Valentine’s Day Riot
Riot–Disturbance in the execution of some private object.
Okay, so I'm talking a MINOR disturbance. I'm not talking about throwing a bench through the windows of your local Hallmark Card Store. Do NOT do this, because you will be arrested, and it will be on your permanent record and you will never be able to be a supreme court justice.
Besides, I used to work in a card store, and I can assure you, it's not the cardsellers' fault.
But you CAN make a disturbance by refusing to do what's expected of you. Kind of the way American Hi-Fi puts it in “The Art of Losing:”
Hey-Ho, let's go
I'm gonna start a riot
You don't wanna fight it
One, two, one, two
Don't tell me what to do
I don't want to be like you
Because we AREN'T like everybody else, are we? And I don't know about you, but I kind of resent being told that if I don't do what everybody else is doing, I am somehow uncool or a loser.
And before all of you readers who LOVE Valentine's Day and are planning on spending it with that special someone (and who don't consider yourself a mindless sheep for going along with the whole Hallmark Moment thing) get all bent out of shape and write to me about how bitter and mean I am, let me share something with you:
The truth is—prepare yourself: I don't want to shock you—I have never been asked to be anyone's Valentine.
Never. Not even once.
You might be saying to yourself, “How is that possible, Meg? Aren't you married?”
I have news for you. Just because you're married doesn't mean he's ever asked you to be his Valentine. The opposite, in fact, is true: BECAUSE you are married, he doesn't think he HAS to ask you.
Thus the incredibly annoying ads on TV for Kay Jewelers (Every Kiss Begins With Kay) trying to encourage husbands to get their wives that adorable heart pendant they've always wanted (ick).
My husband, when I asked him just now what we were doing for Valentine's Day this year, said the same thing he says every year: “Don't people realize that they are giving away roses and boxes of candy to celebrate the torture and execution of a martyred saint (St. Valentine)? What's romantic about a guy bleeding to death? What kind of screwed up holiday is that? If the media thinks they can tell me when to tell my wife that I love her, they can just go to….” blah blah blah.
Every single boy I have ever been involved with has had something along those lines to say on our first Valentine's Day together as a couple. Other highlights include:
“Valentine's Day is a day designed by card manufacturers to sell things.”
“St. Valentine was a Roman martyr who was killed by the Roman authorities for his early Christian beliefs. What does that have to do with romance?”
“The only reason February 14th was ever associated with love was because it was believed that it was around that time that birds mated for the first time in the Spring.”
“Valentines Day as experienced today is a modern innovation that literally began to sell greeting cards.”
The only “boyfriend” who ever even came close to asking me to be his Valentine was Ronald Baldwin in the seventh grade, and we weren't even going out. He just handed me a Whitman Chocolate Sampler, completely out of the blue, with a note that said, “Love from Ronald.” I was so astonished that I scarfed down the whole thing during third period without even offering him a piece (hint to anyone who gets a box of chocolates from a boy for Valentine's Day: it's polite to offer the person who gave you the box the first piece).
Needless to say, because of my rude behavior, Ronald never spoke to me again, except for once when we were trapped in a cave on a spelunking field-trip and he dropped his flashlight and was trapped and had to call for help and I was the only person nearby and so he had no choice.
But even after I saved his life, he still didn't want me, because of my thoughtlessness over the Whitman Sampler.
But guess what? I don't feel like a loser for never having been asked to be anyone's Valentine. Far from it! Because, let's face it: Birthday of a dead martyr or not, Valentine's Day makes way more people feel bad than feel good, which means Valentine's Day is evil. And wrong.
And that's why we must fight it. Now.
We do not have to let ourselves be corporate tools by believing that Valentine's Day is a big deal. Valentine's Day is a 24 hour day like any other day, except that people at Hallmark and American Greetings want to sell more cards on it. Because, as my friend Michele points out, they haven't convinced us yet to give out “Happy Wednesday” cards.
We can beat this system–and a culture that leaves a lot of people feeling depressed on February 14th–by staging a riot. Not by chanting or throwing things, but by OPTING OUT.
I don't mean do nothing on Valentine's Day. Far from it. I mean by doing the following, we will be telling Hallmark and Kay Jewelers and the Whitman candy company exactly how much we, as independent men and women, do not need to be told that if we do not give or receive their products on their stupid holiday we are somehow inadequate of unloved.
We can do this by not buying their products, and instead:
1) Choose or lose! If there is an election soon in your town, volunteer to help caucus (this is Michele's idea, and how she and her husband will be spending the day). You don't have to be eighteen to do this—candidates will take any volunteer of any age. In many school districts, you can get class credit for doing this…and all you generally have to do is stand around and pass out flyers. Bring a friend, and you will have a blast. You'll also be helping to make a difference while at the same time, GETTING CREDIT.
Plus, you might meet cute boys.
2) If there's no election in your town anytime soon, volunteer to do something else. Lots of people volunteer in soup kitchens and the like on Christmas and Thanksgiving, but where are the volunteers the rest of the year? Get out there and sponsor a sing-along at a retirement home, sort through old clothes at your local Good Will, pack up food for Wheels on Meals, walk dogs at your local animal shelter. Being nice to others will give you a rosy inner glow warmer than any Valentine could ever make you feel.
Plus, you might meet cute boys.
3) Do what Lisa Simpson did (remember when she gave Chief Wiggim's kid a Valentine because she felt sorry for him, and he wouldn't leave her alone because she choo-choo-choo chose him? Chill, it was just a TV show) and dole out the love to EVERYONE, not just one person. DO NOT USE STORE BOUGHT CARDS. Make your own (hello, you used to do it all the time. It's called doilies and glitter. Remember?) so that you do not give 1 cent to the card industry (the people who are trying to hard to make us feel bad). You will make someone's day, guaranteed.
4) If there is a Valentine's Day dance at your school on February 14, don't feel like you can't go just because you don't have a date. Bring a whole herd of friends! Talk the DJ into playing Pink's “Trouble” and dance like crazy. Every time a ballad comes on, groan and make fun of the slow dancers. Act totally immature and disgust the cute couples. It's totally fun. (Just don't be mean. Remember what they said in the movie “The Craft”: What you put out there comes back you, times three.)
5) You know how all those restaurants in town are having those romantic candlelit Valentine's Day dinner specials? Take advantag
e of them—only with your girlfriends, not some guy. Get together with your gal pals and chow down at your local snack shack. Mold weird animal shapes out of the candlewax and leave for the waiter to enjoy (especially if he's cute).
6) Hit the movies, and see something totally unromantic, like “Miracle” or “You Got Served” (or “Butterfly Effect”, if only to stare at Ashton's naked chest). Or rent movies at home, and throw popcorn at the screen whenever anybody kisses. One of my Valentine's Day favorites is the French film “Amelie,” because it's all about doing random acts of kindness on unsuspecting friends and strangers. One of my girlfriends watches the movie “Conspiracy Theory” every Valentine's Day, because she enjoys seeing Mel Gibson being tortured. Hey, whatever works for you.
7) Want to be everyone's Valentine? Give the love…in the form of chocolate.
But instead of showering it all on one (undoubtedly undeserving) person, shower it all around, on your friends. The more love you put out there, the more you get back (also in The Craft). Especially if it's chocolate.
DO NOT BUY BRACH'S OR RUSSELL STOVER CHOCOLATES OR ANYTHING ELSE FROM A STORE. MAKE the chocolates yourself. Here's how (special note: if you are a Little Dude who is not allowed to turn on the stove by yourself, please seek parental supervision if you choose to follow this recipe):
CHOCOLATE COVERED PEANUT BUTTER BALLS
Recipe courtesy of Meg's friend and fellow Valentine's Day hater Kim Goad
(Kim doubles this, but the following is for a single batch. She also suggests listening to “South Park”'s Chef's “Chocolate Salty Balls” while doing this, but that part is optional):
Cream together at room temperature:
2 sticks butter (or margarine)
1 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
Add 5 1/2 cups of powdered sugar (gradually) to above mixture.
Refrigerate for at least one hour.
Roll into balls and put on wax paper.
Melt in a double boiler (on medium heat, don't let water boil into top
pan! And little dudes, consult an adult before doing this):
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
2″ x 2″ square shaved paraffin
(You can find edible paraffin wax, also sometimes called baker's wax or canning wax, in your grocery store where baking and canning supplies are sold. It is a common ingredient in jellies and candy to retard moisture loss and spoilage. Use a potato peeler to make the paraffin slivers, and be sure they melt completely)
Step 6: Use round toothpicks to dip the peanut butter balls in the
chocolate. Let chocolate drip off peanut butter ball and into pan until
just about firm and then place on wax paper. When chocolate has hardened,
pull out toothpicks. Can refrigerate for at least a couple of weeks (but
mine never last that long!).
Does that sound too difficult? No one can resist your every day homemade chocolate chip cookie (recipe on the chocolate chip bag). A reader suggested that this was precisely how she planned on spending the day—handing out cookies to friends—and I couldn't support her plan more. Or the girl who wrote to say she is handing out pickles. Both of these readers are doing exactly what St. Valentine himself would do. Starting a riot by spreading the love. Not just to a boy. To the people in her life who support, encourage, and appreciate her.
Now THAT is a Valentine's Day idea I can get behind. So everybody: Start a riot! Boycott Valentine's Day cards and candies! Make your own, or just do something nice for someone!
Good luck. Go out there and make this Valentine's Day your best one yet. You CAN do it!!!!!!!!
To which I will only add:
Remember, Kay Jewelers: Every Kiss DOES Begin with Kay…including Kiss My Butt!