Valentine’s Day: depressing and shameless

Sean Simonson

Every year, at the end of January, as chocolate roses take their annual place next to every cash register, I dread the start of the worst holiday season of all: Valentine’s Day. Yet another example of a Christian tradition, originating from the martyr St. Valentine, gone secular (and not in a good way) Valentine’s Day just reminds single people that they are single. It also forces people in relationships to spend exorbitant amounts of money on shiny trinkets, flowers, and the worst of all: chocolates.

I don’t have a problem with chocolate, in fact I love chocolate, but buying chocolate is dangerous territory for a man. The women will always say they are on a “diet” and shouldn’t eat them, only to swallow the whole box and feel terribly guilty.

This year, consumers are expected to spend almost $15 billion on candy, flowers, and other shiny, pointless baubles. Valentine’s Day is, and forever shall be, a day to impress your loved ones with your spending power. School children spend money on candy for every school’s Valentine’s Day parties (which I must admit I was a fan of, though my mother may not have appreciated all of the sugar I received) and advertisers take advantage of every opportunity to pressure shoppers to buy.

And for those of us who do not receive a single Valentine, February 14 is Singles Awareness Day. V-Day just stands to reminder all singles of their single-hood and makes lovey-dovey couples increasingly shameless in public.

According to the US Greeting Card Association (yes, the USGCA exists), over one billion letters are sent on Valentine’s Day. The USGCA also estimates that twice as much money is spent by men than women on average. If a man spends money on Valentine’s Day, then he can spend the rest of the year guilt-free knowing that he already did his duty.

Why is a Cupid a symbol of Valentine’s Day? Because the first thing I think of when imagining love is a naked toddler coming at me with a weapon.

But worst of all, Valentine’s Day is no longer about celebrating the love you have with others; the holiday has become so readymade. Flowers, candies, teddy bears, and other usual gifts can be sent with the touch of a button. No longer do you have to make a special trip to pick out just the right flowers or spend an extra ten minutes to make a card of your own; everything is already done for you.

So next week, as you walk into Wal-Mart in search of the perfect plastic piece of crap, remember that your gift is supposed to symbolize your love, and unless you want the fruits of sweatshop labor to serve as a memento of your passion, do yourself a favor and grab some construction paper and glue sticks. Homemade cards are totally romantic, and you’ll save yourself a couple bucks.