Wednesday, February 10, 2010

ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE! and stamina...

At the age of 15, my friend, Tania, and I visited a stationary shop so that I could help her select one special Valentine's Day card from the dozens of cheesy cards available for her boyfriend, Rob. Through her, I managed to vicariously live the joys of Valentine's Day. Unfortunately, they broke up that very night. I guess Rob did not live up to the expectations of such a big day!

Despite not having a boyfriend, I left the shop with my first Valentine's Day card purchase that day – the corniest, kitschiest I could find. “For next year,” I explained.

Truth is, next year and the year after were not much different. The card lay blank. The popular girls received stacks of cards, chocolates and perfumes while misfits like myself sat alone, awkward, gangly and feeling lousy and unwanted.

Occasionally, I would recognize my father’s lettering on a card and this boobie prize just made me feel worse, even more of a spinster. “Thanks dad!” I’d say and turn on the telly to watch films like "Now Voyager" or "An Affair to Remember" after listening to Mr. Magoo-styled "Mr Movies" Bill Collins' passionate introduction.

Feeling unloved, unwanted - Who would want a Purple Cow? - the years passed and I left that all-girls Catholic school and made my debut to campus life. Then everything livened up. The star dust and moon beams and of course the first kiss, first love, first Valentine (a stuffed little purple dog - not cow - with Blues Brothers sunglasses that held a very special place in the corner of my room until I tossed it away along with the love letters and broken heart).

"I may be a Purple Cow, but men are pigs!" was the conclusion.

Just because I was free from the sentiment of Valentine's Day doesn't mean life got better. Indeed not! Every February 14 - whether with someone or single - I would always be disappointed. Always expecting something more than love notes from men I didn't really fancy, flowers from anonymous stalkers or romantic evenings arguing about Valentine's Day and where the relationship is headed.

My husband says that my Australian upbringing is to blame. In Greece, they did not grow up with Valentine's hype and it most certainly was not a consideration during their adolescent flings. Being a marketing man himself, he says "Bah, humbug!"

Truth is, it is an industry. Commercial desperation hit an all-new low this year when Mattel, the makers of Barbie, used the love season to announce that Barbie is now "contemplating" a reunion with longtime boyfriend Ken after a headline marking their 2004 breakup. I'm sure that St. Valentine is rolling in his grave knowing that his holy day is being exploited by Mattel so that Ken can get a piece of plastic booty.

But, having said all that, I’m still hopeful that this Valentine’s Day will be the one where my husband – and not just my children – gives me a card. Maybe he’ll even set up a babysitter so that we can go out for dinner or a movie. Unlikely as this is, it never hurts to plant the idea. But a far better idea is for me to stop whining and set it up myself.

There is no shame in wanting to be happy on Valentine's Day! And if we level up we'll find that nobody actually hates Valentine's Day regardless of what they way...when we say, "This day is so commercial! It's only for mushy losers!" we really mean "I need validation that I can be loved!"

* Don't you just love Gustav Klimt's "The Kiss"? Absolutely sensuous and decadent! Eroticism, liberalisation and shimmering fulfilment! Some think that Klimt and his beloved companion Emilie Floge modelled for the masterpiece. It is currently housed at the museum in the Belevedere Palace in Vienna, Austria. I think its interesting also that Klimt and "The Kiss" were selected as the main motif for a collectors' coin - the 100-euro gold coin issued on November 5, 2003.

1 comment:

Sandy, Sisters of Season said...

I love that painting . . it's one of my favorite.