. . . Tuesday February 14, 2012

Love, Sponsored by Hallmark

This morning I asked my three year-old daughter if she’d be my Valentine. She answered: “No, I’m Jonathan’s Valentine.” And thus continued a never-ending streak of Valentine’s Days marred either by rejection or by a disappointment in my failure to mark the occasion with appropriate gusto. I’ve always assumed my love for my wife is too epic to be celebrated along with millions of others with their lesser romances and their silly need to be reminded by Hallmark and 1-800-Flowers that it’s time to be romantic. And frankly, that philosophy briefly won my wife’s approval until about year six of our marriage when she realized I’m also not all that romantic on the other 364 days of the year. Love it or hate it, there’s no escaping February 14. So let’s take a quick look at love.

Americans will spend about $4.1 billion on Valentine’s Day. Eschewing their usual dedication to conservation, parents will buy 72 million paper Valentine’s Day cards (love hurts, even trees). Divorce lawyers see about a 40% increase in business around mid-February. And ten percent of all 2012 marriage proposals will be made on this day (nothing like setting expectations for a generic romance early on). And 15% of women will send themselves flowers (proving that a duet is not required to perform, You Don’t Bring Me Flowers). Here is more of V-Day by the numbers.

+ Check out 150 Valentines from your childhood.

+ A video montage of people saying I love you (or I loaf you) in movies.

+ The Top Ten Famous Love Letters.

+ A new study indicates that many couples stay intensely in love even after ten years of marriage. They really don’t have a choice. They know they need to put up a unified front against their kids who are programed to sense weakness.

+ First, sacrifice a goat. Then, rip off its pelt and use it to drunkenly whip women in the name of increasing their fertility. As irritating at Valentine’s Day can be, at least it’s better than it was.

+ The era of women “playing dumb” is over. (I’m just hoping the era of men doing it lasts a a few more years.)

+ McSweeney’s: An online dater’s index.

+ A six year-old with a rare form of brain cancer wanted Justin Bieber to be her Valentine. So he was.

And we end with a story about the power of loving. In 1950, a white guy (appropriately) named Richard Loving went out to hear some music. Across the room, he noticed a black woman named Mildred Jeter. That meeting led to a legal case that would eventually overturn laws against interracial marriage in Virginia and 15 other states. I’m Jewish. My wife is Samoan. And tonight we’ll celebrate Valentine’s Day by telling our kids the story of the Lovings.

The above is an excerpt from my daily newsletter NextDraft. You think you don’t want one more email in you inbox, but you do. Give your inbox some awesome.

Concentration is important!