Monday, February 15, 2010

Repurposing Valentine's Day

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 Friedm
an, 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.

12 comments:

LPC said...

Duchesse, from what I see, you are right, and this is happening incrementally. My daughter texted me, "Happy Valentine's Day!" I sent her and my son cookies, and so on.

Someone said...

I too agree that it's becoming less romantic-love-only, I like the idea.

(Need I add that the day *isn't* always important to "her," even if she is in a relationship...I never gave a hoot and have rarely been single. And the generic list of V-Day gifts says "I have no imagination and anyway, you're interchangeable with any old chick!" I greatly prefer personally relevant treats. :D )

Today's my husband's birthday, so he has other reasons not to like the V-Day thing...so he gets his bottle of Malbec today. :)

Belle de Ville said...

I used to be in your camp about the rebranding and repurposing V-day. I was annoyed with the cloying commercialism of the whole thing.
But now as I get older I see that much of society has developed into a "hook-up" culture and moved away from any acts of Romance and Wooing. Perhaps a holiday to celebrate Romantic Love, from Elinor of Aquitane and her troubadors to the Romantic movement of the early 19th Century, is still in order.
Yes even skeptical, sarcastic and single me, I'm afraid that deep down I'm still a Romantic. Bring on the champagne, caviar and Chopin!
Also, one last point; we don't celebrate pilgrims, we celebrate the fact that they survived under almost impossible odds.

Duchesse said...

LPC: yes, and I also see Valentines are being produced for other than couples.

Someone: I like both!

Belle: I would not dump the romantic, just broaden the 'love'. True re pilgrims, I am guilty of alliteration.

Deja Pseu said...

Hear, hear!

Like Belle, I'm not ready to cast romanticism and wooing to the trash heap of history, but I agree this should be an ongoing attitude, not just a couple of cards and overpriced roses or box of chocolate begrudgingly purchased
at 11pm on 2/13.

We dropped off some nice cheeses and a fresh baguette to MIL, took our not-so-little-anymore guy out for lunch and a ride on the mall carousel, and then relaxed and in the evening watched "The African Queen" and "Summertime" on cable in the den with the dogs and a very nice half bottle of champagne. Perfect day!

metscan said...

I might be a downer now, when I say that I don´t like any of these `celebrating something days´. If I feel like crying, I won´t smile, or the other way around. I like to give gifts, but when I have something to give, I can´t wait for the `The´day´, I want to give the gift right away. I know, I have already mentioned this before. I´m a hasty person. Sorry Duchesse for not staying fully in the topic.

Anonymous said...

i love Valentine's day and have always used it to celebrate the most important loves of my life... the majority of which are not at all romantic. When i have a romantic partner, I make sure i shower him with attention, but I've also used the day to make gratuitous phone calls to dear friends, send cards to family members, hug my elderly (female) neighbour... bring on love, in any of its wonderful forms.

I must disagree, though, about it being better than celebrating Queen Victoria. She was a tough old bird and it brings me immense joy to celebrate her birthday each spring. Too rarely do we, as a society, fete a woman who was not beautiful or married to a more powerful man.

lagatta à montréal said...

I love Victoria Day (here in Québec it has been renamed "La Fête des Patriotes", commemorating the participants in the failed 1837 uprising, but nobody really pays attention to the name) - I love it because in many regions here, it is the weekend considered safe to plant bedding plants. Though I've been able to flower my balconies even earlier in recent years. Marché Jean-Talon and other public markets are full of flowers that time of year and it is so pretty after our long winters.

Valentiger has been a happy day for many, as it has been an opportunity to combine Valentine's with the Lunar New Year and kick off the Year of the Tiger, which is more collective and familial by its very nature.

Valentine's Day always made me very sad, whether or not I was in a romantic relationship (currently one of those "long-distance" ones, often more virtual than real)... But it has been so unseasonably sunny and mild that the February blues have little hold.

The Pilgrim settlers in New England could never have survived without the skills of the Indigenous peoples of the region, and the same holds for French settlers here. That is what I find most important to celebrate or commemorate.

Someone, I hope you and your husband have a nice supper along with the Malbec. I'm being taken out for supper tonight by a very close friend; we are both setting off on trips soon but not to the same place.

Duchesse, I do confess I wish long-distance sweetie would buy me some earrings; they don't have to be diamond studs. He always gives me books and such; I suppose I should be glad he thinks I have a brain, but he is such a nerdy intellectual! Worse than I am!

Duchesse said...

Pseu: What a lovely round of connection and affection!

Metscan: Not at all! I too enjoy the excitement and pleasure of presenting a gift 'just because'.

Anonymous: Yes, she's pretty great, especially compared to Lord Simcoe. This dates me.

lagatta: Any gift given with appreciation is treasured! I'm finding this Feb. holiday a bit odd- it's only since '07 that Ontario has celebrated it.

While most people (if one works for an organization) think "Well, a day off with pay is a gift", mid-Feb. in this city is not time to picnic or gather in a square for a concert!

Fritinancy said...

Dear Duchesse: Thanks so much for the mention! However, I must set the record straight. It was not I who "suggested rebranding Valentine's Day." The assignment came from Studio 360, the public-radio show, and was executed by Under Consideration, a design agency in Austin, Texas. I was simply sharing the news. Read all about it on the Under Consideration blog: http://bit.ly/bfI0fj

Frugal Scholar said...

Wonderful as always. We have Presidents Day today (USA); maybe I'll adopt some of the Canadian holidays. (It's also Lundi Gras). And, as for Lagatta, I have a guy like that too--he would buy me diamond earrings IF I ASKED HIM TO. But he would never do it if I didn't. It's OK.

dana said...

Thanks again, Duchesse! I'm noticing the repurposing requirement this year. Daughter's in first grade, and I insist she send a valentine to everyone, that it's about friendship and appreciation. And at home, the guys, age 3, are getting it. We had a bang up Valentine's Day. Started with waffles with raspberries and whipped cream, gifts of candy, and a new book (Love, Splat). And then the same again from grandparents!