Saturday, February 13, 2010

Roses are red

Back in November, I mentioned that the French don’t really “do” Halloween. They don’t really “do” Valentine’s Day, either. Most, if asked, will turn up their noses upon the mere mention of it, because as everybody knows, it’s just another damned commercial holiday meant to convince consumers to spend money they don’t have on stuff they don’t need. Worse still, it cutifies love. Quelle horreur.

And yet, just try to find an available restaurant in Paris on Valentine’s Day. Not a chance—they’re all booked solid. France’s boutiques are well aware of what February 14 means as well, as are its florists. Roses, roses, everywhere. I was informed yesterday by a colleague that most roses one finds for sale in Paris are in fact shipped in from Africa, where they are grown en masse, diverting water that once went to nourish trees that provided food for the local populations. In other words, Africa’s people are being deprived of both food and water so that we may have roses in the dead of winter. I was far from my computer when she said this, and therefore unable to fact check anything, but it sounded a little too Avatar-esque to buy off-hand and in any case didn’t stop me from accepting the long-stem white rose presented to me after lunch by our friendly server. Nor did it stop the colleague in question, for that matter. Valentine’s Day is despised enough as it is; must we also make it a target of moral outrage?

For my part, I am finally beginning to appreciate this officially-disliked-yet-secretly-celebrated holiday (aside from its hideous signature colors—pink and red?!). But chromatic dissent aside, I’m honestly warming up to Valentine’s Day. This is mainly because I’m—AT LAST—no longer single and this holiday gives me an opportunity to unashamedly gloat really enjoy it. When I was all by my lonesome, I loathed the entire month of February and its cheesy pink and red hearts. “Valentine’s Day is so lame,” I would say, “and who in his right mind actually eats those nasty ‘be mine’ candies anyway?” Then I ceased being single and changed my attitude about the whole thing overnight. Now February means (more) gifts, (more) candlelight and (more) champagne—all very good reasons to not even bother pretending to look down on this “commercial” holiday. Besides, I’m an American; I’m supposed to enjoy commercial holidays. It is, after all, the fault of my people and our evil capitalist ways that such holidays even exist. Ask any of the French.

On that note, I must end this post as my valentine and I have dinner reservations (we were able to make said reservations because today is the 13th, a clever little manoeuvre on our part). Happy Valentine’s Day to all, whether you like it (yet) or not!


  1. well i think those little heart candies suck. if you are going to give candy on v-day, why not give candy that actually tastes good? like heart shaped skittles or something

  2. YEAH!I never liked those little hearts either! but great photo of them....

    My husband painted a rose (watercolor)for me on Valentine's Day for about 5 years running. Those were the best V-tines!