Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Note On Valentines Day

Now, I have to admit, when I first woke up I skeptical. It all seemed very Medieval to me. The way men performed grand gestures expecting nothing in return but perhaps the key to her chastity belt. Very reminiscent of chivalry, the code of knighthood, and the Virgin Mary, if you ask me. I've always been more interested in medium sized gestures in every day life. Perhaps I'll show up at work with his Americano and return home to Breakfast at Tiffany's rented and placed in the DVD player. Or if he's sick, maybe I'd show up with a tray of chicken soup, tea, 4 kinds of cold medicine, and a shot of whiskey and expect the same when germs are spewing from my nose.

But all of these sticky pink hearts on the windows of restaurants and shrimp cocktails and hotel bookings well it just seemed... a tad forced, if not entirely driven by the female. And while I'm all for the woman taking the wheel, I would never want to see her demand something from her significant other, it's just too desperate.

Then I got on the subway- an automatic pool of diverse humanity and gold mine for an observer of gender relations. Every one on it, both male and female were wearing red, including myself.  Now I was merely wearing it to get discounts on my evening's events, but I felt an instant connection to everyone. Men carried roses and women carried floral shopping bags crowded with purple tissue paper. A lesbian couple felt no shame in a little PDA, and a group of teenagers' shoulders shook with laughter within their matching red t-shirts. It was lovely. I talked to three others donning red and it wasn't sketchy, or funny, or anything like that- just nice. We were all people. And we were all happy to celebrate love.

It made me wonder about the subjectivity of romance. I always thought I would be embarrassed if some guy performed some grand, loud public gesture. I'm not really the kind of girl who dreams of surprise picnics on a beach somewhere with sunsets and champagne. In fact, despite my efforts, I've even been a little judgmental towards girls who expect chocolates and roses waiting for them. But maybe I wouldn't be embarrassed. Maybe I'd like it. Maybe experiences have taught me to defend myself and snicker at those doe-eyed flower loving females. Or maybe, just maybe, those girls get the flowers because they expect them. It's a horrifying thought to someone whose never expected them a day in her life. Perhaps there are holes in my design. But I can take some solace in the fact that i connected to about 10 strangers today, because all of New York was uplifted by some intangible spirit. Despite the February weather, the city itself seemed gentler, and everyone in it a good deal kinder.


  1. beautiful writing Danielle and I too understand the battle between feeling what you truly feel and what you've grown to feel. I believe valentines day to be a day of love and nothing more. I try as hard as I can to ignore the dew eyed stares of teddy bears holding hearts or cards with opening lines "you have stolen my heart" with a picture of a robber stealing a womens heart. Anyway, what I mean is that valentines day really is a beautiful day full of unspoken connection and love between people and yes, people seem to have forgotten this and Women now expect a grand gesture and confirmation of love. It's hard for cynical women like us to except anything corny and valentines day has become a day based on all we have grown to detest! Having a significant other to celebrate with is cool, but love comes in thousands of forms and valentines day is the day to explore them.

  2. Your article reminded me of the end of Ghostbusters when the whole city comes together because of the giant statue of liberty. Warm fuzzies all over.