An impersonal “Sincerely yours” or “Yours truly” used to be the sign-off at the end of a message. But sign-offs don’t seem to be so sincere these days. Current sign-offs—or throw-away sentiments—are more likely to be “Luv,” “xoxo,” “Love you” or a smiley face emoji. But, where’s the beef—aka true love? When does the word “love” really mean “I love you?”
Valentine’s Day is around the bend and merchants are already fighting for their customers’ attention: “Look at me, buy me.” At least three weeks before the event, hearts are hanging from the store ceilings—some with red sequins, others with lace doilies; bright red cupids floating on clouds, reminding patrons to send a card or gift to someone they care about.
Department store shelves are loaded with potential gifts—many contrived, such as a frying pan wrapped in red cellophane, and heart-shape chocolates with sticky, sweet pink fillings. Bakeries display heart-shape cookies covered in red icing. Hearts, hearts, hearts and more hearts invade our space. The Valentine’s Day cards in the local pharmacy and stationery stores are flooding the shelves. How will I find a birthday card in this cardboard bombardment of love?
At every turn, we are reminded to look for the coming of a schmaltzy sentiment from someone who is thinking of us. If I am remembered, I hope it won’t be with one of those sappy cards that say “I Love You,” encased in a musical missive blasting “What’s Love Got to Do With It?”
Every young girl will be wearing out the mailbox latch, watching for her message of mad, crazy passion. As much as I am aware that this is a commercial holiday geared towards the sound of the cash register ringing, I still find myself drawn into the charade. I stopped sending cards with these phony sentiments. Still, I am as vulnerable as the next person, looking for affirmation of my feminine allure. I hate to admit it—call me a hypocrite—but I start checking the contents of my mailbox, looking for that telltale envelope, a few days before the “I Love You” Day. So far, no-one loves me.
It’s Day Two and counting. I open the box and an envelope in the desired shape is hiding amongst the ads and bills. I open it up; cupid shoots an arrow straight through my expectations. It’s a valentine from my optometrist, flashing a pair of red glasses, reading: “See you soon.” What a bummer!
We are now down to The Day. A card arrives from my insurance agent, another from a secret admirer. Who could that be? It’s Chicos, looking for my business. I guess it’s a no go.
But wait, you woman of little faith. The doorbell rings. It’s a florist delivery. I open the card. It reads: “I love you with a kiss, your son.” The real deal. I’m saved. That evening, I received a call from my grandson. A day-late card arrived from my granddaughter. Yours truly is happy. I guess it’s not such a bad holiday if it brings good tidings and gives a lift to your spirits. Besides, it’s good for the economy.