Oh, I used to be one of you. I’d smirk at the oversized teddy bears that would pop up in department stores the moment New Year’s Eve had passed. I’d feel nauseated walking through the sea of red aisles flagging cinnamon hearts and marshmallow cupids. Most importantly, I would feel smug in the understanding that I had not been duped by the commercialism that is February 14th. For those who sanctimoniously abstain from Valentine’s Day, it is a strict religion in which no concessions are allowed. Pure, unabashed disdain for this fictitious love-fest and all of its feathery, chocolaty, flowery, mushy glory is the only acceptable reproach. When the Red Swarm would kick into overdrive the week prior to V-day, I would retaliate with my Sword of Sarcasm. Indeed, I was the quintessential “Anti-Valentinian”. Clearly, from my tone and reference to the past, you can see that this is no longer the case. So what happened to change my mind? Was it love? That heart-wrenching, soul satisfying, earth shattering L-O-V-E? Oh please, give me some credit. What made me a convert to Cupid was in fact a very simple and seemingly harmless phrase, which immediately incites an irritation level in me that is indescribable. I’m referring to two small words: Hallmark Holiday. Bleh. Just typing that caused me to shudder.
Let’s make things clear folks. Hallmark did not invent Valentine’s Day, nor did they ruin it. That was our doing. Our deep seeded love for consumerism ruins the point of most holidays, events and celebrations. At least Valentine’s Day has a saint behind it. The same people who despise Valentine’s day likely celebrate Mother’s day (yes, I know, she’s a saint….my apologies); buy chocolate bunnies for Easter; pretend they are Irish on St. Patrick’s day; or think that snowmen and reindeer actually have something to do with Christmas. Let’s call a spade a spade. All holidays have seen the effects of commercialism and while we don’t have to celebrate Valentine’s Day, we don’t need to single it out either. My argument is that celebrating love in all its forms can be a beautiful ritual. I think the majority of us detest the Valentine’s Day hoopla because it seems superficial. So why do we do it? Because it is easy and we are innately lazy when it comes to love. We prefer to assume that the implied is the same as the understood and that is not always the case. Sometimes we need a gentle reminder, like say, a special holiday to tell us that we need to be kinder, sweeter and more thoughtful to those we hold dear.
Which brings me back to my pro-Valentine’s Day conversion. A holiday that celebrates love. What a novel idea. Once I opened my mind to the idea of treating Valentine’s Day like any other holiday, February became a lovelier month for me. In true Karen Kho fashion, I found a way to make it all about food and wine. After all, it is my first true love. Thus, I chose to always find a way to make it special whether I was a table for two or a single spot at the bar. I found that consumerism wasn’t so bad when it involved great food and wine, shared of course, with the ones you love. So for all you naysayers, I have put together “Double K’s Guide to a Successful Valentine’s Day”.
Posted in uncategorized