Don’t Be My Valentine

I don’t observe Valentine’s Day. I think it’s a money-grab by the candy, card, flower, jewelry, and tchochke industries. I make it very clear to my partners, when I start a relationship with them, that that day will not be celebrated. (Although Half-Price Chocolate Day is observed yearly.) If you love me, show me on the regular; if I love you, I will do the same.

A search for the word “valentine” on Amazon revealed to me, at the time I wrote this, 286,457 items (including Harvey the Heart Had Too Many Farts). That’s a lot. Some of it is jewelry, some of it is gift items, and a lot of it is books — over 20,000 items (I couldn’t get an exact amount). I’m sure that, if I narrowed it down to the romance and erotica categories, the books would fall into one of these categories:

  • An established couple doing something on Valentine’s Day.
  • A lonely person (usually a woman) who meets someone on Valentine’s Day.
  • Someone who hates Valentine’s Day but is brought around to their beau’s (or potential beau’s) point of view.
  • One half of a couple wants to do something for the other half for Valentine’s Day, but a series of amusing roadblocks occurs.

Don’t jump on me with examples of “but this one isn’t”, because I’m sure at least ten percent of the 20,000 items don’t include one of those hackneyed themes. But there’s a reason people still have the same trope-ish feelings about Valentine’s Day: it’s reinforced in the media we consume. Books, movies, TV shows, comics, podcasts… you don’t have to look too hard to find a Valentine’s Day theme in something you like (yes, even Star Trek).

I have never written a Valentine’s Day story. I probably never will. Oh, sure, February 14 will likely occur in one of my stories at some point, but that’s the extent of it. I don’t want you to be my Valentine, and neither do my characters.

Also, at this point I’ve reached semantic satiation for the word “valentine”, so that’s a treat. And thank you Ted Lasso for introducing me to that extremely-useful term.

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