My gf and I have a ritual. Every year, I give my students a choice of chocolate covered strawberries or pineapple flowers from an Edible Bouquet that I buy for each class. I tell them: don’t let the commodification of attraction keep you from knowing that you are loved today. As long as you love yourself there is no ritual shopping day that can undo that. She has them do classic reading on the meaning of love and then discuss it as socio-cultural-chemical construct as well as a lived experience. (Her department is less touchy feely than mine.)
Later I go home and help prep and cook our V-D Sucks meal, a tradition started 15 or so years ago when we lived in England. We invite all of our single friends, fill everyone’s glass with wine (and decorate each goblet with a photo of the celebrity they are most likely to shag), steep their plates with yummy food, and spend the evening sharing/discussing the passages, quotes, photos, or stories about love/dating/desire that they are requested to bring with them. The item shared reflects the mood of our friends so they range from sappy to bitter, intimate to kink, farse to just plain out there; most are literary pieces but occasionally they are absolutely hilarious things some celebrity said when they thought they were being deep. but all in the spirit of the day. Even tho the number of our single friends is waning, the number of chairs around the table never does.
So whether you choose to do something to show yourself how much you are loved or you gather with friends to share the love, let this be the Valentine’s Day when you thumb your nose at capitalist driven historically inaccurate celebrations of heteropatriarchal reproduction disguised as real love and devotion and embrace the beauty in you. (And if you really don’t have a bunch of friends to share the love with and you are not yet in the head space to love yourself enough to be alone on Valentine’s Day, please consider volunteering at a crisis line – the week of VD always sees spikes in domestic and sexual violence and suicide rates. It can be particularly hard for homeless and queer youth, so you might also want to volunteer at a shelter. Either way, you won’t be able to do hands on stuff unless you’ve been volunteering there all along, but you could do labor that frees up an experienced volunteer to handle the increased volume.)
If I could have you all over to our home, I would.
Laura Izibor – From My Heart to Yours
- Pride LA
- Geli @ a Valentine’s Poetry Reading in Cebu (from this great poetry site: Ming’s World)