NELSON: A quiet dinner and 11 roses...

Tri-City News columnist Jim Nelson - photo submitted
Tri-City News columnist Jim Nelson
— image credit: photo submitted

Happy Valentine’s Day, Andy.

It’s the day we are culturally nudged to express affection for our special someone, and that can only be a good thing.

Because without Valentine’s Day, our pronouncements of love might consist of a birthday card that pathetically begins:

“I know that I don’t often say, how much you mean to me…”


In 1362, Geoffrey Chaucer first wrote of Valentine’s Day as a day to celebrate courtly love. It was later reinforced in the poetry of Shakespeare, John Donne, Edmund Spencer and others.

It’s difficult for a box of chocolates to compete with those guys, so yes, Andy, Valentine’s Day can be stressful — especially for you younger singles.

And it doesn’t help that we’re constantly reminded of past Valentine’s Day exploits:  “Be mine”  sky-written at dusk.  “I love you”  banners strung between buildings. Marriage proposals from atop Mount Everest.

Tough acts to follow.

So how do we take the pressure off and keep Valentine’s Day from being a relationship hoop to jump through or a dotted line upon which we are forced to demonstrate our love each Feb. 14?

Well, Valentine’s Day expectations, like the pirate’s code in the movies, are not so much a set of rules as a set of guidelines. Valentine devotion doesn’t have to come on Feb. 14, when restaurants and roses are double in price and other gaudy lovers are drinking pink martinis or getting love messages put on the jumbo screen in Rogers Arena.

So how about a quiet dinner (with accoutrements) on Feb. 12?

Because, after all, our love can’t be constrained to a specific day — we’re much too passionate and spontaneous for that, right?

And bling? Our devotion transcends the crass commercialism of expensive gifts and stunts — they would only serve to cheapen our love, right?

Yes, a Feb. 12 dinner, a bottle of wine; staring lovingly into limpid pools, a card signed  “as ever,”  11 roses with a card inscribed,  “The 12th rose is you…”  (Caution: I once tried seven roses with a card that said, “ The last five roses are you…” Less expensive, yes, but not well received.)

Whatever we do, we can do Valentine’s Day. We should do Valentine’s Day.

How can we argue with Chaucer and those other guys?


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