Wearing a sundress in the middle of February is as romantic as eating someone else’s heart-shaped box of Valentine’s Day chocolates. Stepping into Walgreens is already hard enough, but waiting in line holding Valentine’s candy paired with a tube of one-dollar toothpaste? Maybe if they switched to warmer lights.
Probably my favorite Catholic holiday (a boyfriend gave me a Beatles mug potted with a dandelion once); nothing says romance like having a candle-lit picnic after a sunset hike into the woods/ But if a bottle of wine and a bouquet of flowers aren’t enough to induce feelings of love or lust or good old infatuation, maybe going to dinner at Chez Panisse would do.
Once a year, the reality of hopeless romantics is belittled by lonely anti-consumerists (like some professors, who are really just too poor to buy anything), and celebrated by mindless Yelpers (who don’t even know what a sonnet is). Either way, Feb. 14 is a holiday that inspires and pressures normally functional human beings to submit to the blind hopefulness of their inner hopeless romantic.
Then there are hardcore realists like me. I once ran away from someone who tried to give me flowers on the foreboding day of red t-shirts. When he approached me with a bundle of flowers wrapped in pink cellophane, I dropped my candy-sprinkled donut on the cafeteria table and ran as fast as my heart beat. Impulsive as it was, running away was the only way my 13-year-old self could tell him to “give up” subtly.
A victim of infatuation, that helpless dancer. He probably took Jay-Z to heart, who said it best in “Frontin’”; It’s dense nonchalance that can hypnotize the victim to dance. There is a gaze that can send anyone to the depths of Poe:
They fill my soul with Beauty (which is Hope), / And are far up in Heaven — the stars I kneel to / In the sad, silent watches of my night
“They” are the eyes of his beloved, the object of his subject, the cataract in his eye, the ink he’d be tattooing “To Helen.”
Infatuation is madness without method at its repressed finest, a punch in the stomach releasing butterflies not realizing defeat. An obsession almost as crazy as the Super Bowl, infatuation is a state of novel craze, a fleeting obsession that can reappear in spite of time. It is a game with different levels of experience, but consistently dealing with words once unfelt.
As the “infatuation” Wikipedia article writer of 1/13/2012 prescribes, infatuation is a kind of inkling of “mature love”; love which had not been previously felt by amateur dancers. And so go these hopeless romantics and their love, carried away by telepathic dreams of laundry and boats. Sailing through the drifters and strollers, the helpless dancer I ran away from found another girl to give his roses to. She wasn’t eating a donut.
Panting away from the cafeteria, I wished that my own object knew I existed. Infatuated with his sparkling brown eyes after our incoherent dialogue about basketball, wavelengths of feelings, majestic and powerless, arose like some kind of hope that maybe I could throw a three-pointer as suave as him someday.
As most holidays (Thanksgiving is my favorite American holiday) remind us to celebrate what we take for granted, save the sulking for President’s Day. The greeting cards and candies aren’t only supposed to be really good for your mental health and gluten-free diet, but a reminder that love is out there to get you, whoever you think you are.
And so there are Hershey’s chocolate kisses when the heart-shaped boxes aren’t on sale. Keep it real like a Catholic ritual, and validate yourself with a Valentine. Bites of little nubs of life metaphors orgasmic to the taste, love is more mind-blowing than a box of chocolates, than life itself… Forrest?