Valentine’s Day is stupid.
I’m sorry that I don’t have a more elegant opening argument than that, but that’s how I feel. I remember being a kid and thinking that it was a fun day to exchange cards. Then, as I got older, I started to think it was a day that made it easier to find someone who maybe liked you too. By high school I was caught up in the idea that not having a girlfriend on Valentine’s Day was kind of depressing.
But in my early 20s, I finally realized what the day really was: a ridiculous tradition that only exists to make people buy stuff, and feel bad if you don’t have anyone to buy stuff for.
Why do we need a reminder to show our love and appreciation for someone else?
I have a friend who told me recently that he had to always send his wife flowers at work on Valentine’s. They’ve been married for about five years. I asked him why, and his response was that it wasn’t so much that his wife wanted flowers; it was being the woman who didn’t in her workplace that was the problem.
Fair enough. No one wants to be left out. But why can’t the day be filled with something more meaningful than a box of chocolate and a mylar balloon? (Or those poor fools that “have” to buy jewelry).
Valentine’s Day is now a huge part of our culture, so it’s unlikely that it will go away anytime soon. This mass delusion of the “day of love” is sure to line retail pockets for many, many years. Look at the Hallmark corporation as an example. It’s easy to blame them for so-called “Hallmark Holidays”, but they don’t create holidays. Below is an excerpt of the official statement from Hallmark found on their web site:
“We often hear the term “Hallmark holiday” used in a disparaging way. As a business, we wish it were so easy that we could dream up products and people would flock to our stores to buy them. But we have to respond to what people want – not the other way around. There first has to be a real consumer need that we meet with our products.”
So, it’s not entirely the fault of retailers. We (the buying public) continue this culture of buying and spending on near-useless things. Retailers are simply meeting the insatiable demand for over-sized stuffed animals and heart shaped jewelry; for balloons and cards, and things that move and sing snippets of popular songs.
If you turn your back on the monster, maybe it will disappear?
I have not celebrated Valentine’s Day for many years. When my wife and I first started dating, I explained to her right away that I don’t “do” that holiday. I can’t remember exactly how it went down, but I think she was a little baffled and a little relieved as well. I just refused to be a part of something so wasteful.
Besides, no amount of gift is ever going to show her how much I love her. It’s your actions, and gifts and sacrifices and love: they are all part of the greater part of a relationship.
So as we get closer to the great day of red and pink, consider making a change. If you’re in a relationship, do gifts make you more in love with your partner? If you’re single, do you feel sad or depressed because you don’t have anyone?
Stand up and be an individual. One day of the year is not going to tell you who or how to love and show affection. One day is not going to make you feel insignificant and unloved anymore.
What about you? Do you love Valentine’s or hate it? Am I just a weird stingy jerk, or did I just figure it out early?