The Deranged Valentines of Urban Outfitters
Let no one misunderstand me – if an adult gives you an actual, physical card for Valentine’s Day in 2015 there’s something so intrinsically quaint about the gesture that it almost doesn’t matter what the card says. Almost. Naturally I was at Urban Outfitters looking for a wrist to ring bracelet (a complicated trend as they are often called “slave bracelets”) and I happened upon their valentines. These cards have their tongues so firmly planted in their cheeks that I wondered who buys them and who are the poor sods who have to receive them. What would you do if your Valentine gave you one? What you should do is reconsider your relationship, because each card tells a dreadful story.
Whoever gives this card is terrifying. The nonchalance of the card indicates a desperation and a failed attempt to camouflage those feelings. This is the card some poor 21-year-old gives to the guy she just started sleeping with, and then he never calls her. He laughs about it with his friends, “She gave me a valentine.” And she whines to her friends, “It just said ‘Let’s Make Out.'” What a dangerous card.
Why is this card about the size of your butt? It’s a valentine not a music video. Also in the time it took me to write this blog post, this valentine sold out. Obviously I just don’t get it, and maybe I should get over myself and recognize that you can’t take Valentine’s Day seriously. You’d think I’d seen enough rom coms to know that.
The Urban Outfitters crowd is very comfortable with body parts. They’re apparently more comfortable with the body than with romance. I guess if I was in my early twenties and had just started dating a funny, alcoholic writer, and he gave me this card, I would be pleased. I’d probably have been flattered and proud of my breasts. Then time would pass, and I would discover I wasn’t actually “the” tits for him, and years later I would find this card in a keepsake box under my bed and feel really sorry for myself and proud that I had moved on to much much better valentines.
So what situation calls for this card? It seems very specific. It’s probably not used genuinely, so is it intended for people who just got back together and want to joke about their break up? It also looks like it was written by someone who’s off their meds or still in junior high. Oh, I see. This is the card for sexually active high school Freshmen who are deep into the labyrinth of high school romantic torture. Urban really gets today’s youth.
This card perfectly approximates the creation of a stoned lover who found his or her watercolors. “Hey baby,” says it all and so much more. But what does it say if they didn’t make the card for you. They just bought one that looks as bad as if they had.
This is a poster and not a card, but as a Valentine’s Day gift it still deserves discussion. Why do you need to hang this on the wall? Is it a reminder? It looks like a decree. Maybe this couple has had issues with monogamy, but now they’re on the straight and narrow, hoping their love of the cat can keep them together. It’s a grim little poster for a grim couple.Of the group, this one is kind of sweet. It does successfully express a romantic statement, referring to the heart and the recipient’s effect on it. It’s also written in a tortured, Ralph Steadman style, suggesting someone deeply uncomfortable with romantic feelings and creating a scrawled-on-a-bar-napkin feel. Still they got it out on paper, like so much vomit, and then they gave it to you. Now you have an actual declaration that you make them nervous. But still they’re trying. It’s in pink after all. This is the card given by the “You’re the Tits” guy ten years later when he’s been sober for a while.
I must admit this tempted me. Unless you read this banner literally, it’s a nice balance between romance and humor. It’s playful and genuine at the same time. But I didn’t buy one for my honey. Confessing I found it at Urban Outfitters would have ruined its charms. You want to give your love something special – not an approximation, something hundreds of sexually active high schoolers are proudly using to torture each other.
Happy Valentine’s Day!