I love Valentine’s Day. I really do. I like the hearts and flowers, the sappy commercials, the overpowering use of red and pink. One of my favorite things is passing out Valentines. Every year I buy a box of the cheap little ones made for kids to pass out at school, usually of the Disney Princess persuasion, and inflict them on everyone around me. This year’s box came with a sheet of glittery temporary tattoos, which made for extra fun. I took them to swing dancing with me last night, and gave one to every person there, including the couple I met for the first time that night. Then I and the girls started playing with the tattoos. Meghan and I tried to put one on Danny by stealth, but were defeated by the amazing hairiness of his arms. By the time we were done all of the girls but one were wearing tattoos, and three of the guys. Good times.
Believe it or not, there was a time in my life when I was a little, oh, cranky about Valentine’s Day. There have been very few February 14th’s on which I have been in the sort of relationship that would give me grounds to expect anything. Not that that stopped me. I’d spend the whole day on a sort of demi-pointe of expectation, hoping that perhaps this year some secret admirer would suddenly emerge from the woodwork waving a dozen roses. Or maybe the Man of My Dreams (whoever that was at the time) would abruptly realize the depth of his affection for me, and choose to express it with chocolate, pink hearts, and perhaps something lace-adorned. At the end of the day I’d go to bed sad and disappointed, knowing that my hopes were completely unrealistic, but annoyed with the world for not fulfilling them anyway.
Then one year I had an attitude adjustment. I got tired of being bitter, and took a look around. I realized that Valentine’s Day (although completely divorced from any pseudo-Christian roots it may have ever had) is the day on which our society celebrates happy ever afters. On this day we collectively express belief in the notion that true love does exist, that people really do sometimes find the person they’re meant to be with, that faithful, lifelong love is not only possible, but beautiful. It may not be happening for everyone (or, um, me), but it really does happen. Dreams do come true, people do fall in love with other people, and this is a good thing. I celebrate Valentine’s Day because I am glad that human love exists. And so, my friends, I propose a toast: To True Love and Happy Ever Afters, and To Those To Whom They Come – may we each be one of them one day.