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Massacre of Valentine's Day


By Michael A. Calabrese

Honey, you've taught me the meaning of love...Love means never having to say you're horny.

You're a real sweater girl...And I'd like to pull the wool over your eyes.

Cruel? Crude? Even a wee bit sexist? You bet pal, but it's not my fault--I'm just your typical cosmopolitan shopper, aged 20-to-35, M.C. Escher on my closet door and cross-country skis within. I breakfast at the Greenhouse Coffee House, brunch at 33-D, and eat out whenever I can. I'm as relevant as Passim's and as exotic as the Coffeee Connection.

You are too beautiful for one man alone...So I brought along a buddy.

I'm looking for a meaningful relationship...LOTS OF SEX!

I'm into...D-d-dominance.

Hey, don't get uptight, today is a holiday and I'm just getting into the spirit. Valentine's Day is no Holy Day, so I can't go to church; it is not a political holiday so there is no parade downtown; nothing is for free like on Halloween, not even love, so I'm just gonna stroll on over to the Coop or Store 24 and catch some more jollies looking at Valentine's Day cards. Oh wow, how cruel--I know just the guy to send this one to! Oh my God, is that awful, so suggestive--she'd love it! But what about grandma?

To every holiday belongs a certain genre of literature, designed to express a certain sentiment to those we love, or to those institutions we are afraid to lay as under.

Christmas belongs to Dicken's Christmas Carol and a mantle plastered with cards blessing the family and signed sincerely by an embossing machine. The Fourth of July belongs to the Star Spangled Banner and corny political speeches delivered at the courthouse corn and weenie roast. Even Commencement belongs to something--we really don't know who or what, but its trademarks are a sheepskin inscribed with extinct languages, special issues of The Crimson, and maybe even Woody Allen to inspire our voyage to "The Real World."

Valentine's Day, however, belongs to the greeting card companies.

Remember the "good ole days," when Valentine's Day meant a half-dozen roses, bittersweet chocolates, a singing telegram and a mushy card bordered by heart-shaped doilies? Goodbye to all that.

As anyone who has read his way along our nation's highways knows, Hallmark Invented Love. Now I don't doubt that a big greeting card corporation invented love--hell, it's general knowledge that Sears Roebuck invented Christmas and that A&P invented the Puritan Work Ethic we are all so thankful for. Despite these precedents, however, I suspect Hallmark has a prurient interest in this thing it calls LOVE:

Valentine, You're one in a million...So you'll have to wait in line.

Valentine, too much sex can make you blind...Let's just fool around 'til we need glasses.

What is LOVE anyway? Can love really be defined in terms of never having to say you're horny? If I expressed these sentiments to my mother, could she truly love me anymore?

Maybe some Eric Segal-type could answer these questions better than I. Anybody who can generate LOVE between a preppie hockey jock and a poor, nearsighted music major of Italian extraction, must know more about LOVE than I do--or like Hallmark, how to get more bucks for the bang.

Having no expert to call on (they must all be out LOVING today) I'll just hazard my own guess: Hallmark's LOVE was conceived on a Manhattan subway car by a fat, bald, 35-year-old greeting card writer with thick glasses, a perspiring brow, a poster of Cheryl Tiegs on his closet door and a conscience burdened by the same aboriginal sins Alexander Portnoy complained about. In other words, the Grinch may have stolen Christmas, but somebody is trying to pervert Valentine's Day.

It's not that I have anything personal against sado-masochism, but how is that going to solve my problem? When I say problem, I mean I pulled a real boner. Believe it or not, I went to the Coop and bought a whole mess of cards. I bought them for relatives, lovers, friends, foes and fiends alike, then I filled them all out and the envelopes too (making up zip codes randomly as usual). Then the phone rang. When I came back I sealed the envelopes and, ignoring my roommate's urgent pleas to wait, I dashed out to mail my Valentines. You know what he wanted to tell me? While I was on the phone he took the cards out of the envelopes to read them--then he replaced them randomly into the envelopes. Now I don't know which cards went to whom!

So I may have sent my sister that card about bringing along a buddy. She asked me to invite a lacrosse player to the house sometime--but now she'll think I invited the whole team.

And my poor mother. If I've confused her with a couple of old high school friends she will soon be reading:

To he who looks like Tarzan...And speaks like Jane.

Valentine, you remind me of sweet, sugary candy...

Cause you make my Peanut Brittle.

And what if my girlfriend receives:

Valentine, You're my melancholy baby...With a head like a melon and a face like a collie!

And to my Chem 20 sectionwoman:

I think you're a brute, an animal and a sex fiend...

And I want you to know I appreciate it.

Yet even if Hallmarkian LOVE on Valentine's Day means losing all my friends and going to prison for sending obscene materials through the mails, at least my father will get the appropriate card. I know it is not a mistake because I just bought it at Cahaly's. It reads:

A Valentine Poem for my Father:

I love you just the way you are;

Don't change a single hair;

So bless your loving heart;

And your tattered underwear.

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