Overheard at the end of Michele Norris’s interview with Jeffrey Eugenides on last night’s All Things Considered:
MN: Happy Valentine’s Day to you.
JE: Thanks for having me.
MN: I was going to ask you if you’re doing anything special for Valentine’s Day, but your someone special might be listening.
JE: I’ll tell you, one of the first things my wife and I decided when we got together was that we would never celebrate Valentine’s Day.
JE: One of the first things that made me fall in love with her was our mutual antipathy to Valentine’s Day.
MN: Wait a minute — an author who puts together a collection of love stories has total antipathy for Valentine’s Day?
JE: Oh yeah. Don’t you think it’s the cheapening and commodification of something rare that we’d all like to celebrate in private and on our own time?
MN: I personally like flowers and chocolate.
JE: Well, your special person, I hope, is listening.
I have always come down on Eugenides’ side of this argument. Fortunately, my “special person” does too.
- December 12, 2008 @ 10:47:29 [Current Revision] by Scott Rosenberg
- February 14, 2008 @ 12:32:25 by Scott Rosenberg
My take on Valentine’s Day, and other highly commercialized occasions, is that they are what you make them. You can choose to buy into the commercialism, or you can choose to buy into the underlying idea.
So Valentine’s Day can be about chocolate and flowers, or it can be about taking the opportunity to remind yourselves why you enjoy each other’s company, or it can be a mixture of both.
In the end, the central question is are you doing what you do out of obligation or out of real emotion. If it’s the former then, yes, it is cheapening.
My, aren’t you special?
My reaction to Valentine’s Day is kind of, “Why should that day be any different? Why shouldn’t *every* day be filled with trying to make my beloved happy?”
I don’t achieve it every day, of course, but I do try regularly. If I see something that I think he would like, or think of something to do, why should I save it for some later date? What’s wrong with today?
Example: I commissioned someone to knit him a hat with the intention of giving it to him on Valentine’s Day. (This *was* a romantic gift, trust me on that.) The hat was done a week early, so I gave it to him last week.