14 Feb 2011

Valentine's Day, Whining and War

Warning: One fantastically self-righteous, jerky post follows!

I'm not really much of a "Valentine's Day person." I'm not anti-Valentine's Day, per se, I'm more like a Valentines agnostic. Growing up, the biggest thrill about Valentine's Day was the potential to eat cinnamon hearts. I couldn't get enough of them and would literally burn holes in my mouth from sucking on their spicy citricy acid goodness. Is there any wonder why I was never put into the gifted program? (And not just for maiming myself so willingly, but for having constructed a sentence that has the word "citricy" in it?)

When I wasn't dating or married, I wasn't the type who ranted about it being a "Hallmark Holiday." I never organized empowering-but-actually-rather-pathetic drunk fests with my single friends, in large part because the idea of recreating the entire concept behind Sex and the City into an evening sounded like my version of hell. The holiday never bothered me, but never really interested me either. Basically, I didn't take its existence personally. Now as an old married lady with a husband I adore, it still doesn't occur to me to run out and get Patrick a gift, nor to expect one. We'll say "Happy Valentine's Day" to each other, of course, but that's about the extent of the celebration. He still has to beg for sex just like any other day.

All that said, I wanted to share one of my magazines - it's the February 1943 issue of Ladies' Home Journal. This magazine came out right in the thick of World War II - and so the cover is of a young woman pining for her soldier. I'm also without my Valentine today, although it's because he's still at an all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic. I know - it's a subtle difference - having one's husband fighting for his life at war vs. having one's husband flopped out by the pool drinking unlimited cervezas. But, please, your condolences and well-wishes are not necessary. We'll tough it out.

Anyway - I was looking in the magazine to see if there was any advice for women missing their sweethearts and was rather surprised to find none. I don't doubt for a second that real women of the time felt their heart strings especially pulled, but the contents of this magazine were strictly anti-pity party. But what struck me even more was how all-consuming the war effort was, in the context of this magazine. Within its 157 pages, I could only find 18 pages that had no mention or visual related to the war. Apparently, everything from nail polish to canned soup could help the effort abroad. Articles included Eleanor Roosevelt's trip to visit servicemen in England and her monthly advice / question column (which is amazing and I'll talk about it some other time!), how one family is making due on a much smaller wartime salary, women taking on more tasks and jobs to help the effort, advice on stretching budgets and food and clothing because of supply issues, and war bonds, war bonds, war bonds. Nearly every page is a guilt-fest to buy war bonds. I wish I could scan the whole thing so that you could get a sense of just how non-stop the talk of war is in this magazine. It's like a paper tidal wave of conflict and duty and sacrifice and unknowns.

So, when I see people on Facebook and Twitter and what-have-you moaning about how Valentine's Day is being shoved down their throats and how it's so unfair and obnoxious to have this cruel, manipulative holiday thrown in their single faces, I have to roll my eyes.

It could be worse. It has been worse. Buy yourself some chocolate and get a fucking grip.


weenie_elise 5:14 pm, February 14, 2011  

Yeah, it could be worse. And the historical St Valentine was clubbed to death - sux to be him - where's the hallmark card for that?

Colleen 6:07 pm, February 14, 2011  

I love cinnamon hearts and I look forward to this holiday - as I do most others - for what bounty of treats it brings and nothing more. Can you believe it? It's almost Cream Egg season!

Anonymous,  6:07 pm, February 14, 2011  

That wasn't a "jerky" post. But I DO have a bitchy comment: Is it any wonder why these whiners are still single? Neediness isn't an attractive quality.

Girly,  11:30 pm, February 14, 2011  

Awesome and funny and necessary.

Anonymous,  10:53 am, February 15, 2011  

This was a sucky Valentine's Day for me and my wife. She had a bad cough for the past week, finally went to the doctor yesterday where he told her that she has bronchitus and is 15 pounds overweight. Not only that, but she got her period (a week early!).

Hello Jodi 11:50 am, February 15, 2011  

Here, here! I said yesterday that I see Valentine's day like I see New Year's Eve. I celebrate neither, but I have no problem with others making their own merriment. And I saw a few proclaim "I don't need a day to prove my love!" Well goody for you! Some people DO need a reminder. And some people (I have a few couple friends) that will use any excuse to worship each other. It's all quite pleasant, really. I just don't understand the bitterness.

Di Smith 2:56 pm, February 15, 2011  

My fav post on this particular holiday yet.I'm totally with Colleen and used to look forward to the post-Valentine's sales at Shoppers... yummmm, cheap candy. Now I just buy it early - too freakin' impatient.

Get a grip should be the world's mantra some days.

Jen 11:08 am, February 16, 2011  

Thanks for the comments, guys!

Weenie_elise: I'm envisioning that scene your described depicted on a V-Day card. Ha, man, just imagine!

Colleen: I love the way you look at the world. Never change.

Anon 1: Heh.

Girly: Thanks!

Anon 2: Sorry to hear your wife wasn't feeling great. And if YOU think getting a period a week early is a drag, imagine how she feels about it.

Hello Jodi: Here, here to all that you mentioned, too! Good comparison to NYE!

Diana: Thanks! Ha - and yes to the day-after-the-holiday pilgrimage to Shoppers Drug Mart. A Canadian tradition, indeed.

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Need words? I'm a Toronto-based freelance writer who injects great ones into blogs, websites, magazines, ads and more. So many services, one lovely Jen (with one 'n').

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