Well, go ahead and give yourself a big pat on the back! You did it!
You survived Valentine’s Day.
Most people (in other words, single people) seem to agree that the existence of Valentine’s Day is generally a bad thing. This past weekend, I couldn’t move ten feet without hearing both men and women alike lamenting the imminent doom that is February 14th. Being unable to keep from overhearing the almost constant stream of bellyaching, I noticed some interesting things.
First of all, what do we complain about when we complain about Valentine’s Day? For the most part, the whining I heard seemed to fall under three categories: either A) not having a significant other with whom to celebrate, B) the significant other with whom one should be celebrating is not around, or C) the terrible, crushing weight of the obligation to buy pretty things for one’s current significant other. Unsurprisingly, the first two categories were comprised of almost only women, while the last category was made up exclusively of men.
Exactly how do we complain about Valentine’s Day? I also noticed that men tend to complain about the holiday by using political/economic terms (“It’s just a dumb holiday invented by Hallmark and the government to force us to buy their useless junk and stimulate the economy!”) while women tend to complain about it by referring to emotions and feminist perspectives (“It’s meant to make women feel insecure about being single and thereby reinforce the sexist worldview that men are superior!”). There was also the occasional “I really don’t care about Valentine’s Day at all but I still feel the need to talk at you for an hour about how much I really don’t care!” charade–but I think we all know what a load of bullshit that is.
Lastly, why do we complain about Valentine’s Day so much? The obvious answers would be tied in with what I’ve already mentioned: we complain because we don’t want to have to spend more money on insignificant gifts this year; because we don’t want to feel bad about ourselves just because we’re single; because we don’t want to want to be cutesy and sweet and annoyingly attentive to another person at least one day out of the year.
It seems like the majority of the population–especially people aged 35 years and younger–just want to get rid of the heart-studded holiday in its entirety, and even those of us who participate in it somewhat halfheartedly wouldn’t weep to see it go. So, instead of complaining about having to endure it year after year, why don’t we do just that? Why don’t we obliterate the holiday forever so that none of us will have to go through the agony of scrambling to find a date for February 14th? So that none of us will, so soon after Christmas, be suddenly faced with yet another holiday in which chocolate is offered in abundance? So that none of us will go broke, once again, because of obligations felt toward another person as a result of media exposure?
I’ll tell you why. Because, deep down, we like it.