15 February 2005
Yesterday was one of those lovely Hallmark holidays. On Sunday, the boys and I made fancy valentine cookies. Malcolm was the child most into making valentines this year, and we have lacy hearts scattered around the house. Remus John pretended to be Cupid John, shooting everyone with his little plastic coat hanger bow. He delivered valentines for people, and we made a great show of falling in love with one another whenever we were shot.
I decided to forgo the romantic candlelit dinner in favor of water aerobics. When it comes to atmosphere, water aerobics has it all -- soft lighting, intimate apparel, mood music, good company. Plus, you get a good workout.
I stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few odds and ends. I shop at this store twice a week, but I've never seen it like this before. The place was swarming with men, especially the card and flower displays. I was practically the only woman in the store.
I got my prosaic groceries (snap peas, string cheese, cereal, mushrooms, pepperoncinis, french bread, and laundry soap) surrounded by men carrying roses, chocolates, and bottles of wine.
Over the cheese display, I commented that I had never seen so many men at the grocery store.
"I didn't forget!" the bearded guy snapped, rolling his cart away.
I mentioned the gender balance to the checker.
"Hey," he said, "these guys are all regulars. It's safe to turn them loose with a grocery list."
He conceded, however, that it was extremely unusual to see so many men in the grocery store. He then treated me to a diatribe against Valentine's Day, how it was all about men doing things for women. Being long opposed to the guilt aspect of Hallmark holidays myself, I appreciated this, but I could not resist needling him.
"What's wrong? Did your honey forget Valentine's Day?"
"She dumped me a week ago."
I commiserated in a maternal sort of way, and he told me that he'd be all right. It was just making him a tad bitter.
A young woman took my groceries out to the car. On the way out, I commented on what a shame it was that the checker's girlfriend dumped him.
"He probably deserved it," she said darkly.
No wonder roses have thorns and Cupid shoots arrows. Valentine's Day is a major engagement in the war between the sexes.