“Bah! Humbug!” is associated with the miserly, wrinkled, and mean-spirited character Ebenezer Scrooge from Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol.” The word “Scrooge” is now synonymous with a stingy person who hates Christmas. However, I have yet to find a similar word for me, a Valentine’s Day scoffer. “Vah! Heartbug” doesn’t have the right ring to it; chanting Stupid Cupid is unfair to an innocent cherub; maybe I am simply heart-o-phobic.
OK, I do have a heart, and it goes out to all the poor gal-identified folks that have been brainwashed into basing their happiness on “romantic” expectations. Year after year their fantasies are whipped into a frenzy only to be repeatedly dashed — whether they are in a relationship, out of a relationship or simply wishing their dog could send them flowers and chocolate.
And the guys? I feel terrible for so many male identified people who are expected to follow Hallmark traditions or even worse, magically read their lover’s mind. And the stereotype of the insensitive and clueless male continues to be perpetuated. I beg my husband to please not get me anything for Valentine’s Day; he is my sweetheart all year round and I am not interested in more commercial claptrap. And yet, he surprises me every year!
Tell me this: What is romantic about a rigid expectation? Isn’t the heart, excuse the expression, the core of romance, surprise and astonishment at someone’s thoughtfulness without prompting or guilt? Do you really want a gift — regardless of gender — that is given so as to not incur disappointment or a scolding?
And come on, a heart? A blood-pumping muscle that clogs? In other eras, the liver was thought to be the seat of adoration. What a line of cards that could prompt: “Darling, you are the onions to my liver! I was fried when I first met you! Your love gives me Cirrhosis!”
Or what if the nose was the location of our love? Why not? A nose is no more arbitrary then an organ we are only aware of when we are upset or having a possibly fatal attack. More sentiments for gifts and cards: “I sniffed you from the get-go, give that other a heave-ho; they blow! Our love is as obvious as the nose on my face. Like Wizard and Oz, you are my favorite Schnoz!”
If you want to celebrate on the 14th, how about celebrating the birthday of Susan B. Anthony? Her birthday is Valentine’s adjacent, and is 200 years as of Feb. 15, 2020. I’m much more inspired to celebrate liberty and freedom for all than torrid romance for a scant few. Or how’s this: on Valentine’s Day 1870, Esther Morris became our country’s first female Justice of the Peace in South Pass City, Wyoming, after previous Justice R.S. Barr resigned. He did so to protest Wyoming Territory’s passage of the women’s suffrage amendment in 1869. Hey, your honor: don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out! Let’s celebrate historical instant Karma!
So Vah-humheart! OK, celebrate whatever you want and please take this advice: have a liver-to-liver, er, nope, that just sounds slimy, or a nose-to-nose, er, that sounds hostile. OK then, have a heart-to-heart with your sweetie to see what it is that they really want from you. That takes courage, or — since this column was largely about organs — guts.
Ellen has written Consider This for a long time. This Valentine’s Weekend, she’s screening her movie and performing her play to offset some of her expenses for the 64th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. You get a tax deduction and entertainment; a win-win! Email her if you’re interested in attending: firstname.lastname@example.org