I've never been a big fan of Valentine's Day–whether I've been single or attached. Every year the increasing levels of over-the-top commercialization bug me. I tend to ignore the ads for Valentine's events going on around town, like the overpriced, set-menu candlelit dinners every restaurant seems to offer nowadays.
But this week one Valentine's Day event did catch my eye. A Jewish Community Center in New York is holding an anti-Valentine's event for every woman out there who's ever been two-timed or unceremoniously dumped and wants to release some frustrations on the day when it seems like everyone else is blissfully in love.
Participants at the Mend Your Broken Heart event at the Alan Bernikow Jewish Community Center on Staten Island can bring a photo of their no-good ex into the fitness center and have it mounted on a punching bag so they can work out their aggressions. During the workout, a DJ will play songs that probably don't have a place on Cupid's iPod, such as Bon Jovi's “You Give Love a Bad Name.”
I'm not sure this event will actually mend anyone's heart, but it's a funny and clever gimmick, and I'm sure the local media attention it's gotten will attract lots of groups of girlfriends who just want to go someplace that's not festooned with paper hearts to have a laugh and try to feel a little bit better about a bad experience.
But although the event is obviously meant to be tongue-in-cheek, what I like most about it is that the JCC also is using the opportunity to highlight more serious matters. In addition to having plenty of trainers on hand to make sure the participants have a fun workout that gets their heart rates up, the JCC is tying the event to American Heart Month, which raises awareness of heart disease, the leading cause of death for American women. During the free event (which is open to both members and nonmembers), donations will be collected for the American Heart Association.
Come to think of it, maybe I was wrong. A fun evening that gets people feeling good, getting fit and thinking about their health while raising money for cardiovascular disease research and education may just mend some hearts after all.