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As Seen at the Supermarket…
Stopping by the grocery store to buy some cleaning supplies on Friday was like navigating an obstacle course, with 50+ guys of all ages standing in for the obstacles. Clustered in the card aisle and the florist department, staring at cards and bouquets with a mild deer-in-the-headlights look, they’d take note when someone broke from the pack with a firm selection. Then several other guys would oh so casually walk over and pick up the exact same item. The moral of this story: Valentine’s Day causes otherwise intelligent men to behave like lemmings.
Of course, the card/flowers/chocolate route isn’t obligatory; people celebrate February 14 in a wide variety of ways. At the store, we opened up a bunch of killer Pinot Noir and invited customers to bring their dogs for Puppies & Pinot, which was so fun we are definitely making it an annual happening. Lots of people celebrate with friends-my daughter put together a Galentine’s beach picnic with her pals. But the queen of alt-Valentine was definitely my sister Brenda.
Brenda and her husband Randy, eschewing V-Day as both too commercial and too mushy, decided to celebrate Groundhog Day instead. Since there was very little groundhog-themed merchandise available, they were forced to be creative. One year, a plush toy that may or may not have been a woodchuck appeared, named Grandville the Groundhog. In subsequent years, Grandville got a hat, some nifty overalls, and starred in a home movie. Randy even collaborated with Brenda’s students to write, illustrate, and publish a book about Grandville. Now, that’s love.
I myself have no quarrel with Valentine’s Day, but after 26 years of marriage, I don’t need a pre-fab card to express my feelings. When John asked me how I wanted to celebrate the holiday this year, I said ‘Let’s cook a nice dinner and drink a good bottle of wine.’ Roast chicken, fingerling potatoes, and a little bubbly made for a nice, relaxing night. We’re planning on repeating it next year.
Whether or not you celebrated Valentine’s Day-and how-I hope you spent the day with the people and/or animals you love, and told them so, too. But for sociologists in search of a pack behavior study (or anyone else in search of a good chuckle): visit the supermarket card aisle next February 14.