The jig is up, Valentine’s Day haters.

The jig is up, Valentine’s Day haters. I’m on to you. Bless your cynical little hearts but it’s time to make peace with February 14. I know all your arguments because I married one of you. So let’s examine them closer.


Valentine’s Hater Argument #1: Commercialism

Has Valentine’s been commercialized? Absolutely! What holiday hasn’t? Haters start with this argument and say things like, “I won’t give in to the commercialism of singing Valentine’s cards, boxed chocolates, and don’t even get me started on the flowers.”

Okay, make your stand.

There are more than enough people buying into the commercialism that society doesn’t notice your moral protest. The only one noticing is your significant other. What does he or she get for Valentine’s? Rants about Valentine’s.

So, if you’re truly abstaining from Valentine’s because of commercialism, then do something that’s not commercial! Write a letter. Draw a picture. Cook a dinner. Wash the dishes. Or are you just busy … abstaining?

Valentine’s Hater Argument #2: Love should not be dictated by a date on a calendar.

I love this one because the argument itself sounds so romantic. Okay, I agree that love should be expressed every day. But every day the dishes should also be washed, dinner cooked, little one’s bathed, toys picked up, careers attended to, and dogs walked. Every day is not romantic and I bet that 98.9% of the people citing this excuse are not the incurable romantics that their statements would suggest. If you’re one of the1.1% of people truly finding little ways each day to express and demonstrate love then wonderful. You are fully exempt from Valentine’s. (Although something tells me those 1.1% of people aren’t ranting against Valentine’s.)

Valentine’s Hater Argument #3: I’m not an overly sappy, sentimental, romantic person.

This is an easy one. If you’re not overly sappy, sentimental or romantic then don’t be! Who says expressing love has to involve violins playing, candlelit dinners, love poems, or chick flicks? Find your own way to express your love. Real love isn’t sappy anyway, is it?

There you have it – my best attempt to reform Valentine’s haters. This post is dedicated to my husband, who is either a former Valentine’s hater or a slightly less vocal one.

The Etiquette of Polygamy. Seriously.

I have a confession to make.  I sat down to write a blog entry on the etiquette of recommendation letters – fascinating, right?  Anyway, while working on this masterpiece I turned on TLC’s Sister Wives, a show about a polygamist family – one husband, three wives, and one girlfriend.  (In fact, this blog entry can now be used as proof that it’s a bad idea to write while watching TV.)  Anyway, I couldn’t stop thinking about the etiquette issues that exist in a polygamist family.  Quite frankly, it’s kind of blowing my mind.  Here’s a sample:

  • When inviting a polygamist family to a wedding would it be Mr. and Mrs. and Mrs. and Mrs. Smith?  Or Mr. and Mmes. Smith?  (This is really an important one because in a polygamist community you probably go to quite a few weddings.)
  • Is it kosher to go out trolling for a new wife with a current wife?  Or should that be done solo?
  • Do date nights ever include the whole crowd?
  • How does courtship work?  Do you ask your current wives first?  (The complications surrounding all rituals of dating must be exhausting.)
  • What about health insurance?   Surely, they aren’t all covered in a family policy. (Okay, not so much etiquette, but you have to admit it’s a good question.)
  • Baby shower etiquette.  Who hosts the showers?
  • How is it decided which wife gets which bedroom?  Does Wife #1 get first pick or master bedroom?
  • Is it acceptable to refer to the new wife as the rookie?
  • If they’re all standing together in a group – which wife should the husband introduce first?
  • How would you work seating charts?  All seated together?  Who gets to sit by the husband?

Yeah, I could go on all night.  My apologies if you have to ask someone for a recommendation letter in the near future.

The Etiquette of Dieting

I’ve been on a constant diet for the last two decades.  I’ve lost a total of 789 pounds.  By all accounts, I should be hanging from a charm bracelet.  ~Erma Bombeck

I’m aware that the title of this entry is practically asking people to tell me that dieting is old school.  I get it.  We shouldn’t be dieting.  We should be changing our lifestyle to make dieting unnecessary.  If the term diet gets your healthy-living goat, please replace diet with lifestyle change throughout today’s entry – I’m going to stick with diet because it has fewer letters.  

Children’s parties, moms’ nights out, weddings, family celebrations, ladies who lunch, office functions, dinner parties, poker nights, date nights – almost all of our social gatherings revolve around food.  So when a pencil, paper, journal, reference book, and calculator are involved in taking a bite it can create awkward social situations.  However, it is possible to watch your waistline without removing yourself from your social scene – or making your friends wish that you would!

Rules for the dieter:

  1.  Whether you are counting calories or have adopted a strict all-organic, non-processed, whole food diet – it should NOT be the subject of every conversation.  Consider those around you who would like to enjoy their serving of birthday cake without the side of guilt.  No one wants to socialize with a diet evangelist.
  2. Don’t criticize other’s food choices.  “Do you have any idea how many calories there are in that?” “I used to eat like that too …” “I wish I could still eat like I was 13.” “Ordering a burger?  I’ve got a book you should read.”  Unless you’re talking to a child you’re raising, do not comment on other’s food choices.   Ever.
  3. Restaurants sometimes serve huge portions.  It’s okay to make ONE comment about the portion size; it is not okay to deliver a monologue in which you express your over-the-top shock, outrage, or disapproval at the gigantic proportions on your plate.  No need to tell the entire table several times that there’s “no way you could EVER finish ALL THIS FOOD.”  You can be creating an awkward moment for the other person at the table who also ordered that dish.
  4. Invited to dinner at someone’s house?  Do NOT call the host or hostess ahead of time to put in special dietary requests!  (The only exception to this rule is if you have a food allergy.  Survival trumps etiquette every time.) 
  5. Offer to bring something to a dinner party.  You can make something yummy that you can eat without blowing your diet.  Just be sure you bring what the host suggests – don’t show up with your organic, whole wheat, milled flax seed spaghetti (just like grandma used to make) if your host asked you to bring bread. 
  6. Try everything made at a dinner party – it’s rude to skip out on the food your host has spent time preparing for you.  Portion control is your most polite option.
  7. Don’t bring your own food to a dinner party unless asked. 
  8. Children should hear adults discussing healthy eating and smart choices – not diets and jean sizes.  They are listening to every word you say, especially the ones you don’t want them to hear!
  9. Dress for the body you have today.  Wear clothes that fit and make you feel good.

Rules for those around the dieter:

  1. Don’t be a food pusher.  A dieter’s will power is busy enough without having to deflect comments like “come on, is that ALL you’re going to eat?” or “life is too short not to eat cheesecake.” 
  2. If you think a friend looks like he or she has lost weight – tell them!
  3. A person’s diet is personal.  Practice social sensitivity.  If questioning them about their diet is making them feel awkward – stop.
  4. Encouraging and supporting does not mean becoming the diet police. 
  5. Spouses: If your significant other asks if they need to go on a diet, or asks if you can tell they’ve lost weight – the answer is that they look great.
  6. Spouses: It is not your job to suggest a diet for your spouse.  Deciding to go on a diet is an individual choice.  It can definitely be something a couple does together but if you need to lose 5 pounds and your spouse 50 you may want to avoid even that suggestion.  Protect your marriage by being supportive and focusing on the health of your family – not the weight of your spouse.

In the end, it all comes down to respect.  Have respect for the person trying to make healthy changes.  Have respect for the people who spend time around this person who is, quite frankly, a grumpier version of their normal selves.  Ultimately, the number on a scale only measures your weight – not your intelligence, self-worth, parenting skills, or all around wonderfulness.  I’ll end this post with a quote from my sweet, eight-year old David:

David:  “Mom, remember that dance stuff that makes you smaller?”

Me:  “Yes, David, I think you mean Zumba.”

David:  “I think you should do some more of that.”