Nothing quite says "I barely know you" like the most expected gift in the history of manufactured holidays.
A few months back, I wrote a post about Diner en Blanc that made people like Dorian say, "Author is butt hurt he doesn’t have an extra $50." And Laurent, "If your schtick is proving that you’re an out of touch old man wearing white New Balance dad shoes you’ve done a good job. Leave the snarky DEB bashing to the millennial writers who are way better at it than you." I wasn't trying to be a jerk (Mission not accomplished, sniggers Laurent), but was simply trying to reconcile the negative comments I heard from the vast majority of my media colleagues about the event with the corresponding fawning coverage they then lavished on it. And by them, I 100 percent include us—we were actually a sponsor of the event. It was, at least to me, the hard truth. I was thinking about the hard truth again this week because almost every website I visited had at least one story about the best chocolates to give your loved ones for Valentine's Day. And in almost every article, it's presented as a given: of course you're getting your sweetheart some lovely chocolates, here's some help choosing which one to bequeath your romantic so-and-so. But here's the thing—I don't know anyone who's seriously given a loved one a box of chocolates for Valentines day. It's not a thing. It's the fetch of gift giving. I wanted to be sure this wasn't like my assumption that everyone thinks V-neck sweaters are the bomb, so I asked one of my fellow editors her thoughts: "I love chocolates," she said. "Yeah, but what if gave them to you for Valentines day?" "I'd be...disappointed." Of course she would. Not because she doesn't like chocolate—who doesn't?—but because the act of getting a partner a box of chocolates is to bypass the act of thinking about said partner—and surrendering to a rote expectation. But thoughtfulness—literally the act of thinking about someone—is the entire point in a successful relationship. No doubt someone is going to write in and say "Dear Jerk: You're wrong—I love getting chocolates on Valentines Day." But let me ask you this, theoretical outraged person: how much more would you love it if your partner showed up on a random day giving you said chocolates for no reason at all, other than that they were thinking of you and wanted to do something nice. Exactly. So I'm not saying don't buy chocolates—just don't buy them on the day that the chocolate makers tell you to buy them on. Buy them on the 13th, or better yet, buy twice as much for the same price on the 15th. Or buy them on May 12th or any other day that you're doing it because you (and only you) thinks its a nice thing to do. And don't get me started on how lame going out for dinner is on Valentines Day. Strictly for suckers.