Birthday Adds New Element to V-Day

Krista Tschetter

Krista Tschetter

I never really wanted a Valentine’s Day birthday. But fate (Cupid, perhaps?) apparently had plans for me, and I was born a whopping six weeks early to make Feb. 14 by mere minutes.

And now, nearly 23 years later, I can reflect on a childhood of birthdays on the kitschiest day of the year.

And I’ve come to realize my only long-standing beef with Mr. St. Valentine. It’s the presents. And if there’s anything I was ashamedly preoccupied with as a child, it was presents.

Not that I didn’t get any. I was spoiled rotten enough. And it’s not like, say, being born on Christmas Eve. I have a friend who was born on Christmas Eve, and she always got one present. ONE!! Preposterous!!!

The problem through the years was the well-meaning birthday gift-givers who assumed I wanted Valentine’s Day paraphenelia for every birthday. Heart-shaped rhinestone necklaces from Avon, fluffy bears holding lacy pillows embossed with “I Love You Bear-ey Much,” etc., etc.

Even at eight-years-old, I did not believe these well-meaning gift givers loved me “beary-much,” if at all. Yet I was getting truckloads of fluffy, fuzzy, shiny and/or chocolate-scented crap every year. This was crap manufactured for lovers, not special birthday princesses.

And I think it sort of messed me up.

I think, even if I didn’t realize it at the time, I was getting the wrong message. And somehow, my wires were, and remain, crossed.

To this day, I don’t equate normal mushy material things with romance.

I have a deep mistrust of teddy bears, especially those with magnetic noses that attach to each other and make squeaky kissing noises. Chocolate gives me a headache. In high school, I usually opted for a beer kegger instead of a romantic evening at Happy Chef or up on Dog Hill. I don’t especially love red roses (and Rose is my middle name, an added V-day kicker).

Yet I have an attraction to baubles. Shiny, pretty things. Pieces of glass on strings, glitter-covered balls, tiny, twinkly rocks. Anything cheap and gaudy and poorly painted or embroidered.

I have no idea what it means when you put all of this together. Did I retain a love of useless, pretty garbage, but develop an aversion to useless, pretty garbage having to do with Valentine’s Day? Have I simply met my life’s quota of red, white and pink, so I’ve moved on to the rest of the colors?

I really have no idea.

What I do know, is in the days leading up to this Feb. 14, you won’t see me (or my boyfriend) anywhere near that ghastly (yet strangely comforting) aisle of love at our local Walmart.

It’s just too close to touch it yet, there are so many things I don’t understand about the effect years of Valentine/Birthday gifts had on me.

Maybe in a thousand years, when my cryogenically frozen body is awakened by the future species of human-dolphin hybrids, modern science will have evolved to a point where I can understand what the hell I’m even talking about.

In the meantime I’ll be sitting at home, waiting for the heart-shaped birthday cards and pink cookies to roll on in.