Valentine’s Day was so much easier when we were kids

I have good news and bad news for Valentine’s Day. The good news is, it only happens once a year. The bad news is, unless you are a kindergartner, your easy Valentine’s Days are way, way behind you. Yeah, I’m thinking that makes us circle right back to the good news, right?
Look, when you are in grade school Valentine’s Day is easy. You do an art project in school that generally involves shoeboxes, heart cutouts and enough paste to make you too full to eat lunch that day. Your teacher hands out a list with the names of every single person in your class, including the cute girl who sits in the front row. Then you take the list home. And while it’s no fun writing the names of every single classmate on 35 envelopes, there are still several upsides.
For one thing, picking cards to give is much easier in grade school. Never underestimate this. A kindergartner goes to Walmart with his parent and gets to look at all the V-day cards on the planet. The child can pick GI Joe. Or Thor. Or a princess. Or a dancing purple unicorn wearing polka dot pantaloons. The point is, in grade school, card choice is about the giver, not the recipient.
Contrast this to an adult. Picking a card as an adult is a tricky process. Every Valentine card comes with a hidden message. These cards are like ticking time bombs for your loved – or not so loved – ones. Pick a mushy card too early in a relationship and you’re pushing. Pick a card that’s not mushy enough and you are not interested. Seriously, even the most expensive night out, complete with chocolates, Champagne and dinner cannot overcome a cruddy Valentine’s Day card.
And don’t assume that just because you’ve been with your valentine forever that you can go out and get just any old card. Um, no you can’t. In fact, at this stage in the love game, picking the right card is still crucial. For example, never – and I mean never – give a card to your sweetie that says, “Happy Valentine’s Day to my starter spouse.” I can personally guarantee that you will spend Valentine’s night and possibly the next six months sleeping next to the dog on the couch. And you’ll feel lucky to still be sleeping in the house.
The next problem is how you sign the darned card. Frankly in grade school, how you sign a card has more to do with your fine motor skills than how you actually feel about the recipient. In adult life? Yeah, that one word you use to sign the card means everything. Please. I do not have to explain to you that signing a card with “fondly” says something much different than signing a card with “love” do I?
Because seriously? If I have to explain that I would advise you to run into your home, lock the door and do not come out again until Feb. 15. Or possibly the 16th, just to make sure all the celebrating is over and all of Cupid’s arrows have been put away.
Of course, there is also the issue of the gift that accompanies the card. In grade school, a lollipop of undetermined age, in a color not found in nature, is typically taped to each card. Oh sure, once in a while you get chocolate, but that’s pretty rare. Nobody wants to have a room full of grade schoolers, with hot, sweaty hands and chunks of chocolate. That’s a Valentine’s catastrophe waiting to happen, folks.
As an adult, you don’t just get to grab a lollipop from some random bag your mom purchased in 2009 and just recently found at the back of the cupboard. No, you have to really think about the gift. For example, do not give chocolate to a dieting person. I know you think this says, “You’re sweet.” But what it really says is, “No matter what, your butt will always be the size of the Titanic and frankly, you should stop starving yourself.”
In the end, you are left with jewelry or large stuffed animals, both of which have pitfalls of their own.
You know, all of this kind of makes that fourth-grade art project look tempting, doesn’t it? I mean, who doesn’t want a shoebox covered in hearts for Valentine’s Day?

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