Not So Great Gatsby: A Valentine’s Day With No Head Tricks


Dear Nick,

The champagne buzz has barely worn off from New Year’s Eve and here we are, flying into February. The second page on the calendar can be the coldest, via both vortices of the polar variety and days, namely, Valentine’s.


This St. Valentine has been wreaking havoc for men and women for as long as I can remember, and definitely before I learned that hearts were not actually pink, nor shaped like upside butts.  No one really knows much about him except for his name. And even the name, Valentine, may be referring to multiple saints with the same moniker (it seems sainthood was a lot easier before the advent of digital media … and the printing press). In around 300, it seems one of the Valentines was beheaded in Rome for remaining adamant about admiring Jesus. While imprisoned, he reportedly cured the jailer’s daughter of blindness. When he was finally lead out to be executed, he left the young girl a note. Our very first valentine card! What I want to know is why was this girl spending so much time at a prison, gallivanting about with prisoners and letting them attempt miracles on her? And what a self-serving miracle! “All I got you for Valentine’s… um, my day… was this card… Oh, you are blind… Hold on, I have an idea!” Even the original Valentine only showed up with a card, so let’s not lose our heads about this holiday.

Sadly, some of my stingier friends say that it’s a holiday invented by Hallmark.  In fact, there is a scholarly history of folks who forgot to pick up a box of chocolates for their lovers, and get indignant, claiming a marketing plot hatched by JC Hall and Russell Stover. Erroneous! True love wins this one (or at least people enthusiastic about celebrating a headless guy’s inappropriate pen pal relationship with a girl whose father desperately needed the Dark Age’s version of child care). Since the 1700s, men who were not that into her have ridiculed the dubious nature of the holiday, saying they have early meetings, or their telegraph didn’t get very good service on the path their horse and buggy galloped along. Hallmark was started in 1910, so you may need to pick another excuse, cold-hearted snakes.

Coming so close on the Louboutin high heels of dashed New Year’s Eve expectations, you would think we would learn to taper our excitement about Valentine’s Day. Is there really a gift in your wildest dreams you could receive that would accurately reflect your partner’s love? Okay, maybe you are the wrong person to ask. Love should not be able to be quantified with dollars and diamonds. Love is a feeling and you shouldn’t try to fill that emotional pit with teddy bears and heart-shaped candies. That would be futile. That being said, don’t do nothing. I repeat for clarification for my romantically impaired friends: Do something.

Not every Harry, Rick and Charlie can afford to give his best gal or guy a diamond as big as the Ritz, but we’ve already established, and J-Lo has reaffirmed, that “love don’t cost a thing.” St. Valentine, we now know, was kinda creepy, so maybe step it up from just a card, as well. But it doesn’t need to be an expensive gift. Maybe you take a turn with the cooking and dishes, or drop the kids off at school and set your mate up with a relaxing bubble bath. Make yourself vulnerable, because that’s really what love is. Maybe mix in flowers or something sweet once in a while, even at times when you didn’t do something stupid. At first, it will be confusing to your lover, especially if you have been a romantic robot. But soon it will become second nature to be romantic throughout the year, and take a lot of the pressure of St Valentine off of your, well, shoulders (Sorry. That was my last beheading joke. I promise). Be thoughtful, make it sincere and you will win his or her upside down pink bum.

Yours Truly,