Love Themes

She lays all the cards on the table, he plays it safe. It all comes down to what the meaning of Valentine's day' is.

Reimer Vs. Cowherd

February 13, 1999|By SUSAN REIMER | SUSAN REIMER,SUN COLUMNIST

Valentine's Day is upon us, and once again it is up to the women of America to instruct men on the proper celebration of a holiday.

As is the case with Christmas, birthdays and anniversaries, Valentine's Day is an occasion to be marked by gifts and cards thoughtfully chosen with the woman you love as your inspiration.

And if we women don't tell you exactly what to do, you might spoil a perfectly good special occasion.

In previous lessons on "The Tribute and Adoration of the Woman You Love," we have covered the inappropriateness of electrical appliances and sweat suits as gifts, and the irreparable damage that simple forgetfulness can do.

Today, we will deal -- I hope once and forever -- with the meaning of Valentine's Day.

It's about sex.

Do I have your attention, Kevin? I thought so.

First, a little history.

Valentine's Day is named for a Christian saint, but it has less to do with him than it does with the fact that St. Valentine's Day coincided with a Roman festival celebrating the coupling of birds. The festival usually began about now and heralded the coming of spring.

According to some historians, young lovers would express their affection for each other in messages and gifts, then participate in wild orgiastic ceremonies.

As you can see, Valentine's Day as it is often celebrated in this country has strayed far from this important historical context.

Perhaps I can illustrate this best by saying what Valentine's Day is not.

It is not about kids.

Kids don't understand the meaning of Valentine's Day. All they care about is the candy, and they squirm with annoyance when fathers drag them into card shops to choose a Valentine for mommy.

The best evidence that Valentine's Day is wasted on children is the fact that they try to hurt each other with valentines. That's why schools have rules that you have to take one for everyone in the class.

So, Valentine's Day is not about buying 20 Michael Jordan valentines and 20 Barbie valentines and passing them out to everyone in your homeroom so no one cries.

And Valentine's Day is not about sending cute little cards with puppies and kittens to nieces and nephews or teachers or grandparents or baby-sitters or your favorite clerk in the grocery store.

And it is not about sending a card to your mother saying that you finally appreciate her for all the things she has done for you. That's what Mother's Day is for.

No. Valentine's Day is about finding a hot card and sending it to your mate, then waiting to see what happens.

Valentine's Day is about behind closed doors. It is about the phone off the hook. It is about red silk lingerie and the only time in a woman's life she will choose to wear a garter belt.

Valentine's Day is not about love. It is about passion. It is not about enduring companionship. It's about one night the two of you will be thinking about for days.

It is about bras that are cut down to here and panties that are cut up to there and sending your kids to sleep over at a friend's house. It is about camisoles and satin boxer shorts and breakfast in bed at 11 a.m.

Didn't you know? The "V" in Victoria's Secret stands for Valentine's Day.

It is about reading erotic poetry aloud to him. It is about washing her hair by candlelight. It is about sharing the same pair of men's silk pajamas.

It's about red lipstick and red nail polish. It is about granting wishes and wishing the night would never end.

True, Valentine's Day is about flowers and candy and champagne. But only because rose petals smell wonderful when they are sprinkled on sheets and because champagne makes you laugh and do crazy things and because there is nothing sexier than a woman biting into a chocolate as if she means it.

Flowers, candy and champagne are foreplay. Valentine's Day doesn't end with their arrival. It is only just beginning.

Valentine's Day is not for greeting cards that pay loving tribute to your wife for her unselfish dedication to you and the children. It is not for cards that apologize for not saying "I love you" enough, it is not for cards that celebrate the memories of your life together.

Valentine's Day is not about greeting cards at all.

It is about invitations.

Pub Date: 2/13/99

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