Men, I’m taking a stand against this Hallmark endorsed day of male oppression. That’s right, someone’s got to do it. That’s right men, stand up, cry out with one voice: “We are not going to participate in this made up holiday for the sake of going through the motions of showing some token affection as if this gets us out of anything during the rest of the year. We know that this so-called holiday is just another opportunity for us to screw up and we refuse to be the objects of scorn presented to your girlfriends as Exhibit A in the case of how men are worthless.”

See? I’ve grown since that blog or at least, I’d like to believe so. I’m older, have matured, and most of all, have realized that after nearly seven years of marriage, I’m stuck with Valentine’s Day.

Unlike Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, the traditions of Valentine’s Day predate the greeting card industry forcing fake holidays down our throats. Oddly enough, it has it roots in pagan traditions (in a feast called Lupercalia to honor Lupercus so that no harm would come to the shepherds and their flocks), was Christianized (or mythologized) by the actions of St. Valentine, and then romanticized by Chaucer (though, having read Chaucer, I can’t claim there’s anything romantic about Middle English).

We’ve come a long way from marking the occasion of seeking the affections of women by giving out handwritten messages of admiration citing Valentine’s name. Sadly, handwritten notes have largely given way to greeting cards because, as you know, we are incapable of surmising our own thoughts and feelings – at least, not with the poetry, wit, and beauty of nameless card scribe #12. I’d daresay that it is the endless marketing and commercialization of the holiday that leaves a bad taste in people’s mouth. However, for me, the day comes back to the idea of remembrance.

I am all about remembrance. We, as a culture, have notoriously short memories and notoriously hard hearts and heads. We need rituals to draw our imaginations back to certain things, to stir our affections, to serve as reminders to what is important in life. Valentine’s Day is a ritual of memory for my wife and for those around us who have our affections. It’s an opportunity to take the time to honor them.

It shouldn’t be a matter of fulfilling some sort of “affection duty”. No one wants duty, especially those who are supposed to own our affections. They want our hearts, our choice to love them. With that in mind, once again this year I am going to make a choice to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Once again I’m going to honor she who guards my heart.

I know, it’s early, but I have to mentally gear up for this. I still ain’t buying Sweetist’s Day though. I had to squash that would-be tradition early.

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