoming: It-must-be-V-Day/she-got-me-something/I-forgot-again/I-am-hosed.
Now, let’s be clear. After 36 years of marriage to a curmudgeon who thinks Xmas is another Hallmark holiday barely worthy of acknowledgment, I have come to realize my own enthusiasm for V-Day (and, indeed, ANY occasion to celebrate ANYTHING) is in and of itself ENOUGH. I have NO expectations of receiving and take great joy in my giving. Which CAN take the form of delicious revenge.
(Which is why the aforementioned Chocolates last year came with a diorama scene involving a miniature toilet, a raisin-pooping sheep, and a note about the side effects of too-hastily consumed Maltitol on the nether regions of the body.)
Bill: (surprised) you got me CHOCOLATES.
Diane: (generously): I shot for a Lamborghini but they were All Out. Next year, honey.
But last year Bill had a Trick Up His Sleeve. Apparently tired of being Without Pants on V-Day he had GONE SHOPPING THE YEAR BEFORE during the After-V-Day-Discount-Specials and had purchased an awesomely large box of chocolates for an awesomely low price tag.
Bill (secretively): You say right here honey. I’ll be right back.
And he strode into the garage into the wine room like a soldier into battle, entering his own ‘secret area’ (which I know about and stay away from, loving surprises like I do. Believe me, there are few secrets around here!).
There evolved, in this order: grunting, moaning, cursing, and eventually the shrill screams indicating a Good Plan Gone Awry.
Me (calling): Is everything OK out there?
Bill (shouting): JUST A MINUTE, OK????
Hmm. Pushy Me. I decide to get some computer work done, donning headphones to drown out the festive holiday cursing.
At last The Man stomps in, looking he had been out in the South 40 battling the Wild Rabid Sheep: hair akimbo, covered in spider webs.
In his hand is what appears to have been a recently ‘decobbed’(webbed) large heart box.
But WAIT – are those TEETH MARKS on the corner? And is something small, pebble-sized and awesomely like scat dribbling out of the port of entry on that edge?
Bill (sheepishly): Here, honey. Happy V-Day. I DID remember. But, SO DID THE MICE.
Urgh. Well as Mom always says, It’s The Thought That Counts.
Me (generously): awww honey, it’s lovely. Um….Was lovely. Whatever. (Not wishing to leave out ANY involved): And please, THANK THE MICE for their contribution!
A card appeared the next day (half-off sales begin The Day After and apparently by purchasing and giving immediately, one neatly circumvents the whole sordid Mouse Factor).
(… just consider me SHOT!)
It was the Biggest.Card.Ever. (I didn’t know they MADE cards that measured 2 FEET X 1.5 FEET.)
It came with a penguin who proclaimed his lust for me (hey, if you do nothing else – a LUST PENGUIN WORKS…)
Thank you Peanut Gallery!
The rest of you….don’t forget V-Day. February 14th.
Oh – and watch out for those mice.