[Editor’s note: yes, I know I misspelled ‘Valentine‘. It’s a pop culture reference. Youtube it.]
I am indifferent about Valentine’s Day. I have no particular reason to hate it, other than that it’s a fake holiday invented to sell more stuff. Still, that doesn’t make me hate it any more than, say, Easter. But it’s not a big deal for me. Nor, before you jump on me with the obvious point, is it a big deal for my wife. Her birthday is less than a week before Valentine’s Day, and that’s the usually where I focus my energy, so Valentine’s Day usually consists of her cooking a simple yet awesome dinner (as she is doing right now) or an extravagant feast (as she did last year), and me sending her a card like this:
Not to worry, though, this isn’t going to be some Oatmeal-inspired screed against V-Day. I actually appreciate the occasional reminder to stop and consider how good I have things, including the lady in the kitchen.
A few weeks ago a friend asked me who my best friend is, and my answer is that I don’t really have one. I never have. I’ve had lots of close friends throughout my life, but never someone who I would say I was closer to than anyone else, and who would say the same about me. I’ve has periods where that happens, but then university ended or people moved or jobs changed and I wouldn’t say that anymore…which I guess makes them not best friend material, else distance and upheaval wouldn’t change that. The friend who asked me, who I would say I’ve been as close to as any of my friends over the past six years, has a best friend who remains her best friend even though they’ve been separated for years by thousands of miles. I can say that I have very few people who I intimately trust and who I think — against logic and instinct — would put my own well-being ahead of even their own. But the majority of those people are family, who would be excluded from the category of best friend, funny scenes from I Love You Man notwithstanding.
But that leads me to an obvious answer, which I didn’t come up with immediately, probably because it’s not a typical answer: my best friend is my wife. Of course she’s my best friend; I can’t imagine marrying someone who wasn’t. Most people’s best friend is someone who gets them, and who shares a lot of their interests and worries and ideals, and who they want to hang out with all the time. I guess in many cases that person isn’t their spouse, but for me it is. We’re different in little ways that make it fun, like her appreciation — and my profound hatred — for the 80s, but she’s inevitably the one I want to share a beer with after work, and talk to about heavy shit, and jet off to New York with for the weekend.
So: forget Valentine’s Day. It’s tired and boring and meaningless outside of Hallmark’s ledgers, and I could say it to anyone without it meaning shit. Instead, let’s see if I can start a new trend.
Happy Best Friend Day, baby.