By Lee Lynch
© Lee Lynch and Diversity Rules Magazine. All Rights Reserved
Lee Lynch wrote the classic novels The Swashbuckler and Toothpick House. The most recent of her 14 books, Sweet Creek and Beggar of Love, were published by Bold Strokes Books. She lives in rural Florida with her wife and their furry ruffians.
Here in Florida, our daffodils are coming up. No blooms yet, but I have high hopes we’ll have a chorus line of yellow dancing in the breeze come Valentine’s Day.
Back in the big bad 1970s, Valentine’s Day was not so popular in my lesbian-feminist crowd. It was another capitalist ploy to get us to spend our money; a patriarchal tradition designed to snare women into enslaving themselves to men; a sexist ritual that excluded lesbians – did Hallmark ever make a card for us?
Now I read in Ms. Magazine that St. Valentine was kind of on our side. Apparently, he got busted by Emperor Claudius II for marrying Christian couples when old Claudius nixed doing so, sometime around 270 A.C. It’s a pretty bloody story. Nevertheless, it’s now cool to celebrate the saint’s day because so many Christians (and other religions) won’t marry another group: us.
I don’t really see St. Valentine doing his bit for gays if he was around today, but I’m a romantic. Nobody can dampen my enthusiasm for the trappings of love. Any excuse will do, even an ancient martyr. Sweetheart doesn’t discourage me. She appreciates the displays of affection I foist on her.
Not that they’re lavish. In past years, I’ve made quick visits to dollar stores. Maybe a Happy Valentine’s Day banner for the front door – or not, given our neighborhood. Maybe some decals scattered around the house – one year it was love bug stickers we later couldn’t get off the mirrors. My sweetheart’s not big on stuffed animals so there’s no collection of red and white teddy bears covering our bed. This year? I’m thinking a few heart-shaped balloons so every room she goes into, she’ll see “Be My Valentine,” “Cloud Nine,” or “#1 FAN” floating overhead, near the ceiling fans.
Our first year presented a logistical problem. We would be on the road, at the Bold Strokes Books Palm Springs LGBTQ Book Festival, for Valentine’s Day. It was a perfect place to celebrate, but how could I decorate our beautiful room at the Casitas Laquita Lesbian Resort Hotel? I found red hearts, a dozen shapes and sizes, the kind that cling to glass surfaces, and I festooned the room with them. I don’t know which of us was more delighted.
Candy-wise, Peeps are out. Other holidays, I’m glad to ply her with yellow chicks or orange pumpkins, but those putrid-pink and regurgitation-red marshmallow hearts ruin the Peeps concept. One year, I sought out the prettiest box of chocolates I could find and was gratified when my sweetheart even saved the empty box. I remember that my mother used one my father had given her as a sewing basket for decades: Aww.
Now, we’re both fighting middle-aged spread – and spread and spread – so the candy is actually minimal, if any. Probably I should consider sending the money to Freedom To Marry, not Ghirardelli. (www.freedomtomarry.org). The corner Walgreens, however, might have a small tasty treat. More likely, a whole aisle of them. Who can deny her wife a traditional sweet?
I just took a glance at the Walgreen’s web site for Valentine’s Day. One of their categories is “sexual wellness.” Hmmm, I thought and clicked on it. Up came the header “Queen.” This was getting pretty weird. There was only one product, though, a supplement called Reservatol. It was a buy one/get one free deal (BOGO). Did I even want to know what it was? Turns out, it contains red wine and Polygonum Cuspidatum Root. I drilled down further and found that Polygonum Cuspidatum Root prevents certain tumor growth. The whole product helps to provide antioxidant protection and helps to promote cardiovascular health. Thank goodness for BOGO – I can give my sweetheart one for Valentine’s Day and one for our anniversary. Hats off to sentimental Walgreens for the romantic suggestion.
One year, I had a Groupon for a nice restaurant, but Groupon has changed. I’m not going to tell my sweetheart that I love her with a Groupon for cosmetic surgery, a Five-Window Car or Truck Tinting Package or a Birthday Party for Up to 16 Kids. None of those quite express why I married her.
I know Ellen likes to shop at Cartier, but that’s out for us. It’s not that I don’t want to bedeck my sweetheart with diamonds and gold, it’s the money thing. Yes, we have daffodils in February, but the mortgage on our home, like almost half of Florida’s home mortgages, is so far underwater we could sell the house as waterfront property.
Harking back to the feminists of yore, I don’t need Cartier, Groupon or Walgreens to show my love on Valentines or any day. I’m planning a homemade card, a funny refrigerator magnet and all my attention. Or maybe the attention and the promise of daffodils are enough.