Valentines Day makes my skin crawl. Of all the manufactured holidays we are forced to endure, this one really busts my balls.
When I strip away the ludicrous trappings of holidays like Christmas or Easter, there is a glimmer of merit buried beneath the spectacle that makes sense to me. I get the value is celebrating special days dedicated to our Mothers and Fathers and even our secretaries… oh wait, our Administrative Professionals, but I just don’t get Valentines Day.
In fact, I loathe Valentines Day.
Every year, like some diabolical doomsday clock, February 14th ticks closer and closer and closer until there is nowhere left to run and hide. It’s here and the cloyingly sweet smell of expectation and hope is in the air.
It is a day that is designed to make us feel shitty about ourselves.
From the very beginning, when our grade school teachers tell us that everyone in the class must get a valentine, “so that nobody feels bad,” this day is tied to our self worth – the more you get, the more you’re worth. Inevitably Smelly Suzy gets a couple of cards but she knows, in her hardened six year old heart, that they only arrived out of pity; already she is plotting the messy demise of Popular Patty, whose cup runneth over with sentiments of friendship and love.
As we grow older it only gets worse as Valentines Day becomes a popularity contest. Second Base Sally is inundated with candies and cards with comments unbecoming for a girl her age while the marginalized and mistreated get nothing; silently Carrie The Cutter adds another slice to her arm and cries herself to sleep.
At some point, most of us mistakenly decide that our value is tied to the value others place in us and Valentines Day perpetuates this misconception in the worst possible way. You are only important if somebody loves you. You are only desirous if somebody covets you. You only matter when somebody tells you so – with gifts.
I’m married and love my husband very much, but I don’t buy him a Goddamn thing for Valentines Day. I don’t want to be told that it’s time to show him just how much I care or assign a dollar value to our relationship; I am perfectly capable of screwing these things up on my own without a specific day – I’m looking at you February 14th – to help me out.
Single people hate Valentines Day more than life itself. I’ve already received texts this morning from friends – of the single variety – who’ve said, “I hate VD” and “FML, I don’t even want to leave the house.” Nothing makes you feel more worthless and alone than happy shiny people showering each other with gifts and demonstrations of their undying devotion.
We’ve co-opted Christmas and desecrated Easter with our unending consumerism, we’ve perverted Halloween and made birthdays into buying sprees; do we really need to do the same with love?
I encourage you to buy your special someone flowers on June 17th or pick up a small something for a friend on August 8th – not out of obligation or guilt, but because you want to.
These manufactured holidays have run amuck and the only way it ends is when we stand up and say enough is enough.