The Valentine Code

Valentin’s Day came this week, and I owed M. a dinner out, so we went. In our case, that means a longish drive, half on gravel roads, to a restaurant with soft lighting and an actual wine list.  Just doing our part for the Romantic-Industrial Complex.  Snow was in the forecast, but did not arrive.

She half-apologized for not getting me a card, but that’s all right, I had not bought her one either. Normally I would shy from buying a card with the word “special” on the front, and now I know why—in the World of Hallmark, it is a sort of code:

S: Are there any words writers are banned from using on a Valentine?

DD: We tried to avoid “soul mate terminology” because you don’t know how well a couple is going to know each other or how well they’re getting along. Some one might not feel comfortable using the word ‘love’ which is where the word “special” comes in. You’ll see that again and again on greeting cards: “for a special mom” or “for a special person.” The word special can mean anything from “you’re the most beautiful person to me” to “I’m glad I don’t live that close to you anymore.”