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Outlook columnist Sharon Nesbit originally wrote this column at Valentine's Day 2014. She sounds a little jilted by the whole holiday romance thing.

Sharon NesbitI'm not sure how I feel about Valentine's Day.

The notion of enforced, obligatory romance targeted on a single day seems wrong. The fact that it is based on a long-dead saint — slaughtered in a decidedly unromantic way — and was then manipulated by a pope who paired the event with a fertility festival, doesn't help.

Yet I have known some individuals who seem to need the prompting of such a day to ignite the spark that produces a box of candy or a bouquet of flowers.

I am not a good judge of Valentine's Day, having had my heart — which is not heart-shaped at all I later found out — broken by a Jim Ferguson, who in the sixth grade gave me on Valentine's Day a box of chocolates and by nightfall had fallen in love with that snotty Janet who looked so good in her pep club sweater.

Curses, Jim Ferguson. Without you, I might yet be giddy as a school girl. (OK, his first name might have been Bill. I no longer remember. Perhaps that is a sign that the jagged little crack in my heart is mending.)

Whatever, the fiasco with Jim/Bill heralded a longish period of on-again, off-again romances, triggered frequently by the thought that Valentine's Day was looming and there was no boyfriend in sight to deliver the requisite heart-shaped box.

Valentine's Day can force one into hasty decisions in the romance department just to make the Feb. 14 deadline. Which may explain why you see people who should not have married each other.

Regardless, as the holiday approaches and every store is filled with heart-shaped boxes, I begin to look through the newspapers at the elegant Valentine's dinners.

The complimentary red roses at your table. The lobster and the chocolate desserts. The hotels specialize in it here in Maui and it is almost impossible to go out to dinner on Feb. 14, unless you want pizza or tacos.

We could make a dinner reservation. Likely they have an "early bird" special for old lovers, but even that seems more trouble than it is worth and we are apt to stay home and have meat loaf.

I have, however, indicated rather firmly that I will not endure another year without a heart-shaped box of chocolates. Or even a square box of chocolates. If Valentine's exists for no other reason, it is for the consumption of chocolate.

When I think of Jim/Bill and his sixth-grade box of chocolates, I remember that the chocolates lasted longer than the romance and were sweeter by far.

Let that be a lesson to you. Lovin' don't last. But chocolate does.


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