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. rdg18

    I love my wife of 18 years and my kids. Rare in America now. I'm so glad I was not raised a liberal.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • oraegano

      Since when did loving and marrying someone become a political issue?

      February 14, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Facepalm

      I feel sorry for your wife and kids.

      February 14, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Juan C

      Really?! Bieng conservative made you a beter husband and father? My parents have been married for 48 years, Liberal. I have been married for 17 years..Liberal. My brother has been amrried for 20 years...Liberal. And yes we have some gay relatives and one or two interacial marriegaes that have laasted just as long or more...?

      February 14, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mags

      being conservative has nothing to do with being dedicated to your family. I am fairly liberal and take family very seriously, it is where morals are instilled in the next generation. For every Gingritch there is a Clinton, and vice versa. If anything, liberals tend to be more accepting of alternate families, whether they be LGBT, multiracial, etc. It is a great offense to assume that conservatives consider the family whether it be modern or more traditional to be a conservative "thing"

      February 14, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Hello Donna, Ops meant "mags"

      February 14, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      Mags isn't me, Mary.
      I'm sorry you are alone.
      You fail...again....Spongebarb.

      February 14, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Canada Dry

    Mayans ? Where are they? Did they all split? Did the Spanish toast them? Which way did they go? Which way did they go?? I was in the Mayan Peninsula once. Nothin but drugs and tourists there. Where are they?

    February 14, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bxgrrl

    To RDG18 as long as you brought it up – I'm glad I was raised a liberal.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sheri

    June 14th is Tupac Shakurs birthday i think i will celebrate an buy a big gun

    February 14, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Enough

    STOP TALKING ABOUT VALENTINE'S DAY ALREADY! I'd rather see an article about the difficulty of filling a 24/7 news cycle and the temptation to roll out the same tired crap each year.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      Um, not to put too fine a point on it, but you clicked on a story specifically about Valentine's Day....

      February 14, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joe in Pittsburgh

    This is my first Valentine's Day in a long time that I'm spending alone. My cynical side insists that it's merely a created holiday to support the card, candy and flower industries, but the fact is that I'm too much of a romantic to let that side win. I'm big on gifts and affection, but it looks like I'll be spending the evening with a good, violent man movie!

    February 14, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Madtown

      Consider yourself lucky that you don't have to bow to the pressure this "holiday" puts on men. It's pretty silly. No one should need a special day to treat their significant other nicely, we should all be doing that all the time. As crowded as restaurants will be, it's really a great night to stay home!

      February 14, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • jaybird

      Hey, so when do cheap stingy females give anything? Ahem, nevvvvvvvvvver! They're too eeeeeeeeeevil!

      February 15, 2012 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
  7. JackoB


    February 14, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Choice

    Robin Meade would b MY perfect valentines day present!!!!!

    February 14, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Pete

    Nothing wrong with Valentines Day, I don't see why everyone is so pessimistic. Just another reason to get out of the house and treat your lady right.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Madtown

      Well, what's wrong with it is that we're told to do it. What about doing it anyway, just on another day? Whatever you'd do for her on V-day, just do it the day before/after. May mean more because someone else didn't tell you to do it.

      February 14, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. leeintulsa

    OYG. valentines is meant to pressure men into doing something special?

    you have so missed the point. it has to do with romance. whether it is a single rose or a night in vegas.

    what, you can't spend one day a year doting on your sig other? and if you are single, it's the one day single women want to be with someone, too. odds are good for nookie..

    if anyone is being pressured, it is women *by* men to give it up.. and they do 🙂 it, like life itself, is a game.

    happy valentines, ladies 🙂

    February 14, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      ....and THIS is why you're my bud...

      February 14, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. kim

    It a holiday that symbolic its just one day to bring attention to love. Love is everyday not just one we don't just choose this one day to show it. I don't see why people get all crazy about it. I known I am loved every day not just one.

    February 14, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Zoey

    I don't know what is wrong with people, I see mad women making tantrums because they don't get the Velentine's gift they want. They at less had a husband or a boyfriend I have no one and every day that passes I more convinced I'll never going to find someone to love me. And if I were does girls I will feel thankful that someone at least love me.
    Happy Valentines for you.

    February 14, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Stephi's mom

    I personally believe this whole celebration is for LITTLE KIDS. we have nedical problems that would cost most people more than it it worth. my husband & i are both on disabillity and trying to do little specials to get het out of our neighborhood. she LOVES horses and be extremely excited to get to interact with any ZOO situations. our funds ruight now are very low. we were forced to move in the middle of january. just lookin for advice short/cheap stuff to do with a 5-6 yr old who deserves more than i can give here

    February 14, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. KP

    As a woman, I have to say that Valentine's day has had it's ups and downs. I have to admit that I didn't like it when I didn't have anybody to share it with, but I like it when I'm with somebody. My husband always shows he loves me but I have to admit it's nice to receive a little something on Valentine's day. It doesn't have to be much, a little stuffed animal, a card, or a small box of candy. I guess after all those Valentine's that I spent alone, I'm happy with any little thing. My husband made me a little card this year and that means more to me than any store bought card. Happy Valentine's Day to all!!

    February 14, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      @kp; hehe.. ups and downs.. hehe.. yeah..

      February 14, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Valentines

    Is it just me, or are people more hyped about valentines day this year than ever?

    February 14, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
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