Written by Judy Epstein Friday, 15 February 2013 00:00
I’ll just come out and say it: I hate Valentine’s Day. As far as I’m concerned, it exists purely to make some people look bad, and almost everybody feel awful.
When I was single, Valentine’s Day seemed tailor-made to highlight the flaws in your relationship, if you had one, and in your entire life, if you didn’t. Now that I am married, Valentine’s Day just makes both of us crazy, running around to make sure we buy SOMEthing so as not to come home covered in guilt. But of course, all the somethings are way over-priced – they saw us coming a month away – so that even when I come home with one, I still feel taken advantage of. No “good love” there!
Starting in elementary school, it seemed as if this one day in the calendar existed just to show that some girls were WAY more popular than me (nobody then had a rule that “you must send one to everyone”). I still remember enviously eyeing the heaping mountain of valentines on the desk of one little girl, and comparing it with my own little pile.
When I grew up, V-Day became conspicuous as the day for which you didn’t have a date. It was like a tacky re-run of New Year’s Eve — except you can’t hide from all your friends by taking a convenient “ski trip” on a Thursday evening and be back at work the next day.
Once or twice I did have a date for the big night – which always served to kill the relationship, because at some point during the evening, I always felt compelled to ask, “So – are we a couple?” And, as J.P. Morgan can tell you, “If you have to ask, the answer is No.” (To be completely fair, his remark was about asking if you can afford a yacht, which is almost as expensive as a relationship, but the concept is there.)
I began to celebrate Valentine’s Day on Groundhog Day, instead. For one thing, it was a lot cheaper, since all I required was a weather report and a cup of hot chocolate. When the Bill Murray movie about Groundhog Day came along, that just helped me pull off the transformation.
I evolved my own rule of thumb for the day: If, first thing in the morning on Groundhog Day, you saw somebody’s shadow on your bedroom floor, well then, you might have six more weeks of a relationship…as long as you both stay scrupulously away from anything to do with Valentines!
Judy Epstein plans to stay in bed with her eyes shut until Valentine’s Day is safely past … but you can always reach her at alookonthelightside.com.