February 2006 Issue: How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Receipts…
Valentine’s Day is a lot like Christmas when you think about it – an officially sanctioned day for expressing yourself. But where Christmas is for people to show their love of Christ (or food, or consumerism, or getting drunk, or sleeping), Feb 14 for most Anglo-Saxons is all about telling the one you love that you, uh, love them.
Of course, there are people who opt out of the deal, saying that they express their love every day and don’t need a specially manufactured holiday to do so.
These people are called Hippies, and are not to be trusted, nor to be taken as experts on anything except: a) Home made dairy product manufacture; b) Backyard haircuts; and c) Long, circular conversations that are more likely to be called something like “share sessions”.
Back on planet Earth, the rest of us are stuck on this goddamn treadmill that will see us, at some point this month, trailing around a shopping mall, searching for the piece of mass-produced, made in China pap that expresses not only our individuality but also our utter devotion to our One Special Person.
I can feel the bile rising even as I type this.
But spare a thought for the Guatemalans in this ordeal – for them, Valentine’s Day isn’t just about the person that you’re knocking boots with; their definition of “love” on the day is exponentially wider, and takes in friends, family, workmates, school friends – pretty much anybody who they haven’t had a machete fight with in the last couple of weeks.
You can imagine the amount of flowers, cards, chocolates and other corny guff that gets flung around on the day.
So this is just a heads up – don’t be surprised if the guy in your hotel wishes you a Happy Valentine’s Day (or maybe you should be, depending on where you’re staying). It’s not a come on – just a simple declaration of friendship and well-wishing.