Keep hearts alive this Valentine’s Day

I am finally letting the cat out of the bag. I have a pretty hot date this Valentine’s Day: Mr. Block Buster.

Yes, another Feb. 14 has blown my way. Abundant amounts of PDA be damned! I will enjoy the day. Yet, while I’m spending my 19th Valentine’s Day sans Valentine, I still do enjoy those tasty heart-shaped, red foil-encased chocolates – and the cherished feeling of sentiment that plagues the air. Plus, why should I really expect any more out of the day?

I fondly remember Valentine’s Days past, accepting a pet bird from my parents on my fourth Valentine’s Day, competing with friends over the amount of Snoopy themed cards tucked in our respective pink and red themed shoe boxes, receiving a flower delivery from my sympathetic best friend’s boyfriend – natch. Thankfully, I have come to accept, in this blithely sane moment, that Valentine’s Day is A-okay, whether it’s spent as the loveliest wallflower or the most radiant prom queen.

The baby of the Hallmark holidays, Feb. 14 has it roots in Catholicism, specifically in a youthful, swarthy and brutally handsome (I would like to think so, anyway) Saint Valentine. Valentine spent his life performing marriages on the down low for young Roman soldiers during the days of Emperor Claudius II, when Claudius had outlawed marriage for young men because he felt that single men made much better soldiers. Accordingly, Valentine was put to death, but not before sending a Roman jailor’s daughter, conveniently his love, a letter signed “From your Valentine.” Around 200 years later, Pope Gelasius officially designated Feb. 14 Saint Valentine’s Day.

But what about those who claim that “Single’s Awareness Day” is ill themed, superficial and not worth the $10 box of chocolate upon which its existence depends? Thus the classic anti-Valentine’s Day clich argument takes a stance: instead of doting on your loved one with the insanity of a sugar rushed Cupid armed with a fuzzy stuffed heart and a three dollar card, a celebration of love need not be crammed into one shop-a-holic crazed, 24-hour time period.

An expression of the heart cannot be measured in material worth, although some parties might beg to differ. Instead, blessed innocent love is measured in simple deeds of devotion, in sincere, non-poetic words and in terribly frank, unstructured gestures.

Not surprising to those scathing Valentine’s Day critics, approximately “one billion Valentine’s Day Cards are sent every year, making February 14th the second largest card giving occasion of the year.” Strangely enough, on Feb. 15 the stores will slash prices on all red and pink themed candy and tuck those kissing bears away for next year. But why can’t we give red and pink love all year round?

Whether you love it with lovers, or hate V Day with the wrath of a loved one scorned, do as Valentine did and spread the love – cram some conversational hearts into your mouth, indulge in an aphrodisiac or two, find a kissing partner and revel in your youth. And, by the way, find your own date for Saturday night – my man is already taken.

Vanessa Cutler can be contacted at