I’m spending Valentine’s Day alone and snowed in while Marty is in Vegas playing Scrabble. I really don’t mind. Really. I would have minded twenty years ago, but today I believe that Valentine’s Day serves two basic purposes: 1) it’s a way for florists and chocolatiers to make a lot of money and 2) it’s an exam tougher than the GRE’s or the MCAT’s that women put men through in order to discover whether they are marriage or even serious relationship material. If a woman repeatedly tells a man her favorite flower is the yellow tulip and that she despises red roses because they remind her of funeral parlors, and the man gets her red roses, well, that relationship is dead. If a woman tells a man she doesn’t like chocolate, and the man does NOT get her chocolate, the man is once more screwed because the woman will think, “He didn’t get me chocolates because he thinks I’m fat.” A card, of course, is ALWAYS necessary, and it has to be the right card.
When Marty and I had been together for a year and a half or so, he got me the wrong card. Apparently, Hallmark makes a card for commitment-phobic men that goes something like this: “I like you so very very much. I don’t know what the future holds for us, but I treasure this special day.” He gave me the card at a Scrabble tournament we’d both been playing in. To make matters worse, Marty came in to the hotel room at eleven after playing even more Scrabble in the after-hours Scrabble room.
Because I save every card Marty has given me, and because this particular card is not in my collection, I’m assuming I tore it up in front of his face.
Since then, I’ve gotten real nice cards from my husband, sometimes with a couple of crisp fifties in them.
I used to think this was not very romantic, but rethought my stance when I remembered an ex-boyfriend who’d gotten me a fire extinguisher for Valentine’s Day. And then a girlfriend told me about how she got a vacuum cleaner from her (now ex) husband on February 14th.
As a child I never really liked Valentine’s Day. The nuns made sure that we knew it was SAINT Valentine’s Day. Valentine was one of those vague saints, like Christopher. I imagined Christopher as big and kind of clumsy, but really nice. Valentine was more delicate, but also a good guy. It kind of put a damper on things when the nun said that Saint Valentine had been martyred. Was this why we were exchanging candy hearts and cheap little heart-shaped cards with highly gendered puppies and bunnies and skunks? Because this nice guy had been tortured and killed? (Hmmm. I suppose I could make an analogy here between love and suffering.)
By the time I got to high school, nobody was calling it SAINT Valentine’s Day. Maybe the poor guy got demoted or, like Christopher, desainted because of a lack of historical evidence. (Of course, desainted is not a valid Scrabble word, even in Collins, but I’m writing to Pope Francis to see what might be done about this.)
Anyway, I’m perfectly happy laying on the couch, watching men in tights and low buttoned shirts ice-dancing to romantic music. I take breaks to study some Scrabble words while munching on the chocolate truffles I’d asked Marty to hide when he left for Vegas. I found them in his office/storage room, underneath a baseball cap on his desk. I think of words that have to do with love: CUPID (and its anagram PUDIC), HEART (and its anagrams HATER, EARTH, and RATHE), AMOUR, OUTLOVE, OVERLOVE, MARTYR, MONEY, CASH, etc.