Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Secret to Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is a terribly misunderstood holiday.

It's not really about flowers. Or chocolates. Or chocolate-covered flowers.

It's not some grand conspiracy intended to make single people feel embarassed about being single.

And it's not a dull obligation masquearding as an icon of passion.

Valentine's Day is actually a referendum that has little to do with how either party of a relationship feels about the other. Instead, it's about how people who are not the couple perceive the couple's relationship. Valentine's Day is a show and it has lots of judges.

Let's say you're a dude who likes a chick. Let's say this chick digs on you as well. As the calendar flips from January to February, you find yourself brainstorming for the best way to pay tribute to all the liking and the digging.

You're probably thinking that the chick is your audience, but she's not. Your real audience is the chick's friends. Maybe her family, too. Possibly even her acquaintences.

After February 14 ends, people will ask the chick how the two of y'all celebrated Valentine's Day. If you chose well, there will be some giggling and some cooing before the conversation trundles happily to another subject. If you chose poorly, there will be awkward sighs, reassuring pats on the shoudler and, hopefully, an abrupt end to the dicussion of Valentine's Day. If the conversation lingers harshly on your poor choice of a celebration, the judging could condemn your relationship. All because you bought the wrong chocolate-covered flowers.

You don't have to be a dude in order to fail at Valentine's Day. You don't have to be straight either. This kind of judging isn't exactly partial to any specific pairing of the sexes. But it is the driving force behind the holiday.

And now that you know that...what does that mean to you?

It's pretty simple, actually. You could retire from Valentine's Day like all of those smart people who stopped going to church every Sunday. You could spend some time prying into the minds of your S.O.'s friends and family to find out what won't offend their sensibilities. Or...you could talk to your ______ (whomever you wake up next to) and reach an understanding that certain things matter to both of y'all and certain things don't. Valentine's Day could really be one of the things that matters to one party or another. (Probably because one of y'all really, really enjoys chocolate-covered flowers.)

Once you both reach an understanding, then you can focus not only on who really matters, but on what it is that matters to them as well.

And you can disregard everything--and everyone--else. 'Cause what doesn't matter...doesn't matter.


cindylu said...

You're a very smart man, Tim.

the_capital_t said...

@cindylu: I wish that were true, Cindy. Today, I'm not really feeling it. Maybe tomorrow. In the meantime, hoarde some sunshine for me.

Anonymous said...

this is so interesting because of a conversation i had with someone on valentine's day about the "validity" of it all.

i agree with you.