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 CNN.com 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 CNN.com 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 mayanpredictions.net, 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. Superman

    Valentines day is a love hate day im divorced so i love my daughters but the mother OMG forget her no compasion for that(her)!!

    February 14, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • urmom

      So buy your kids some chocolate since all the women in your life have restraining orders against you..

      February 14, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. saywhat

    Now really folks!

    Is the Valentine's Day as we see it now about love & romance or an obligation that one has to remember and dutifully discharge? A commercially driven obligation at that.
    Most people I talked to say that it is more of a stress than a romantic interlude. Expression of love should be spontaneous and on the spur of the moment without trappings of any kind.

    February 14, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Well, yeah, saywhat, but Hallmark disagrees.
      Heartily.

      February 14, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Terry

    It's just a Hallmark holiday. Feel free to ignore it.

    February 14, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • DeeNYC

      done.

      February 14, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred Evil

      You mind mentioning that to my wife? She buys into it hook, line and sinker..

      February 14, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • urmom

      February 15th, when you care enough to send it half off...

      February 14, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. behaviors

    An addict might set u up or kill you
    So "what's "to love"

    February 14, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. saywhat

    @ banasy

    thanks. Forgot that its a Hallmark & co day too.
    Have a good one & take care.

    February 14, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      You, too, dear saywhat.

      February 14, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. DeeNYC

    Everyday is valentines day for a girl.

    February 14, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. UCFknightman

    Doesn't really explain the period of time BEFORE the concept of the love letter...(shrug). People got along fine...

    February 14, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. bluebird

    ..there is something wrong...I don't feel the love like I usually do...I don't know if it is because of the economy or doomsday prophecy...but whatever....I didn't do much this year for Valentines Day

    February 14, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. pirate

    When one person has an imaginary friend, he is considered crazy.. If many people have the same imaginary friend, it's called religion!

    February 14, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Icloner

    Valentine is for geeks , with big glasses

    February 14, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seraphim0

      Bitter, much?

      February 14, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Geeks have other big things.......so I am told.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • American_Fury

      Can't get a girl, huh? No need to wonder why. Loser!!

      February 14, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. eddy

    wat is this guy blathering about? this is news?
    tl; dr

    February 14, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. banasy©

    OPAL!
    Quit pimping this poor dude out!
    NO ONE is interested.

    February 14, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dick Henry

    It has been discovered that the Mayan calendar is wrong! The calendar of the Penguins predicts that next year will be the beginning of paradise, not global warming, of course, but the return of the ice age! Penguins will re-emerge as dignified rulers of our beautiful planet. Humans should take note!

    February 14, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Good thing my hubs is an Emperor Penguin.

      February 14, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mrs.Fizzy

      When do our Squid Overlords arrive??

      February 14, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. banasy©

    America1st is lonely, too.
    Go have dinner together.

    February 14, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • pmk1953

      Happy Valentine's day Banasy. And everyone else I jabber with, too.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      Happy happy day day to you, pmk1953.
      Treat the Boss right! 😉

      February 14, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. rex edie

    if couples celebrate valentines day....what do single guys celebrate ???? "palm sunday"....

    February 14, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      It only comes once a year...

      February 14, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
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