I received the following text message this afternoon, out of the blue, as they say:
Happy Valentine's Day, dude! I'm trying to focus on the origins of today with St. Valentine and his legacy. It's more meaningful than what it's become.The conversation flowed back & forth, including the following:
Haha. And it's not like I'd be mad if someone sent me flowers. But that stuff is even more special on days not commercialized, in my opinionLong-time readers of The Secret Base might remember my interlocutor by her old Project PANDORA code name, Miss Mozart. We met through a dating website in the summer of 2012 & had one bad date that fall.* Per her request, we "remained" friends after that, but didn't really reconnect 'til this past summer (2016), shortly before she moved out to the San Francisco Bay Area to work for Major League Baseball. We shared one super fun evening at Ypsilanti's Wurst Bar, a much better evening than our single date lo those many years ago.
It is gratifying to see the good work of denouncing Valentine's Day spread. I would have no issue with Valentine's Day, no need to carry on with this yearly polemic, if Valentine's Day was merely a farce. But it is not a farce, Valentine's Day is a fraud. There is nothing inherently wrong with giving gifts as tokens of one's love, be it eros, philia, storge, or agape. The fraud occurs, the harm results when a relentless drumbeats of sights & sounds insists that love must be expressed through purchasing power, that any love not so expressed cannot be "real." Yes, gemstones are pretty, but wouldn't it be better if a fellow didn't work as many nights & weekends so that he could afford the shiny baubles & instead spent that time with his ladylove? Is it not fraudulent to pressure children into writing insincere Valentines to every one of their classmates? To Miss Mozart's point, wouldn't all the gestures associated with Valentine's Day—the dinners, the candy, the shiny baubles—be seen as more sincere, as more genuine reflections of affection rather than acts of societal obligations, if they were made outside of the commercial maelstrom of Valentine's Day?
This Valentine's Day, & every Valentine's Day hereafter, fight against cheap counterfeit love, which carries a very hefty price tag—financially, emotionally, & psychologically. Fight against the commercialization of affection. We were not created to be consumers of love, but givers of love, partakers of love. Fight for authentic, self-sacrificing love, in all of your relationships. All those we love, & we ourselves, deserve better than this paper moon we've been sold.
Be my Anti-Valentine.
The Wayback Machine Tour of Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day '16 | Valentine's Day '15
Valentine's Day '14, Part I, Part II, & Part III
Valentine's Day '13 | Valentine's Day '12
Valentine's Day '11 | Valentine's Day '10
Valentine's Day '09 | Valentine's Day '08
Valentine's Day '07 | Valentine's Day '06
Valentine's Day '05 | Valentine's Day '04
*I didn't tag my posts back then (this post is tagged "Kith & Culture," "Love Stinks," & "W.A.B.A.C."), so you'll have to go back & search the old-fashioned way for PANDORA posts, as I shan't be furnishing any Wayback Machine hyperlinks. I was not as kind to Miss Mozart as I could have been.