One of my favourite ads for Valentine's Day featured an enormous pair of diamond studs with the caption, "Yes, it's a stupid, made-up holiday, but it's the stupid, made-up holiday that's important to her."
Well, it's mostly important to people in a romantic relationship. But I have another plan for V-Day, bear with me.
Many men dislike the obligation to explicitly express their feelings. Some women also say they'd rather acknowledge their ardour when they pleased, not on February 14. Flowers, chocolates, cards: lovers conform, sometimes grudgingly.
Nancy Friedman, writer of the excellent blog Fritinancy, has suggested rebranding Valentine's Day, releasing it from Cupidity. (Shown, the suggested graphic from design studio Under Consideration.)
Let's go one step further than rebranding, and repurpose February 14 as a day to acknowledge the life force of love.
Valentine's Day would become a day to celebrate anyone you love, in any way. You could play a little longer with your cat, take your elderly uncle to lunch, write a note of appreciation to the best boss you ever had, send a cheque to your favourite cause and thank them for their work. Bring a muffin to the guy at the newsstand who always saves you the last copy of your favourite magazine. Cook her favourite meal for your trying teenager.
You don't even need a personal relationship with your love object: play the music you enjoy (I love you, Tom Petty), read your favourite author, visit the art gallery. Or you could commune before the spirit, in prayer or meditation.
Whatever love means for us, on this day, we would simply reconnect with its power and presence.
This idea came to me because here in Canada, today's a holiday called Family Day, the third Monday in February. Family Day (F-Day?) is not always mashed up against V-Day, but this year it is, and I thought, it's the same thing, really, a day to be thankful for love.
Not everyone has a family where love abounds. But everyone needs love, and why not stop for a day to connect with love in all its forms, from the altruistic to sensual? Sure beats celebrating presidents, pilgrims or Queen Victoria.
You could give me diamond studs some other day.