I dare you to google news about Valentine’s Day.
Faster than you can say “Romeo and Juliet,” you’ll be inundated with results for “romantic getaways.”
Whether the story is touting a single night on the town or an extended trip, you’ll find an abundance of adjectives such as “adventurous,” “quaint,” “unconventional,” “sun-soaked” and “luxurious.”
With such verbiage, you don’t know whether to expect a king-size bed or a “bed of locally sourced Romaine lettuce cradling a generous serving of succulent, pre-chewed-by-ferrets turnip hearts.”
The headlines presuppose that the entire world has a year’s worth of pent-up demand for a Valentine extravaganza, but not all of us signed off on that memo.
Can couples really spring into Valentine mode just because influencers promise “Love is in the air,” when the other 364 days of the year have been characterized by utterances such as “There had better be three cans of Glade in the air before I enter the bathroom”?
We’ve been programmed to believe that Valentine’s Day should be marked with grand romantic gestures such as hot air balloons, mariachi bands, champagne tsunamis and exotic animals bearing engagement rings; but not everyone is into socializing.
For many couples, the most romantic gesture is the hand signal to “close the curtains, turn out the lights and pretend we’re not home because I want to finish this Wheel of Time novel.”
I know the media tell us that Feb. 14 is the time to dance until the cows come home. But many couples are just as likely to wave a pitchfork at anyone who suggests going out after dark. (“Yeah, I’ll kick up my heels — as long as they land on the ottoman.”)
Multigenerational families have special problems. Seems like only yesterday you were learning to unhook a bra and suddenly you’re overpaying a babysitter so you can go teach your parents to program their Jitterbug phone.
The commercialization of Valentine’s Day gets worse and worse. What used to be an occasion for stimulating neglected affection (or at least stimulating primal urges) is now more about stimulating the local economy. (“Cheer for the martyrdom of St. Valentine and repair the school roof! Patronize the upcoming Donner Party festival and pay for a whole new municipal parking lot!”)
The patriotic pressure doesn’t ease up just because you’re between partners. No, that’s when the Chamber of Commerce initiates the Presley Protocol. (“If you can’t find a partner, use a wooden chair — now on sale for a limited time at Forbush’s Furniture Emporium.”)
It’s unreasonable for society to assume that everyone will have the time, money, health and inclination to celebrate extravagantly, and especially on that exact date. As with compromising about birthdays and Christmas get-togethers, many folks must settle for commemorations that are merely in the ballpark of Feb. 14.
Someday someone of my ilk will tell an interviewer, “Not only are we the first couple to renew our vows in the Mars colony, but we’re also celebrating Valentine’s Day 2022!”
My wife and I will probably mark a quiet Valentine’s Day at home; but don’t let my curmudgeonly commentary stop you if you are interested in a cabin, spa or resort. Everyone needs a place where they can ignore inflation, the border crisis and international turmoil.
And I’m sure the fact that most of these venues have a “presidential suite” is pure coincidence.
— Satirical columnist Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at firstname.lastname@example.org and visits to his Facebook fan page Tyree’s Tyrades. He is syndicated by Cagle Cartoons and the author of Yes, Your Butt Still Belongs in Church. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.