Packing away my house’s ghoulish decorations the other night, I was struck with the sadness that follows every Halloween. Each year, I am reminded that it is one of my favorite holidays. Even before Halloween meant taking four shots without stopping and using Stop & Shop Spring Mix as a chaser, the holiday was a break from reality, a time to pretend and make believe, to allow myself to get a little scared. It was also the best night to brag about how clever I was. One year, I dressed up as a piece of chewed bubblegum. Another year, I was a fried egg. Besides fostering creativity, Halloween was the only time of year that my mom allowed me to walk around the neighborhood with a paper bag to collect what would essentially get me high.
Now that the haunting season is over, however, department store and small businesses around the nation are readying themselves for the next big thing: Valentine’s Day! Be gone, black and orange! Goodbye, plastic masks that make your face sweaty with your own breath! Hello, Red 40 and sprinkles! Now you’ll see heart cookie cutters and “Cupid’s Crib” doormats. Michael’s is carrying three new candles for the season: Misty Kiss, Moonlight Proposal and Sex Fart. Walk into any convenience store and you’ll find red and pink helium balloons and buckets of roses for sale. Even the Internet can’t wait. YouTube is advertising new romantic comedies and lingerie sales. I’m getting Groupon emails for couples’ wine tastings and horseback riding.
Though raspberry-filled chocolates are an exciting winter treat, I think what makes Valentine’s Day great are opportunities to make serious moves on that special someone. I made my most serious move in the second grade. That year, Valentine’s Day was especially exciting because I had my first crush. Zach W. was his name and twisting the swings was his game. Before the special day, our teacher instructed us all to make shoeboxes for class Valentines. We were each to make 22 Valentine’s Day cards and bring candy without nuts. Zach W., that pre-teen dreamboat, loved “Ice Age.” On his card, I drew a mammoth that said, “Woolly you be mine?” For everyone else’s Valentines, I stuck a heart sticker on a mini chocolate bar and left them in my mom’s hot car.
On the big day, we put the shoeboxes on our desks and did laps around the room, delivering card after card. I made my way to the shoebox Zach W. had decorated with Sports Illustrated: Kids pages and quickly dropped the card into it, burying it under other notes and a pile of Hershey’s Kisses. Unfortunately, Zach W. never responded. His Valentine’s Day card to me only had a mini Snickers bar with nuts and no personal note. No love for Penny.
Since then, I’ve learned that Valentine’s Day is a holiday for very serious people only. In order to really tell someone you care, Valentine’s Day has to be approached with zero nonsense. I suggest including some serious moves, like buying cruise tickets, making house down-payments, signing pre-nuptial agreements or having a fucking kid. Wedding +1 invitations are also a great way to show people you’re blossoming affection! Opening a joint checking account is another rad move if you’re looking for a more passionate V-Day celebration. Nothing says “I love you” like picking a check design.
There’s no space for pictures on Facebook of your happy Valentine’s Day glows. While I sit in bed with a bag of heart-shaped marshmallows scrolling through my newsfeed, I don’t have time for your emoji-riddled statuses! If you use the diamond ring emoji, the red heart, the kissing face and something weird from the food page, I’m going to scroll past it. I’m looking for something romantic, OK? Something like a photo album that documents your new bathroom renovation. I want a helpful link to some mall coupons, or a review of those new shower slippers you’ve waited three days for.
Serious love is what Valentine’s Day is all about. I promise you, taking Valentine’s Day seriously is the only way your new relationship will last! Throw woolly mammoth puns out the window! I propose a revision of chalky conversation hearts. Instead of KISS ME, let it read I’LL DRIVE. Instead of UR CUTE, let it say UR CAPABLE. Instead of BE MINE, let’s try I’VE GOT TURBO-TAX. So, next time you walk by a storefront window painted brightly with roses and lip prints, remember that the key to anyone’s heart is through a very serious announcement of affection. And if you think you can’t handle that, go with the fucking nut-chocolate. Live on the edge.