Valentine’s Day Memories

A Hip and Thigh Classic

(Reposted from Feb. 2009, which was reposted from Feb. 2006. Hence the reason we have “3” children)

My wife and I had a lovely Valentine’s Day on Tuesday evening. We dined at our favorite Italian restaurant and shared a big bowl of chicken and goat-cheese pasta. After dinner, we did what all parents of 3 toddler age children do – we went to the new Wal-Mart Supercenter and walked around holding hands.It was quite romantic.

One topic of discussion occupying our time as we drove to our various destinations is how Valentine’s Day has changed over the last decade or more. At least from my vantage point as a grouchy old 30 something.

First off is the sleazy element that has taken over Valentine’s Day. You could call it the “Victoria’s Secreting” of Valentine’s Day. Otherwise decent women who are not prone to displays of partial nudity in public feel free to wear lingerie when they eat out. Even more stunning is how their husbands or boyfriends do not care their wives or girlfriends look like they are in competition to get on the cover of Maxim Magazine. Come on people, let us maintain some dignity. A lot of you people have children for goodness sake.

Even more is the out-and-out commercialization. Again, with the sleazy, pornifide element attached to it. Any advertisement for Valentine’s Day has sexual innuendos woven through out. Even the run of the mill cards you would buy for a friend or loved one are filled with some level of sexuality. I do not recall any of this when I was a kid.

All I remember is how Valentine’’ was a soul-crushing season of the year for me. Our teacher would have us build our own mailboxes out old shoe boxes covered with pink and red construction paper. We cut a slit in the top and taped it to the front of our desk. Then, when Valentine’s Day came, at the designated time, all the kids in the class were to put their cards in each others mailboxes.

Except for those few friends I had whose mother’s wrote my name on a card, my box remained empty. I always dreamed of getting a card from any one of the 3rd grade super models. I guess there were not a whole lot of girls who wanted to make a heavyset asthmatic guy who wheezed audibly their Valentine.

One year, I think in fifth grade, before a P.C. mindset had totally saturated every aspect of society, our teacher made every kid make a card for every other kid so no one would be left out. You know, that “Everyone is a special Valentine!” philosophy. The problem, however, is she never stipulated what could or could not be written on the card. So  I received a lot of “Have a fatty Valentine’s Day” and “Don’t be mine Freddy Big Butt-ler” notes. But, never did I get a card with some crude sexual comment, nor did I or any other kid I knew, ever think of writing such a thing on any card we gave to anyone else.

Maybe I am more exposed to it because I live in LA, where the culture constantly exports a Playboy-Hustler worldview of life that equates lust and erotica with true love and commitment. I hope it is not like that out in the real world away from Southern California.


3 thoughts on “Valentine’s Day Memories

  1. The mailbox valentines thing? Our elementary teachers must have gone to the same holiday-ideas-training-seminars, ’cause my class had the same tradition and dashed expectations. The only bonus was pawning, collecting and gorging on the white and yellow candy hearts.

  2. The times they are a changin…and it’s not just Valentine’s Card. When I worked for the Marines Toys for Tots I was abhorred at what they produce for dolls for little girls these days

  3. Made me chuckle Fred! I don’t think I ever had an elementary Valentines celebration without having to give a card to everyone in the class. We must be more progressive (not necessarily a good thing) here in Ohio. :)

    I don’t understand the whole lingerie-is-now-regular-clothing thing. I was a little dismayed to see this trend in supposed “formal’ dresses for (I guess) high school girls. Even more unbelievable is that their parents let them out in public like that! I now understand why old people seem so cranky — I’m going to be even more so in a couple years.

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