Valentine's, a day for lovers and haters
Germany is for lovers: A woman strings balloon hearts to a fence Tuesday in Berlin.
February 14th, 2012
12:12 PM ET

Valentine's, a day for lovers and haters

At least one reader thinks we're grouping Valentine's Day with that other special day the Mayan calendar predicts is coming this year - the end of the world.

The reader was responding to a report from CNN's Thom Patterson, who looked into how Valentine's Day, and our idea of romance, has changed with the advent of texting, reality shows and social media. Emory University English professor Mark Bauerlein wonders whether Facebook has killed the love letter.

"Romance is alive and well, I see it all the time and deliver on it all the time. To suggest that there is anything wrong with 21st-century love is ridiculous and somewhat arrogant of the experts to tell people how to conduct a romance, something that is very personal, private and unique.

"More doomsday garbage from CNN!" wrote commentator notbobslc.

Now, I'm no expert on doomsday. I'm just a humble, middle-aged, married-with-children blogger, and you can see what category of Valentine's observers I fit into, according to CNN's Emanuella Grinberg. (BTW, Honey, I hoped you liked the heart-shaped cheesecake. I think the kids put it in the fridge, near the back, on top of the milk and the sweet tea, so be careful when you take those out or the cake might fall into the leftover curry, which was delicious. Now that's middle-aged romance, people!)

Sorry, back to Valentine's Day and doomsday. If we could choose folks who might have some insight on this combo, Stalin and Mussolini might be good folks to turn to. And as CNN has been unable to reach them for comment this Valentine's Day, we tasked our Ashley Fantz to comb through their love letters to really see what was in their hearts.

Stalin may have missed the big picture, I'd say, writing to his wife, "I miss you so much Tatochka. ... I'm as lonely as a horned owl." Of course, at the time, he was exiling millions to grisly fates so it would've helped if he spread the love around a little, maybe going for the wise owl instead of the horned one.

Italian tyrant Benito Mussolini also lost the Valentine's Day plot somewhere along the way.

"I love you too, my dear Ida, even though I haven't been able to prove it to you," he once wrote to Ida Dalser, rumored to be his first wife. Dalser and her son Benito Jr. were later institutionalized under Mussolini's order.

OK, so maybe Stalin and Mussolini had a better grip on cruelty than romance. But maybe they just didn't understand the science of the kiss.

But University of Texas researcher Sheril Kirshenbaum does. She's written a book on it and explains how it works and why you like it in this column. Read up now. I don't want you making any mistakes Tuesday night. Knowledge is power.

Once you understand the science, you might need help visualizing how to make the science work. No worries, photographer Peter Turnley has that covered with pictures from Paris, the home of the French kiss. Check out 14 lip smackers from the French capital he's committed to film since 1975.

That is sweet, sweet stuff. As is chocolate, which always plays a big part in Valentine's Day. And if you want to change up your chocolate selections this year, Eatocracy has some ideas.

There are other Valentine's food ideas on Eatocracy, and you can check out the blog to see 'em all. But, to me, this one is just plain weird and won't be on the menu this or any other Valentine's Day. It's a glazed doughnut with an egg in the hole, some cheese, maple syrup. I gotta stop. Yuck.

While sweet food may be one traditional Valentine's gift, it's a gift that doesn't hang around too long. Smells, however, often do, especially if we go all romantic and call them fragrances. Check out some of the scents of the season from New York perfumer Christopher Brosius on the What's Next blog.

I'm sure with all this advice and insight you're now fired up for a romantic Valentine's evening. Unless you're comedian Dean Obeidallah. He hates Valentine's Day, and he's happy to tell you about it.

Detroit plastic surgeon Anthony Youn hates the day, too. Valentine's Day was sort of a doomsday when he was younger because dates were hard to come by, he says. But he's happily married now. And being a medical guy, he has some tips on how not to sink into despair if love isn't coming your way.

Celebrate being single by creating your own solo travel adventure

Oh, about that Mayan stuff and doomsday, don't get down thinking this Valentine's Day might be our last on the planet.

It ain't gonna happen, and that's coming from the website, which offers 10 reasons why the world will not end when the Mayan calendar does on December 21.

Ha! I love it!

XOXOXOXO (That's kisses and hugs for you texters.)

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Filed under: Food • Holidays
soundoff (157 Responses)
  1. Josh H.

    Robin Meade / Susan Hendricks – Will you be my Valentine? PPLLLEEEEAAAAASSSSSSSEEEEEE? LOL...

    February 14, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. BOMBO ©

    Stalin and Mussolini? Actually, you went easy on us. If you had gone into Hitler's personal life (or that of his great-grandfather/ grandfather and aunt/ grandmother) we all would have needed a stiff drink to get on with our day.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Godwin's Law!
      You lose!

      February 14, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©

      Just bending to the will of our zionist masters.

      February 14, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • rh

      Stalin killed many more than Hitler, but people like to ignore that.

      February 14, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Basil Fawlty

      This is exactly how Nazi Germany started. A lot of layabouts with nothing better to do than to cause trouble.

      February 14, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Don't you have some Towers to take care of?

      February 14, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      @BOMBO: 1:36:

      February 14, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. love

    As long as love is arround so will romance and nothing can change that only people change not the emotion

    February 14, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. AMERICA 1st

    Valentines day was made for normal people, husbands and wives, boy and girlfriends. It wasnt made for the abnormal male to male and female to female. Lets celebrate Valentines Day like normal people would!

    February 14, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©

      Gee, I hope I'm normal enough to meet your standards. Really, I lie awake nights agonizing over it.

      February 14, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Aren't you the charmer.
      I'm sorry you're alone today.

      February 14, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • behaviors

      normal is overrated
      an addict might set u up or kill you
      so, what's "to love"

      February 14, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred Evil

      Could I ask you to change your name? I'd rather you not sully the name of our great nation with your juvenile and imbecilic contributions.

      February 14, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Smart Human

      I smell a closet ho mo and his name is AMERICA 1st!

      February 14, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alaskan Guy

      I'm sorry you feel that way. I've been with my loving partner (and legal spouse for the last 5 years) for 25 years today and hope to spend another 25 in a loving, devoted relationship. Personally it seems that those who have a problem celebrating Valentine's Day are the straight people who are either in loveless marriages or aren't in a relationship at all. If I want to spend my money on cards, candy, flowers, champagne, or whatever, it's my business and Hallmark didn't make me do it even if I am a Platinum level customer. So before spouting off about the ilk of the day, maybe you should do some introspection of yourself and figure out what makes you such a bitter person. Meanwhile I'll celebrate my house full of LOVE!

      February 14, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Liza

    One of the dumbest holidays ever created. My date is so happy he is off the hook and doesn't have to take me out to some over priced meal and buy me overpriced roses and poory made chocolates.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. AMERICA 1st

    Its sad when the abnormal want to take Valentines day down the toilet!

    February 14, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • xavi

      I agree. Businesses have ruined this holiday. It is sad.

      February 14, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      After eating some of the chocolate, that's where many will be.

      February 14, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jon

    Dance in the streets on 9/11.... Reep the consequences

    February 14, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©


      February 14, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Glades2

    Valentines Day is fine, but most married women I know say that it's the other 364 days that mean more when it comes to receiving flowers...

    February 14, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. the Easter Bunny

    Remember men, the next day to buy chocolate is just around the corner. If you don't keep feeding your family chocolate on particular days, you are a horrible man.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alaskan Guy

      Easter isn't for chocolates, it's for JUST BORN PEEPS!!!!

      February 14, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. amm

    I'm relieved to see that plastic surgeon Anthony Youn doesnt' recommend a good face lift to singles who are on the brink of sinking into despair.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Kat Kinsman

    Aw, Brad! That's it - we're dispatching Mandy Morris to your desk to personally deliver an eggy donut and make you like it!

    xoxoTeam Eatocracy

    February 14, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Superman

    Valentines day massacre!!!

    February 14, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mr Practical

    I love Valentines day. I wish I could pay chocolate for s3x the other 364 days too.

    February 14, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Astarte

    Love...such a peculiar emotion.

    February 14, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Whatistruth

    That photo gallery did not include a single gay kiss.

    February 14, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      And get America1st pist?
      No thanks.

      February 14, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred Evil

      Too true, equality is not so important at CNN...

      February 14, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Smart Human

      Gay's don't exist yet in the USA...they are just something we hear stories about from Europe...

      February 14, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
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