Valentine’s Day conjures scary childhood memories

February 14, 2014

I really hate it when I look at my weekly day planner and right next to the date is a time, but nothing else. There are pages of dates that have meaningless hours: 10 a.m. Friday with only a question mark, 4 p.m. Tuesday with a happy face, and 9 a.m. Wednesday with a huge exclamation point in red. I don’t know whether that 11 a.m. Monday means I am having surgery, being audited by the IRS or I’ve had a mini stroke and never finished writing in the activity.

Anyway, this has been happening to me more and more lately, probably the result of the slow deterioration of my mind due to those foot x-rays I had as a kid in the shoe store in the ‘50s.

But I am giving a fair warning, especially to the guys. There is one date that needs no explanation. And it is here.

That red circle around Feb. 14 has nothing to do with an oil change for your car. Nor does it have anything to do with the opening day of baseball spring training. No, that date only means one thing, Valentine’s Day.

As far back as kindergarten, boys have had a healthy dislike and revulsion for this day. They can’t remember their wife’s middle name, but they can vividly recall the frightening Valentine’s Day box in their classroom, all done up in red crepe paper hearts and frilly white doilies. It was enough to make you puke, well certainly put forth a good healthy burp, which boys practice all the time after school and on camping trips.

Back then, kindergarten was presided over by a teacher, in my case a Miss Frost, who wore corrective shoes with the same gray suit all year and sucked orange peels through her teeth in the back of the room.

If that wasn’t enough, some kids’ own mothers could betray them by forcing them to write their name on all those Valentines to put in that frilly sissy girlish box, when they could be outside doing really important guy things like rolling boulders and discarded ovens down an embankment.

Boys wrote in big block letters, much like a ransom note demanding a getaway car. One thing that dogged them forever was they could never get that letter “S” to go the right way. In fact, it wasn’t until they were married, divorced and remarried that they could actually learn to turn it around, what with all the dollar signs in front of so many alimony payments and attorney fees. These are the same youngsters with no early social skills who would go on later in life to careers as computer geeks where they would make enough money to retire at the age of 14.

Now girls have had that date circled for a long time, actually since before birth.

They actually come out of the womb screaming for chocolates and flowers. Valentine’s Day is the ultimate romantic holiday. But there are two requirements for a woman to make it a successful fulfilling day, at least according to the greeting card folks, who attached an amendment to a bill that was part of the funding for the Department of Transportation package, and later this became law and that was number one, a woman had to have a date for Valentine’s Day, and number two, that date could not be a Dalmatian.

There are differences as to what constitutes a Valentine’s Day sentiment. Women will want that box of candy or maybe flowers. Of course, dinner is always a hit. Sure, the younger, metro guy will think texting is enough.

But the real pros know that the way to a woman’s heart is that red rose. And more importantly, that the convenience store is open all night. Happy Valentine’s Day.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

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