Love is in the air. Five days from now, people will be dining in overpriced restaurants and dressing up in their prettiest Valentine's Day attire. Others will be protesting, going to work in all black and cursing anything Cupid-related.
Children will be making last-minute trips to CVS for Valentine's Day candy and Barbie cards to distribute to their classmates. Susy will make her best card with pink and orange construction paper for Johnny, who will declare the super-glue as cootie infested and throw it away when he gets home.
With Valentine's Day so fast approaching, I have been reflecting on the meaning of the holiday. As I was sitting in my friend's apartment on Sunday evening, tucked away in my little 15 square meters next to Sacré Coeur, I started thinking about those three little words - "I love you". When do you say it? And what are the rules in Paris, the city of love and lights?
Judging from the responses of my fellow Seesmicers, it seems the French "je t'aime" is much stronger than our American "I love you." In America, those three magic words are sometimes "overused" to the point of becoming banal (or so they might say). In France, it's rare to end a telephone conversation with "Love you, Mom" or "I love you baby". Je t'aime is much more vague - requiring extensive reflection and representing a significantly higher level of commitment. You might want to write a philosophical dissertation addressing the implications and potential undertones of your statement before you decide to pronounce those words to a significant other.
As one Frenchman put it, the girl should wait until the guy's first major paycheck. And after the guy's first major paycheck, he should really reflect before responding. Even then, he probably won't get it right until his mid-30s or even 40's - with his first mistress. ;)
The English are much more spontaneous and romantic, I find. Say it when the feelings are bursting inside of you and you just can't take it anymore - when you feel it so much that it doesn't matter what the other person will say back. Fellow Seesmic user Deek posted a response that gives the Corinthians a run for its money.
Americans are much more casual. Say it when you've realllly screwed up. Say it when you want the damn girl to kiss you, already. Say it when your girlfriend buys you beer and cooks you steak. Say it after your sweetheart spends his last $75 for a Super 8 Motel and Shoney's Pancakes, and then steals those fancy rocking chairs from Cracker Barrel, so that you might rock together into your golden years. I first said it to Billy Ray Cyrus, sobbing desperately in front of my television as he wedded the lady who is now Hannah Montana's mom.
Whatever the correct response may be, I'm delighted that the topic served as a basis for VinVin's latest song - sure to be the #1 Chart Topper by February 14th. Did I ever mention how much I love this guy?
And for those of you who are still unfamiliar with Seesmic, here's the latest Seesmic du Jour with the other love of my life, Loic Le Meur. As invitations are now being delivered in 24 hours, I suggest that all of you out there come join the party. :)
Finally, don't mistake Seesmic for a fun or slightly geeky distraction. With love all around and Valentine's Day coming up, the site is quite useful. You get instantaneous feedback to major dilemmas. Credits for this last video go to blogger and podcaster Documentally whom I met at our last Seesmic Paris Meetup. I want the whole world to know right here how much I love him. ;) Thanks for the advice, Christian, I know my boyfriend is going to love his Valentine's Day Gift.