KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Love is definitely not blind in the current crop of love cards and valentines, which take a clear-eyed, sometimes humorous, look at romance, reports a greeting card company official here.
"You can almost read society's mind by browsing through a card shop," says Wayne Miller, a product manager at Hallmark. "And today's cards say that people are very much interested in love--though not always in the traditional way.
"Several recent demographic changes have affected our attitudes toward love," he explains. "Some of these are people waiting longer to marry, singles created through divorce and an increase in first and subsequent marriages."
Many of the 830 million valentines expected to be given this year will reflect the singles scene, he said. One card, for example, features "personals" newspaper ads. Circled in red is an ad seeking a valentine who is adoring, vibrant, shy, intelligent and lots of fun. Inside, the card says, "Good luck, Kid, so am I!"
Knight on White Horse
Another shows a woman in a singles bar being leered at by men. All heads turn as a knight arrives on a white horse. "I've been waiting for someone like you," the woman says.
A card that has no written message shows a middle-aged man and a middle-aged woman on separate paths in the park. Cupid has just shot an arrow at the man, who sees neither the arrow nor the woman whose path he is about to cross.
"But that's only one side of the love story," Miller points out. "Many cards are totally traditional and vow unending love. Some even have a Victorian look."
A card replete with cupids, hearts, flowers and lace talks of " . . . happiness today and tomorrow and always," and one that opens into myriad roses, lovebirds and hearts carries the simple, ever-popular message: "I love you."
Other cards are more sultry. One shows a couple in a hot tub. A transparent plastic post card presents its message via pink lip prints, and another shows a heart with three little words: "throb . . . throb . . . throb."
A Year-Round Interest
Miller says the variety in valentine messages should not be surprising. "Our research indicates an increasing year-round interest in communicating about love," he said.
So, newer cards designed to be used any time of the year include one that features the message, "Love means coming home to the someone who's been in your heart all day." Others suggest talking--or listening--after a quarrel. And some broach the topic of hurt when love doesn't last.
"The biggest change in love cards is that they are more direct," Miller said. "We have found that people want cards that say exactly what they feel at a particular time."