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February 14, 2008

Why I Hate Valentines Day

I hate Valentine's Day. I'll start it off by admitting that. (Not that you couldn't tell by last year's anti-Valentine's playlists). However, you might be surprised to hear that it's not due to being alone on Valentine's Day, because it just so happens that I'm not single this year. (Shocker, I know). Of course, that is part of why I hate Valentine's Day other years, but not necessarily the main reason (or at least the current main reason).

I've seen a lot of variations on Valentine's greetings from "Singles Awareness Day" to "unimaginative, consumerist-oriented and entirely arbitrary, manipulative and shallow interpretation of romance day." No matter how you spin it, it's a lame holiday regardless of who you have to spend it with... and these are some of the reasons why:

It's an artificial stupid made-up holiday.

Unlike some holidays that celebrate semi-legitimate occasions (you know, like alleged miracles or birthdays) the background on St. Valentine is sort of fuzzy.

One legend says that Valentine was a priest in 3rd century Rome. Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage for young men (keeping them single to be better soldiers), Valentine continued to secretly perform marriages for young lovers. When this was discovered, he was ordered to be put to death. Another version tells the story of a jailed Valentine who fell in love with a young woman while in prison. Before his death, he wrote her a love letter, signed "From your Valentine" (as people often sign cards today).

Some people believe that St. Valentine's Day is celebrated on the anniversary of his death or burial, while others claim that the Christian church scheduled it in February to coincide with - and therefore Christianize - the pagan celebration of Lupercalia (a fertility festival).

My opinion? It doesn't matter what the true origins are because it's all a big load of crap anyway. I'm convinced that it was created jointly by the greeting card, flower, and jewelry industries... which brings me to my second reason.

It's a consumerist nightmare

Okay, so maybe it wasn't created by the greeting card, flower, and jewelry industries (oh and candy too, I forgot about the candy) but it was definitely exploited by them. Flowers are considerably more expensive on Valentine's day; everything is priced up because they know you need it. And the more expensive the better, because the greater the cost the greater your love... right?

Most people actually seem to prefer the overpriced - but thoughtless - cliche present than something heartfelt, but inexpensive. Potted plant instead of long stem roses? You're not original, you're cheap. Handmade gift instead of diamonds? You're not creative, you're cheap. Bag of her favorite candy bars instead of heart-shaped box of fancy mystery candy? You're not thoughtful, you're cheap.

If the amount your valentine spends on you is equivalent to the size of their love for you, then basically your love is for sale. Can you be bought with roses or chocolates and one of those generic diamond heart-shaped necklaces?


It's just a random day in February.

Even if the origins of the holiday do originally trace back to February 14th, that still doesn't make this one day is more special than the other 364 days of the year. What makes today so special? The same way that I feel about Thanksgiving (why should you be thankful on that day and not every day) is how I feel about Valentine's day: why do you have to show your loved ones how you feel today? If you truly love them, you should make sure they know it every day, not just on the day that Hallmark says you have to.

I don't need a holiday to tell the people I love that I love them.

It puts unnecessary pressure on couples to be "romantic" and "prove their love".

Like I said, it's just one day. So why should you have to do something special on this day? Because if you don't, then you're a terrible friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse/etc. And not only do you have to do something together, but it has to be "romantic". And not only does it have to be romantic, but it has to be super duper romantic... it has to be special. And for most people that also means it has to be expensive.

Talk about pressure!

It makes people without loved ones feel pathetic and alone.

And finally, the big reason. By focusing on love and romance, Valentine's Day makes those without loved ones (romantic or platonic) feel like shit. God forbid you're dateless on Valentine's... you feel like the biggest loser alive. People who are generally happy being single every day of the year, all of a sudden feel depressed being single on Valentine's day.

The funniest thing about Valentine's day is the people who bitch and moan that it's a stupid holiday when they're single and the second they find love, where are my damn roses!? Even though I'm not alone this Valentine's day, I still think it's dumb and I don't feel any better this year than the years when I have been single. Being alone doesn't mean that I am unloveable and being in a relationship doesn't suddenly make me a better person or more worthy of happiness than anyone else.

So if you're "celebrating" Valentine's Day this year, keep all of this in mind. I'm not trying to spoil your happy mood or romantic plans... but maybe it's not a bad idea to lower your expectations a little. If you can manage to have a special, loving time today - more power to ya - but if you can't, that doesn't make you a loser... that doesn't make your significant other a jerk.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oooh, I love this blog. You're speaking straight from my heart. Well, writing.

This was one of the two years of my life I did not spend my Valentine's Day single - nevertheless, I spent it alone. Called him for half an hour. Now that's something quite special, isn't it?
Anyway, since I have a partner, I have used the good chance to ignore Valentine's Day without the usual depressionist feelings.

Btw: great playlist, can I buy that CD somewhere? ;-)