"What the world needs now is love sweet love, That's the only thing that's there's just too little of..." crooned dusty-blonde Dusty Springfield, now but a distant memory in the annals of pop rock. But her message still holds true as Valentine's Day 1998 approaches, in all its red-hearts-and-arrow-toting-cupids glory, this weekend.
This seems an appropriate time to ask a long overdue question. Are we using our annually designated "I Love You Day," which is ostensibly dedicated to spreading the message of love, to our collective best advantage?
Certainly, FTD, Godiva, Shalimar, Tiffany's and Hallmark do their share by offering traditional Valentine's long-stemmed roses, luscious chocolates, alluring perfume, opulent baubles and frilly greeting cards that never fail to elicit ooh's and ah's from the fortunate recipients. Many restaurants offer sumptuous Valentine's theme dinners, designed to set the stage for an evening of romance. And let's not forget the silly, cupid-decorated men's underwear that predictably brings a blush to the cheeks of the intended wearer, and perhaps the purchaser as well.
This is all well and good, but, as a rule, we seldom share these commercialized symbols of affection with more than the few in our immediate circle. Many recipients evaluate the sincerity of the message solely on the basis of the gift's cost. And often, most sadly, Valentine's Day is celebrated only out of a sense of obligation to do so.
Do we know how to do it better? Yes, we do.
Many readers will recall, from early childhood, going shopping with mom early in February in search of a certain box filled with dozens of colorful heart-shaped cards depicting pairs of people in pleasant settings. Each card implored the recipient, "Be My Valentine." Little heart-shaped Valentine's candies stamped with sweet sayings were also popular.The practical purpose of these items was clearly to enable children to readily send the day's message to every classmate, and not just one or two favorite friends. The lesson was that it is acceptable to express affection and warm feelings to all of those who comprise our personal world. Definitely a giant step in correcting the shortfall expressed so melodically by Dusty. (Ed. note: An intensive investigation has turned up boxed Valentine's Day cards in local stores selling for $2.29 per package. A special large card is included for the teacher.)
Hopefully, it's not too late to take some giant leaps. We thereby propose that Dusty Springfield's record be re-released in beautiful heart-shaped packaging, that Valentine's Day become a quarterly event to take the pressure off (imagine the seasonal marketing possibilities!) and that grown-up Valentine's cards be sold in boxes of at least two dozen so we can get the word out more efficiently.
For the record, we send a hug to our readers and wish you all a love-filled, happy Feb. 14th!