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. Phil

    The corporate media will hype this Mayan thing relentlessly this year. It is designed to make a big percentage of society give in to tyranny because after all, the end is near anyway, what difference does it make?

    February 14, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Elysium

    Never cared much for the dying flowers, paper waste cards, or boxes of chocolates with maybe one I liked. It was always enough to find my home cuddled up with my husband at the end of the day. Romance didn't need a day, imo... it was in the laughter, joy, and journey. Since losing my husband to cancer I've found I have gone from not thinking much about Valentines day... to loathing it.

    To those that still have a mate... maybe it's good to be reminded you have something worth celebrating. Live, laugh, love....Enjoy!

    February 14, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Very well put.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • midogs2

      My heart goes out to you.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Victor

      Elysium...I understand from experience how difficult the loss of someone extremely speical is...but that doesn't mean that the concept of love should make you upset. Love is the thing which makes humans special...horses are grace in motion, hawks fly on the wind, dogs have keen noses, and humans only have love. If you give up on the concept of love you give up on what makes us human and connected to the world and I don't think you want to do that. Be happy and keep loving.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • jbmmmm

      Its waaay over rated! It almost a chore. Then if you dont get somethin with the right kind of flair there goes the night. Jewelers have 2 highlights per year Christmas and Valentines day. Its a freekin waste of time once your married.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • I'm bitter and lonely too

      EVERYTHING is a freakin waste of time once your mariied.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • jbmmmm

      We celebrated everyday!! Then we had childran. So, we celebrated that. Then they grew up,at least some did. Im so sick of the celebrating id rather fish 24 and 7 now.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pebbles Flintstone

      My mother died of breast cancer at age 54, eight years ago. Now I loath Mother's Day. It's all about personal perspective.
      Sometimes my hubby and I do something on Valentine's Day, sometimes we don't. I don't see anything wrong with celebrating if you want too.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • tiredofthiscrap

      Victor you just don't get her point. She said he hated Valentines day, not love. Valentines day is phony love. Its for men who suck at being real men the rest of the year, so they spend this one day buying crap no woman really wants to make up for it. You see, she had a real man. She had real love. So you go and make your wife a little crappy card and put all of your phony sentiments in it. I am going to go back to laying on the couch with my husband under a warm blanket, like we do every night. We have real love, so Hallmark can suck it.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Anon

    Nothing like a consumer bonanza derived entirely from a fictional holiday from a fictional story created by Geoffery Chaucer.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jerrycc

    Men should boycott Valentines Day if that's the only way they can get laid by their wives

    February 14, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • email

      you are a god among men in a dry spell

      February 14, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • I'm bitter and lonely too

      Sure, because theres no difference between getting laid once per year and never getting laid at all.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ryan

    Not sure why people find this "end of the world" myth appealing.

    What good is a post-apocalyptic fantasy with no bills to pay if you're starving and homeless?

    February 14, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Vishwa

    At least for me this is the special day the Mayan calendar predicts – my wife is planning to buy a whole lot of stuff for Valentines 🙁

    February 14, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Adele 1# fan!!

    I'm am very sceared that the world will end. I don;t know if it will end or it won't ? PLEASE ANSWER!!!!!! WILL IT END OR NOT?? HELP ME!!!

    February 14, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Adele 1# fan!!

    I'm am very sceared that the world will end. PLEASE ANSWER!!!!!! WILL IT END OR NOT?? HELP ME!!!

    February 14, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©

      It sure will, in a couple billion years.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©

      sceared ?

      February 14, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jack

    Didn't CNN already do a piece about how the Mayan Calendar DOESN'T forecast a doomsday event in December 2012? Pfff. Sheesh.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. PoDunk

    The Teddy Bear, lottery tickets (she loves getting them) and card are on the table. Steaks are ready for the grill. I'm in my pj's @ 4:30 in the afternoon as she will climb into hers when she gets home from work. My main goal is to make her smile tonight. Nothing fancy, not a lot of money, just the best thing I feel I can offer heart. Happy Valentine's Day everyone!!!

    February 14, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leaf on the Wind


      February 14, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Leaf on the Wind

    Valentine's Day can be charming and romantic, but it is a made-up "holiday" - created by and for the greeting card, flower, and chocolate industries. And I don't think social media is killing the traditional love letter, either. No matter whether you write in long and and send it snail mail, or use Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail, you still need to come up with the right words to express your love.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. smith.

    "'m just a humble, middle-aged, married-with-children blogger"

    had a good laugh.

    see if "blogging" and "bloggers" are around in 20 years.

    i almost wish the gov. starts abusing their powers and re-take the internet over, atleast someone will be in control of the propaganda and garbage people oops... "bloggers" decide to ooz into this world. What is a blogger anyway i have never heard of this profession. Find a more productive hobby.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      ....and yet you saw fit to comment, making you a.....blogger.
      Ah, sweet irony.

      February 15, 2012 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
  13. BOMBO ©

    I don't know what everyone else's day is like, but there'd better be beer and steak for me when I get home.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • TinKnight

      That's March 14th.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  14. TinKnight

    Am I the only one who felt this read like one of those Bing pieces, where it's more about the links and the searches that they reference than ACTUALLY about anything?

    February 14, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. bobcat (in a hat) ©

    Love isn't about flowers or cards or candy. Love is a journey that lasts throughout a lifetime , if you're fortunate. It's the daily discovery of a feeling and comfort that grows each day you're with that special someone. It's a trust that can't ever be denied, because you just know it. It's an advebture with all kinds of twists and turns. You are going to have your mountains and your valleys. Take them as a learning tool and build on the experience. That time together will go quickly. Cherish every moment. Love is not about flowers or cards or candy.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • waiting for further instructions

      But I already bought flowers, a card, and candy.

      February 14, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      Your wife has a keeper.
      Beautifully stated.

      February 14, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
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