-The frustration of buying a Valentine's Day Card
It is my experience that Valentine's Day Cards come in three categories listed below:
1. The hopelessly in love- this group of cards is clearly for people who are madly, truly, deeply, inexpressibly in love...I want to grow old with or I HAVE grown old with you...I'd die for you, "I love you so much, I want his and her towels, my life meant nothing until you used my toothbrush..." etc. Often times they might make you a little nauseous if you yourself do not find yourself in a similar fairy-tale state.
2. The ridiculously dirty- Unlike the above ones which are nice, just a little sickening if you're not in the mood, this second group of cards is by definition gross and disgusting and base and crass and degrading to men and women...and any other form of higher intelligence for that matter. They usually contain some variation of the following message: Every time I see you I can hardly contain myself from ripping your clothes off. Or...even more repulsive...Every time I see you I DON'T contain myself from ripping all your clothes off. Gross. Nasty. Just in bad taste.
3. The single girl- This one has several sub categories. There's a sub category for the angry, the depressed or hurt, as well as a special category for the "feminist-single-and-lovin'-it" type. All are directed from one single girl to another, all contain some sort of "better off without him" message, and nearly all mention a greater love for chocolate than men.
The problem with all of these cards is that I hardly EVER have a relationship (for which I would be buying a Valentine's Day card) that is appropriate to one of these categories. Perhaps certain of the single girl cards, but to be honest, most of them don't apply. If I'm married for a million years I would never purchase a card from the second category, and the first category...well...check the left hand. Cuz there's nothin' on it.
Why are there no cards for someone you're dating that is...great. wonderful..but not necessarily your soul mate yet....and you're NOT ripping off all their clothes or thinking that when you see them...and they're NOT a single girl? Although this isn't necessarily a present issue for me, it just bugs. It's lame. And I don't like it.
To me Valentine's Day is about love. All forms of love. The first category is great, but not necessarily applicable to all. The second category is not about love at all. Is a physical relationship part of a marriage? Absolutely. But to degrade it to those terms only, and to express them in such a crude way infuriates me. The third..well..sometimes they hit a concept or idea of love, but to be honest, usually totally miss the mark.
"There are as many ways to love as there are moments in time" - Edmund in Mansfield Park, Jane Austen.
I would LOVE to see the greeting card industry cover some of those other forms of love.
On a slightly more positive note, I am a really lucky girl. I have many relationships that are extremely special to me, and are all some form of love. So often people say something like "love conquers all" or "makes the world go 'round" or whatever, but limit it to such a narrow spectrum or facet of love. Love between man and a woman is incredible, yes. However, there are so many other powerful examples of love. In my life, it has not [primarily been the romantic relationships that have turned me world around. At least not yet. But my life has been literally saved by love.
Another note: Those of you who know me well know that one of the things I struggle most with in this life is the transience. I hate that nothing stays the same, that no one is in your life forever, that things can change so quickly that what once meant everything to you can suddenly be gone. On Valentine's Day I love to remember what a favorite author of mine, Louisa May Alcott said:
“If in my present life I love one person truly,
no matter who it is,
I believe that we meet somewhere again,
though where or how I don’t know or care,
for genuine love is immortal.”
~Louisa May Alcott to Maggie Lukens,
February 14, 1884