Thursday, February 14, 2013

valentine's medley of love

Before the morning was even out, I already had so much to say about V-Day - a holiday I'm known to malign for its Hallmarkian and consumerist obligations.

First, I will warn you that if you have young children, remember that anything you do now to celebrate a given holiday, you will still be doing in FIFTEEN years--kids love tradition. So off I went to buy a small heart shaped box of chocolate for the kids (except now Olivia has to have dairy-free low sugar chocolate from Trader Joe's, but we pretend it's the same thing).  

I stood at the counter thinking about how I still have "fair-trade, slavery-free chocolate" listed in my "topics" file for future blog posts.  I feel a pang of guilt as I hand over my four dollars for this (too) cheap box of Elmer Chocolates from CVS.  Perhaps, I thought, I should run home and ruin everybody's Valentine's day with a deflating post about child-slavery in cocoa-bean production? 

Nah.  It was just one box, so I decided to chill out for once and let myself enjoy the beautiful morning.  I would write about something uplifting, like the first sunshine I've seen in weeks.

Armed with my resolve, I left CVS with a spring in my step.  I could tell because the sloop of hair that I'd noticed sticking out on the top of my head before I left home bounced awkwardly about my crown with each step. 

You see, I had walked to the store - combining my morning exercise with a necessary errand.  That's great, except that it meant I hadn't showered yet.  That's OK too except, on my no-poo regimen, I only wash my hair every other day.  That means, if I didn't wash it yesterday, then my pre-shower moments of this morning technically counted as the THIRD day without a washing.  Who cares if you're planning to work out, right?  No one showers before a workout.  But that logic landed me in Trader Joe's this morning with that sloop of hair persistently misbehaving in random ways that only bed-head can.  That's not even to mention the general disarray of the rest of my hair, made more interesting by the hood I'd worn to fend of the cold as I power-walked my way down the road.

OK - so I looked like crap at Trader Joe's.  I didn't really care.  The sun was out, remember? Besides, no one would notice me. 

Until the check-out guy in the aisle next to me offered me a rose.   Really?  A rose? 

"Oh!? Thank you!" - I didn't want to be rude.  It was a pretty bedraggled flower (like its new owner) - probably plucked from a lackluster dozen in an effort to spruce the bunch up for sale.  I graciously accepted the forlorn specimen and set it, in all of its withering greenery, on the counter. 

I hoped we would move on after that but the check-out guy in my lane didn't want to let it go: "Now you have to go on a date with him!" he exclaimed with a grin. We all laughed good-naturedly--as if THAT would ever happen. 

As my head shook with the giggles of feigned amusement, I could feel my hair screaming "BOING, BOING" from the top of my head.  The woman behind me smiled in a not very interested way.

I'd forgotten about Fair Trade chocolate by now, and was instead thinking about writing a not-so-romantic Valentine's post on how sexual harassment, in its mildest forms, can even follow a woman to the grocery store in the early morning hours where well-meaning and amiable grocery clerks might inadvertently shine a spot light on her bed-head just for the grins of a mock flirtation. 

I left with my rose, wondering if I was really supposed to take it.  Its leaves curled a bit on the ends; its petals looked reluctant to open for fear of falling off--it had seen better days.  If I'd been in a different mood, it could definitely have felt like a mockery.  But whatever.  I'm not writing about that, remember?  I took in the bright blue sky and set out on the mile and a half walk I had in front of me--I would embrace the rose!

Then I realized I had to carry it the whole way home.  Too bad for you I don't have a picture: me, my bobbing swoop of hair, my back pack slung on my back, walking along next to stand-still rush hour traffic with the most pathetic rose ever, clutched desperately in my hand.  What narrative would people attach to me?: 

"Who would give that crazy lady a rose?"

"Did you see the bed head? Perhaps she's on a walk of shame.  Poor thing, that rose may be the only surviving remnant of last night's romance.  How sad!"

"Why is that lady working out with a rose in her hand?"

"Is that the best her partner could do? A crumpled rose? And just one?"

I don't know why I felt so embarrassed to walk along with a flower.  Perhaps because there's so much pressure to buy women flowers on this day that it's almost embarrassing to get one--as if we're surprised.  Or perhaps it just messed with my I'm-way-too-cool-for-Valentine's-Day swagger.  Unable to bear my humiliation any longer, I stopped and stuck it in my backpack with the chocolate.  All was good in the world again.  I wouldn't write a scathing V-day post entitled "flower fascism in february" after all. 

Then I stopped at my mailbox on the way up the drive and found this:

 And it's addressed to my 15 year old son, Gareth.

Call me a pessimist, but I feel pretty sure that the little box of chocolates I bought him cannot compete with this "Polar Bare" and all of her varied accoutrements.

So now I'm thinking I'll have to write a post about boys and women in the media, because I have to ask you, dear reader, what do I do?  It's not like he hasn't seen these kinds of images before.  In fact, I'm fairly certain he's seen much worse.  But you can be sure that whatever he's seen, it wasn't handed over by his mother - or his grandmother (my mother gave him this subscription for Christmas). 

In years past, I've hidden this issue.  I think he did see it last year, but (and perhaps I'm imagining this) it seems racier this year. 

Steve offered to disappear it to his office.  Ha! 

Since I couldn't get this post up in time to garner your advice, I've resolved to handle it like I do most things of this nature:  I'll give it to him, but kill it with talk talk talk talk talk--exploitation, objectification, manipulation, airbrushing, unreasonable standards of beauty, eating disorders, cutting, self-hatred, teen suicide...  It gets sexier and sexier doesn't it?  

By the time I'm done with him, I'll have sucked every sexual nuance out of each and every one of those pictures. 

Or not. 

Regardless, I'm still determined about my upbeat mood.  I don't want to write that post about women in the media today. No one can accuse this chick of being a "Debbie Downer!" I can relax, eat chocolate and stop to smell the roses with the best of 'em!

Then I got on twitter and found this:

I don't think "Preston" liked my joke about Marco Rubio on Tuesday night!  Would he be disappointed that I actually laughed out loud when I saw his tweet?  It seemed so appropriate for a person who, instead of writing a post about love or how to make heart-shaped candies, could only manage a V-day rant about child-slavery in the cocoa industry, sexism in the grocery store, commercialism at the flower shop, and objectification of women in the media!

So on this V-Day, instead of searching for my romantic side, I guess I'll just throw in the towel and embrace my bitchiness!   I really don't mind.  At least I'm a bitch with a brain, a sense of humor, and, of course, my one rose. 

it got much happier once we were home! 
and that bottle was a party favor at our wedding.
see? i'm a romantic after all!

Hope you all had a LOVEly day! 


  1. I go in Trader Joe's with bedhead all the time--so often they might not recognize me otherwise. Also, this doesn't help with the myriad of things you'd rather not be writing about, but that "Polar Bare" nearly died while posing mostly naked in Antarctica. She could only do the shoot in one minute increments because she was freezing and her body started to shut down.

    I think the rose is pretty. I'm glad you took it with you!

    1. i had heard that she "got sick" from doing the shoot but didn't realize it was that serious. does that mean we should appreciate her pics more, or less!? I suppose we simply add it to the long list of reasons we already have for "why women shouldn't pose for SI."

  2. You are so relatable. I tooooootally go way too long without showering because there's always a workout around the corner. And your description of the wayward hair and narratives as you walked on the side of the road had me laughing out loud. Well done!


    1. Hi Kelley - I'm so glad you came by because I searched for your blog yesterday and couldn't find it. Just came from there. Your daughter is beautiful! :) Hope everything went well for you yesterday. Regardless of how it turns out, I thought it was pretty fun!