Valentine's Day, like New Year's Eve, is a holiday predisposed to disappointment.
We know this because Garry Marshall has made terrible movies about both of these holidays. In the spirit of confession, I'll admit that I never actually saw "New Year's Eve," but Ashton Kutcher was in it, and that told me all I need to know.
Beginning in January each year, I begin to receive unsolicited press releases with titles like "So You're Pathetic and No One Loves You," "Grow a Valentine in Your Kitchen Sink" or "Screw Men and Their Candy Hearts." These go rightfully into the junk folder.
Frankly, I'm a little sick of the day being marketed as one that either involves bitterness and rancor or high expectation and overblown pressure. It's one day. There's no reason for anyone to get their heart-print knickers in a twist.
This is not to say that I haven't participated in both versions of the holiday. I have recollections of black clothing and garlic pizza, circa 1996. I've also said these words: "My job is to say that I don't care about Valentine's Day, and your job is to ignore what I say."
Still, some of my fonder Valentine's memories have nothing to do with having a date, or not having one, or with doing anything elaborate.
In the 8th grade, a boy in my class gave a rose to every girl in the class on Valentine's Day. I thought this was lovely and classy.
In college, my boyfriend and I tended to spend Valentine's Day with a dear friend whose birthday fell on February 14.
In graduate school, I spent Valentine's attending a night class, during which we all enjoyed our weight in heart-shaped chocolates.
I spent one Feb. 14 perusing a toy store with a girlfriend, and not even bothering to suppress the urge to break into giggles.
The Valentine's Day just before I moved to Chattanooga, when I was staying with my parents, my father came home with an armload of roses -- one dozen each for me and my sister, and two dozen for my mother.
And speaking of my mother, she's established her own tradition of sending lingerie to me and my sister every Valentine's Day. I appreciate this gesture in that it is sweet, amusing and allows me to put off doing laundry for another day.
If I can offer two pieces of advice, they would be this: One, if you have a Valentine, don't go posting pictures of the roses you receive on your Facebook page. That's just insensitive to those who didn't get any.
And two, if you go the blind date route, make sure your date isn't your ex-wife, as apparently happened to one Times Free Press reader. I don't have an ex-wife, but that doesn't sound fun to me.
On the blind date note, our social media cruise director, Harrison, is taking online applications for a Valentine at bit.ly/vdapplication. That's VD for Valentine's Day. He enjoys computers, musical theater, and may or may not be a Taurus.
He promises to be less disappointing than an Ashton Kutcher movie.
Contact Holly Leber at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6391. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/hollyleber. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/leber.holly.
Holly Leber is a reporter and columnist for the Life section. She has worked at the Times Free Press since March 2008. Holly covers “everything but the kitchen sink" when it comes to features: the arts, young adults, classical music, art, fitness, home, gardening and food. She writes the popular and sometimes-controversial column Love and Other Indoor Sports. Holly calls both New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY home. She earned a bachelor of arts ...