Monday, February 14, 2005

Thoughts on Valentine's Day

For years I have considered Valentine's Day an insidious plot, really for the benefit of greeting card and candy companies rather than people. The day is cruel for those who are single, it can be awkward for those who are just beginning to date, and it should be superfluous for those already in a long-term relationship. When I was single, I would make a point of sending Valentine's cards to my single friends. Now that I'm married, I give a card to my husband despite my philosophical misgivings, only because he does not share my misgivings and I honor his feelings. Commuting home tonight, I was delighted to hear the insightful commentary on the subject by philosopher/essayist Alain de Botton, who observes that Valentine's Day as it is celebrated is about the beginnings of love, but what most adults need is a celebration of the sustenance of love. He notes that so much of our culture focuses on the initiation of romantic relationships, and generally neglects to consider the real work of sustaining our relationships glossed over in the "happily ever after" of our stories. It's well worth a listen.

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