Thursday, February 10, 2005

Like Olives for Chocolate

OK, I'll answer one of life's (and yesterday's post's) persistent questions:

Favorite holiday (besides, perhaps, the childlike whimsy of Christmas): Oh, yes, Valentine's, XO!

I know, I know. Lots of parents and nerds lose track of this holiday and think it is somehow for the kids - getting all those cheap little paper Valentine's - with red and pink polka-dotted pictures of porcupines, unicorns, Ninja turtles, Pooh and Piglet and friends and green FROGS and other cartoonish princes and princesses charming - inscribed to every member of the third grade class. But NO! Valentine's is an ADULT holiday - one of the few holidays adults have left and which adults, both naughty and nice, should defend as their own, xO.

The Easter Bunny, Christmas and even Halloween are mostly for kids. Hell, some kids get a holiday when The Tooth Fairy comes. But let's face the facts on VD Day: Kids know a lot less about lust and love and the nefarious shadings of seduction than they do about horrific horrors. (Monsters and murders on TV look pretty real, but courtships on TV look like even "Friendly" thirtysomethings are transported back to third grade.) Presents and scary stuff are a lot more accessible than the wayward ways of the Mr., Miss, and Ms. Lonelyhearts Club.

But just because those elementary school cards (used to be 20 for $1) are the start, doesn't mean Valentine's should end with flowers and chocolate, satin and lace. Even Barbie is an expert there, so be creative, you grownups. Play with a few of the cliches (yes, what FUN!), but beware becoming predictable. Make it more than a obligatory reminder, more even than an elaborate but trite ritual. Make it an incident, an inventional, an expression, an epistle, an episode, a grand gesture, a subtle drama, a lingering feast, a mystery.

Valentine's is - or should be - like a fine wine or chocolate or food or adult drama - full of subtle and not so subtle nuances. It is the juxtaposition (among other positions) of plaintive innocence and absolutely prurient seduction, boldness and covertness played off each other.

Valentine's might have started with paper cards for Jimmy and Jennifer in third grade, but it quickly graduated to a "special" card by sixth grade, a kiss (?) in seventh and after that, watch out. (OK, more ambitious sexual aggressors, submit your seedy stories here, but you''ve already skirted - so to speak - the first rule of romance: make yourself known, then make 'em wait. And the second rule? Sex can be a mere stunt - and an act of stunted growth, so to speak. But Sensuality (with a capital S) is a philosophy, a body AND MIND game (or avenue of pursuit, shall we say?), a witty and wily art form, a wonder, a world (at least for a day or two).

Take the chocolates out of that heart-shaped box, and ever so carefully insert an array of exotic olives, some small, like oily coffee beans, some tart Calamatas, some huge and green and glistening, stuffed with pungent and ambiguous things... garlic, onion, jalapeno, anchovie and yes, shiny, happy, red pimientos.

Leave the chocolates in their own suggestive arrays.

Romance and this most adult of all holidays are about the newly lit match of longing as well as the glowing embers of love - and ALL the colors in the Crayon box....


At 2/13/2005 9:56 PM, Anonymous XO said...

Ummm, what you dreamin', LW?

What you drinkin'???

Sounds like you're typin' fueled by the liquors o' luv...


At 10/04/2005 1:23 PM, Blogger alena said...

Hey, I have enjoyed...your blog is informative - even entertaining.

I have a halloween sites. They pretty much covers costumes and masks related stuff.

Thanks again and I'll be sure to bookmark you.


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