There are two main camps when it comes to Valentine’s Day. First, the lovers, who go overboard with gifts of chocolate and jewels for each other, and who can be seen at fancy restaurants where they’ll pay for a 3-course prix fixe meal that includes dishes with sexy names like artichoke ménage à trois.
The die-hard romantics may even book a hotel room furnished with a heart-shaped in-room Jacuzzi, though this isn’t recommended unless you are sure you won’t fixate on the plethora of pornographic acts that have taken place before you, on every Valentine’s Day in history.
In the other camp, the cynics vent that this day is nothing more than a Hallmark holiday and that if two people love each other, they should prove their love everyday of the year. All over the nation, single ladies will have a girl’s night out while guys sit around and convince each other all the reasons they’re better off as bachelors.
Then there are those of us in between the two extremes; the middle of the road romantics who celebrate Valentine’s Day sporadically, even accidentally sometimes, like I did a few years ago when I took my father out for an early birthday dinner. Picture Valentine’s Day when it falls on a Saturday. The restaurant was mobbed with loving couples and a special, seductive menu had been prepared to celebrate the occasion. We ordered dessert—a cannoli ice cream sundae for two—and when the waiter set it down in front of me and my dad, my siblings and I thought it was a prank.
It was two perfectly round scoops of vanilla ice cream, with a cannoli sticking straight up out of the middle of the two scoops, and the whole thing covered in hot fudge and whipped cream. My sister-in-law tried to get the waiter to acknowledge it (“this is a joke, isn’t it”?). But he wouldn’t even give us a wink or a smirk over the erotic nature of the dessert, which was no doubt, the most phallic dessert ever shared by a father and daughter in Valentine’s Day history.
As a married person, I consider myself an expert on relationships. OK, not really. But after ten years, I do have some experience with relationship longevity (yeah, yeah, your grandparents have been married 40 or 50 years—give me a chance to get there). And my sage advice is this: be nice to each other every day of the year. Clean off her car when it snows; bring her a snack when she’s stuck in the library writing a research paper, tell him on occasion that he’s an interesting guy with valuable opinions (but don’t inflate his ego too much, girls).
This way, when Feb. 14 rolls around you won’t have to make up for being a blockhead during every other month of the year. Forget scrambling to the 7-Eleven for a last minute, awful gift (she’ll know). A small gesture will be enough, because you’re an all-around great guy.
Last year, my husband had a cockroach named after me at the Bronx Zoo (the $10 donation helps preserve endangered species around the world). And not just any roach, but a Madagascar hissing cockroach—yeah, my man is awesome, you guys. That cockroach, like the love we have for each other, (go head and vomit, but it’s crazy romantic right?) will survive nuclear warfare, The Rapture, or whatever apocalyptic event is scheduled next.
So let go of the sweeping, romantic ideas and just be cool. Love is one of the easy things in life.