Last week and this mark two distinctly different celebrations involving “loved ones.”
The most observed has been around for hundreds of years. The other is just 15 years old.
How they are noted in Chase’s Calendar of Events, McGraw Hill’s 50-year-old highly regarded international guide to official and unofficial occasions:
• Dump Your Significant Jerk Week, Feb. 4-10.
• Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14.
Chase’s traces St. Valentine’s Day to AD 269, in honor of two murdered Christian martyrs in Rome named Valentine. It has become one of the most widely observed unofficial holidays worldwide, marked by exchanges of gifts of love to family and friends.
Dump Your Significant Jerk week was started in 1994 by Marcus Meleton Jr. of Sharkbait Press in Costa Mesa, Calif. He says it’s a “call to arms” to dump any “jerk boyfriend or girlfriend.” It’s always the week before Valentine’s Day.
Meleton’s message might make many of us old-timers reminisce about relationships with someone we thought was a true love but turned out to be a disappointment. At age 83, my perspective:
Failure to recognize that your “significant other” doesn’t really measure up occurs most often and lasts longer with first or early “loves.”
Most of us were most vulnerable as high school or college students in our late teens or early 20s. But a jerk (defined by Webster as “an annoyingly stupid or foolish person”) also can captivate you in middle age or older, especially if you’re rebounding from a previous love or marriage.
Most jerks who get dumped probably aren’t quite as bad as their disappointed “other” concludes. Likewise, many true loves don’t turn out to be quite as perfect as their “other” had hoped.
But you’re better off with a love than a jerk on Valentine’s Day.
Al Neuharth is founder of USA TODAY.
“Today, folks don’t seem to wait long enough to find out if they have a ‘love’ or a ‘jerk’ before they ‘hook up’ or ‘shack up,’ or get ‘knocked up.’ Sad, really, because everyone wants to have real love . . . too few have the patience to grow into it.”
Laura Schlessinger, syndicated radio talk show host and author of “The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage”
“It’s telling that you get a week to dump a jerk but just a day to celebrate the love of your life. Let’s stop giving jerks so much time!”
Greg Behrendt, comedian and co-author of ” He’s Just Not That Into You.”