JONATHAN Pasadena, Calif.
When I wake up in the morning and hear “Happy Valentine’s Day,” the first thought that jumps into my head is: Already? Didn’t we just do this?

What Valentine’s Day means to me, in a sentence or two: Very little. Is that a sentence?

If a proposition were introduced to abolish Valentine’s Day, I’d: Gladly go door to door with the petition unless there were some decent government incentives inducing me to keep it. I don’t like a day that forces me to be romantic like I’m a tube of toothpaste that needs squeezing. What’s next? A day that forces me to hand candy to strange, greedy, thankless children dressed in dollar-store skeleton costumes?

My dream PG-13–rated version of Valentine’s Day is: Well, with a toddler, the tight dollar and busy lives, if my wife and I made it out for the entire day — even to cruise Home Depot for kitchen sealant — we’re already in a dream scenario. But were I to go a step further, it would involve three high-fat meals, the last of which would be a heaping pile of takeout wings in an old Chevy under the stars, with The Shawshank Redemption playing on a portable DVD player and my best girl by my side. And, y’know, just letting things play out from there.


Who needs a scripted day to show my wife how much I care about her? If I’m only doing that once a year, what’s she doing with me?
CRAIG Taos, N.M.
When I wake up in the morning and hear “Happy Valentine’s Day,” the first thought that jumps into my head is: That I’ve awakened in the wrong house, because my wife also happens to view Valentine’s Day as a Hallmark hoax. Have I mentioned how much I love this woman?

What Valentine’s Day means to me, in a sentence or two: In his book about the cultural evolution of holidays, author Anthony F. Aveni writes that Ralph Waldo Emerson denounced Valentine’s Day gift shopping as “barbarous” and “a cold and lifeless substitute for a personal offering from the heart.” Emerson should be required reading on Valentine’s Day.

If a proposition were introduced to abolish Valentine’s Day, I’d: Still have to refrain from joining that bandwagon. How better to early learn the lesson of humility than by being utterly ignored in grade school on Feb. 14? But I would push for an amendment: that we consider the example of Japan, which has designated Feb. 14 as a day that men receive gifts from women. (Men reciprocate on March 14.) Seriously, how cool would it be to see a lineup of women at every flower store in the city at 5:45 p.m. on Feb. 14?

My dream PG-13–rated version of Valentine’s Day is: Any day of the year when my wife and I enjoy a private celebration with each other that turns decidedly un-PG-13.

BO Los Angeles
When I wake up in the morning and hear “Happy Valentine’s Day,” the first thought that jumps into my head is: Shoot — did I get her anything yet?

What Valentine’s Day means to me, in a sentence or two: Honestly, it means very little to either of us. I know I sound like Charlie Brown, but it’s all about consumerism and is anathema to making someone feel truly special because it’s prescribed. Who needs a scripted day to show my wife how much I care about her? If I’m only doing that once a year because of some random date, what’s she doing with me?

If a proposition were introduced to abolish Valentine’s Day, I’d: Probably still vote to keep it and aim my sights at even worse travesties like “Fathers Drive Your Kids to School Day.” (Only one day a year? Come on, guys.) Also, seeing how much fun it is for my 5-year-old to give and receive Valentine’s cards and treats would give me pause about getting rid of it. Bottom line, I think any day that encourages a little more love and romance in this world can’t be such a bad thing — even if it’s called Valentine’s Day. You just need to make it your own.

My dream PG-13–rated version of Valentine’s Day is: PG-13? We can do better than that.