In Defense of Valentine’s Day by Robyn


doorway to my heart, originally uploaded by stinkypony.

Ed. Note: Robyn ’s post on the defense of Ruby Tuesday’s Salad Bar, Adams Morgan nightlife, kickball, and Apple computers got a really interesting debate going and has sparked a new series to debunk some of the automatic negative stereotypes about certain things in DC.

At Rolling Knolls elementary school, Valentines was a big deal. Everyone placed bags on the back of their chairs during recess in hopes that upon return, it would be overflowing with Snoopy-themed cards, heart-adorned pencils and pens, and the occasional amorous Almond Joy. My cards were in the form of personalized V day “checks.” As forced by my mother, I had to address the check s to all the kids in the class, even flatulence-prone Bart – you can guess the nickname. Unfortunately these pink checks had no monetary value, but if a classmate signed the line and “cashed” it, they could draw from the funds of my unadulterated love and devotion for each and every one of them.

Fast forward to my twenties, when Valentines Day is no longer about receiving lovingly-fraudulent checks, but about shelving out cash at expensive restaurants, on Belgian chocolates, or ingredients from Whole Paycheck for a romantic meal at home. It’s easy to hate on Hallmark-created holiday, for obvious reasons. If you’re ½ of a couple, you have to plan or attend something elaborate just to prove that you still like your counterpart enough. If you’re not, you’re forced to go out anyway as if to say “Who needs a significant other? Look how much fun I’m having!” while trying to mask any hint of desperation on your face with copious amounts of booze.

Call me a romantic, but I like Valentines Day. I especially like it in DC where there are plenty of options to celebrate love, or lack of love, or love for oneself. It’s the one day a year where you can revel in your love for just about anything. So if you hate St. Valentines, do what I did and…(cue Lifetime Movie soundtrack music)….and make DC your Valentine. Shameless Segway guy riding down 16th street (Bart, is that you)? I love you. I am in love with the Grouper fish at Oohs and Aahs, and even more in love with the Chinatown Exercise dude and his midday workouts. I have a love triangle between the jukebox at the Raven and the one at Wonderland. Even though I haven’t seen Blelvis and the “Black Cat Black Cat” guy for a while, I still love both of them very, very much and hope they know that wherever they are, they have a piece of my heart with them. The new love of my life is a magnificently deformed tree I discovered in Meridian Hill Park. The tree twists and turns amidst the stone sculptures of the park. It just wants to be art like them, too.

Go on Valentines Day haters, give DC a big ol’ hug.

P.S. I think we should auction off the Prince for Valentines. I’m starting the bid at $100.

26 Comment

  • I always assumed the Prince was married. Dude. you must pull so much tail with this blog!

  • Thanks for bringing back the RK Rockets memories, Robyn! Things I hug in DC: the 79 bus, the Balzac in the sculpture garden, and Rock Creek Park.

  • Wow, not only Robyn Michener had captured the key to the appetite of the stomach, she answers the solutions to the appetite of the heart. Man I tell you this makes everything that is going on with my hemmeroids that much better. I cant wait to get on the subway and just start hugging random people – Democrats and Republicans alike.

  • Great post, Robyn!

    I sent my kid off to school today with two cakes, and heart-covered goodie bags full of candy.

  • NiNi will pay $100 and throw in free salad bar from Rubys for the Prince.

  • I love the “black cat black cat” guy and Shameless Segway guy too!

  • Valentine’s day is awesome. There is absolutely no better day in the year to meet young, impressionable, emotionally fragile girls.

  • Okay so I was watching CNBC last night and I guess I obviously don’t fit their target demographic (I’m female) because all of the commercials were for last-minute Valentine’s day gifts like the pajama gram and 1-800-proflowers. It was hilarious because it showed these guys were really clueless and just needed someone to tell them what to do for their women… one of the actors said about the flowers website, “It just took a few clicks — it really took a lot of the stress out it.”

    But I really hate Valentine’s Day, because it creates this sense of obligation to do something romantic for your significant other, when it’s better when that’s spontaneous, or at least on a meaningful date for the couple, like an anniversary. Also it can be awkward depending on the stage of the relationship like if you just started dating in January… there was an Onion article about that.

  • First of all, Ms. Robyn, the only reason you like Valentine’s Day is because you’re spending it with your (ahem) ex… and in Philadelphia!

    Now I LOVE this city just as much as you do. (see my first blog post). But I also think that a holiday created by Chaucer (as in The Canterbury Tales author) should not be celebrated to the extent that it is today. It’s a fictional holiday created by a writer. It has the same amount of credibility as Festivus. And while some people have joke Festivus parties, it’s not a real holiday. And I’m not saying this from the view point of a bitter single woman. I have a great guy who wants to take me out tomorrow… but I think it’s absurd! He shouldn’t need a holiday to prompt him take me out. He should do that anyway, and he does! I’m going to let him think it’s a special day because he’s a romantic like that. But to me, it’s just like any other Saturday.

    The best part of V-day is that it’s good for procrastinators. All the depressed singles who had to go through first Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then New Year’s alone… if you didn’t get around to killing yourself last year, here’s Valentine’s Day, ready to stab you in the heart!

    And don’t even get me started on the flowers. Give your sweetheart flowers, something that slowly withers away and dies, just like your love.

  • Count me in as a Valentine’s Day hater. It’s a made up holiday dedicated to wasting our money and resources on cards, flowers and candy, and it’s cruel/unfair to single people. I’m no fan of Mother’s Day or Father’s Day either. What we need are more real Federal holidays where we have the day off from work, not something that basically amounts to a pain in the ass. Bah, humbug.

  • oh, i did the less than sign with a 3 to make a heart and it didn’t post what I wrote after that.

    To break down what I wrote:

    1. backwards running man in Chinatown who I think may be Robyn’s exercise man
    2. not having to drive hours to buy gochujang (like in Iowa) due to the fact there is tons of Korean stores and restaurants just 30-45 minutes away, giving traffic
    3. cheap big girl vodka drinks at black cat
    4. despite the large number of self-entitled assholes here, the cool people that live here out number them

  • I hate V-Day. Its the most ridiculous holiday every created it should be renamed Suicide Prevention Day. Every aspect about VDAY sucks… unreasonable romantic expectations, over eating, anxiety to a.#1 buy the right gift and b.#2 receive the right gift so you can tell your girlfriends about it. So much pressure, so much planing, so much disappointment. How about just being courtesy and thoughtful all year around?– That’s and inexpensive and well thought out way of showing your counter part you still like them. Whats with all these grand gestures.. ? They ultimately mean nothing but a new pair of diamond earrings, a box of chocolates and a second chin.

  • It might be a made up holiday, created just to make us spend money…but maybe the stimulus bill should include more made up holidays, created just to make us spend money??

  • Valentines day is an awful Holiday… there, I said it. It’s not enough that this pink confetti plastered madness has managed to engulf the world for a day but that it encourages such a bi – polar reaction in those who celebrate it. Women act as if chivalry is dead for 364 days a year (and are quite vocal about it ) then get 7 shades of hostile when it doesn’t miraculously resurrect itself on one cold, dreary, and emotionally vapid day in the heart of winter. Men frantically dance around to a tune choreographed by an unholy marriage of awful romantic comedies and shameless materialism that they often fail and more often don’t attempt.

    I won’t even attempt to besmirch the happy couples who actually find passion and romantic bliss on valentines day; chances are they have already found contentment in their relationship without wilted street corner roses and a build-a-bear. That being said, you make me sick… keep up the good work because I hope to join you one day.

    Finally, those of us who ignore, despise, or just don’t bother to celebrate the high holiday of plastic heart-shaped candies generally end up chasing our soul mate, whoever they may be, to the bottom of a bottle as we wait for daylight to bring the next day’s parade of forlorn lovers wearing last nights heels and the smell of beer, 10 minutes of passion, and regret. Therefore, I will bid one bottle of Kentucky bourbon, a lawn chair, and the greatest hits of honkytonk to the auction for PoP’s February 14th.

    Happy Valentines Day Y’all

  • I’m planning on seeing “My Bloody Valentine-3D”

    PS. watch out for Blelvis, he can get scary!

  • Once again, flipflopirate says it all and says it well.

  • How’s about we auction off Flipflopriate too? He’s the man! Maybe vonstallin too…

  • I heart ADAM will you and your two moms be my valentine… PS they were eating lunch and making out.

  • Robyn, I had your back for so many of these “In Defense of” posts, but you lost me on this one. I am not necessarily a hater of Valentine’s Day. I used to love it in elementary school (along with any other reason to not have to sit through lessons). but today I pretty much ignore it altogether. No animosity, just complete indifference.

    Here is my 2009 romantic Valentine’s Day story: Monday morning I was making breakfast for myself and my wife. She was fixing her hair down the hall, stops and shouts over to me “wait, we aren’t doing gifts for valentine’s day, are we?” “No, no, no, no,” I replied. I love that woman.

  • I am taking flipflopirate and the significant other to Burlesque-A-Pades tomorrow night. Best (girl)friend ever. But if flipflopirate wins PoP there will be a ticket available…

  • Alright, since no one else seems to want to do it, I’ll be Cupid’s advocate and stand in defense of this silly holiday. Yes, it’s silly and materialistic, but what holiday isn’t? Halloween causes a run on candy, Thanksgiving causes a run on turkeys, St. Patrick’s on Guinness, and Christmas on… just about everything. Yet, one does not have to fall victim to rampant consumerism in order to celebrate and participate in these special days. A simple hand-written note, an embrace, any simple gesture that says to your significant other that on this day, which is meant to celebrate the love in one’s life, “I choose to celebrate you.” That is all that this day requires. And if your gripe against V-day is that you don’t like to be told when to be romantic, then your beef isn’t against V-day; it’s against holidays in general. No one needs to be told that we should recognize our veterans, or that we should take time to give Thanks for the blessings in our lives, and yet we have days set aside specifically for these purposes, because they bestow national recognition on the things that we as a people hold precious. And what is more precious than love? So what is so wrong with having a special day for this purpose? Let’s be honest with ourselves. All of us could do a better job of showing the people in our lives that we love them. All that this day represents is a simple opportunity to do just that. Vive l’amour!

  • I feel like everyone is overlooking the REAL meaning of Valentine’s Day – the birth of our savior, Italian motorcycle racer, Valentino Rossi!

  • I used to hate Valentine’s Day until my wife was talking one time and apologized for expecting too much on valentine’s day. I was stunned. Came out of the blue. She talked to one of her friends who reminded her that her father did huge valentine’s days not because he loved her mother, but because he was making up for things like totalling the car on new years or his business not making a profit once the books were balanced.

    Valentine’s day is for kids and teenagers and that’s cool. The shame of it is that too many people expect too much and it’s almost always going to fail. Most people out there really don’t have romantic love in their lives and that starts a chain reaction.

    20 years ago I planned a great valentines day for my then girlfriend and it was a total disaster- I got in a car wreck and then drank two big glasses of wine and her friends were total idiots- big fans of Reagan- and I became a drunken crank. What I had the biggest problem with was that:
    1. she couldn’t cope with me being upset my car got damaged
    2. she shoe-horned a corny dinner with some really unpleasant couple on top of my punk rockitude
    3. made me perform in public for these people I neither knew nor liked

    Valentine’s day is also an attempt to remove amorous behavior from romantic love. The devices of valentine’s day are childlike and at best corny and at worst cloyingly sweet and creepy. After being surrounded by reminders of childhood the last thing I want to do is, you know, become physical.

    When I think of the ultimate quiet important romantic moments with my wife, they all occurred in April-June where the warm weather had us making vacation plans on the rooftop decks of any number of now-closed Adams Morgan restaurants.

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