According to an article in yesterday's Minneapolis Star Tribune, a so-called life coach from New York has declared war on Valentine's Day. He's pushing for "more personalized expressions of meaningful feeling and sincere emotion," and he says that "you can't really be romantic when being romantic is completely expected." Apparently he's never heard of the single carved-in-stone rule of Romance: Must have HEA ending. Expected. Required. No excuses, buddy.
So here's a guy who coaches people presumably engaged in the sport of living who's making headlines--well, bottom of the front page of section E, but when you're casting about for grist for the blog, "Valentine's Day gets 'F' in romance" catches the eye--by coming up with a plan to make Valentine's Day (new name for the holiday TBA) a movable feast. It should be celebrated on a different day every year, says the coach, making it less predictable. Must say, reference to "the exploitation of love for profit" with regard to those greedy florists, candy makers, and greeting card companies hits a little too close to home for me.
Apparently college students in particular question the value of the holiday. One young woman is quoted at length about constructs and confidence and the myth of the knight in shining armor. Then we turn to the male point of view: "Why don't guys have a man's day where a girl goes out and gets us beer and stuff like that?" Ah, youth. Eventually the woman will learn that there's a reason why these holidays are inscribed on the calendar--Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, your wedding anniversary and the like--and that reason is the male point of view. "Guys" don't aspire to be knights in shining armor. King of the castle is more like it. The young man knows this already.
A few hours after I read this bit of news, I had the pleasure of helping my granddaughters address their valentines for school. These days the list of names comes home with instructions. Everyone gets a valentine. No more Charlie Browns. One of the girls picked a Barbie theme, and the other chose puppies and kitties. "Oh, this one is perfect for so-and-so." And tomorrow I get to take the treats for one of the parties. (Did the other one last fall.) We engage in some girl talk about Valentine's Days of old. Nana loads everybody up into the Wayback Machine. Yes, girls, Romance is about more that hearts and flowers, boys and girls, hugs and kisses. It's about friends and families and doing good deeds and all that stuff. So why do we have Valentine's Day? For the same reason we have days for other special aspects of our lives. One day on the calendar reminds us to celebrate a feeling we value every day.
Romance On Demand? So what? As long as it's not On Delay, we're good.
What are your thoughts? Is Valentine's Day too commercial? Too predictable? Do you have any particular expectations? Have you ever been blown away by a romantic gesture on Valentine's Day?
Gotta say, it's a good month to publish a Romance.
Note: Thanks to xkcd.com for the opening cartoon. The website allows free use of their material as long as it is not reproduced for sale.