I hate Valentine’s Day.


I never realized how much red and pink clothing I have until I had to reject as much as I did this morning.  I used to wear pretty much all black and blue and gray, until I realized I was wearing all black and blue and gray (probably after watching What Not To Wear), and branched out (though except for one deep rose denim shirt, anything pink I own was a wrong-headed gift.  I rarely do pink).  I didn’t really intend to wear black today – that’s a statement I didn’t want to make, I simply declined to wear red or pink… but black was all I had clean and pressed and not from that end of the spectrum.  *shrug*

I’ll be honest – of course part of the reason I hate V-Day is that at no other time of year is the media’s attitude quite so in your face about how worthless life is without Love.  They don’t hedge about it, either: probably half a dozen tv shows both scripted and reality in the last year have featured some extremely wise person who earnestly proclaims that love is the only, only thing worth living for.

Thanks, then, my vacant life having been deemed worthless, I’ll just be slitting my wrists now – or should I go the folk ballad route and fling myself into a stream? 

In all seriousness, I’m astonished if the suicide rate does *not* increase around now.  It’s brutal out there. 

Most of the time, I’m fine with old maidenhood.  Spinsterhood.  Being on the shelf.  Though the world insists otherwise, I don’t see that I need someone else to make my life complete.  I’m sure it would be very pleasant, it never happened, so … It is, as they say, what it is.  It’s just now, with the relentless barrage of PDA’s, that a few shots make it through the barricades, and I feel it.  (The airing of Emma right on target to hit me during the monthly Slough of Despond didn’t help, I have to say.)

But apart from that basic bitterness, Feb. 14 is a very bad anniversary.  It was four years ago today that the announcement went up on the original Board Which Shall Remain Nameless that instead of doing as they’d been promising for the four years I’d been a member and fixing the original message boards so that they didn’t crash every fourteen minutes, they were going to abandon ship and move to a new …everything.  And that was the beginning of the end, for me at least, though I know several people I cared about dropped away much more quietly than I did at the same time.  It was broke, and they didn’t fix it – they kicked it to the curb and started over, and the new board was shiny and new – and it was chrome and steel where the old boards were oak-panelled and comfy (if somewhat threadbare in places).  I really do hate Valentine’s Day. 

Mainly though, and as long as I can remember, there is always the simple fact that … I don’t get it.  Even if I were in a relationship, I can’t see myself being happy because he, having been poked and prodded and nudged and reminded by every commercial and DJ and newsanchor for the past two weeks, arrived with flowers and chocolate.  I worked retail too long: I saw the men who flocked into the store just before closing on February 13 – and, even better, closing on Feb. 14 – to pick up the random pink stuffed whatever or box of anything they could find.  I always derived some sadistic pleasure that a good many of these guys had to choose between the cheap stuff that tasted like something made by people who had heard of chocolate and never tasted it, and the great big huge expensive heart boxes – because that was all that was left.  Oh, and the monster two-foot high cards, also all that was left.  Hee.  That was fun.  But … isn’t this sort of like someone apologizing only after having it clearly pointed out that an apology was owed?  “I’m sorry for whatever it is I’m supposed to be sorry for”?  If it’s not something done with intent, what’s the point?  “I demand a present!”  “What would you like?”  “That! *points*”  “If the six hundred thousand commercials and your nagging are enough to remind me, I will buy it, just to keep out of the doghouse.”  Why?  Just to create an excellent opportunity to make people miserable when they forget or are forgotten (or have no one to forget or be forgotten by)? 

Oh, and balloons?  I hate balloons

On the sitcom The Middle, the father, Mike, spent the whole episode last week ranting about how V-Day is a vast gimmick cooked up by the greeting card companies and chocolate makers to drum up business.  And he’s wrong how?  And have you seen the price of greeting cards lately?  

http://a.abc.com/media/_global/swf/embed/2.6.5/SFP_Walt.swf

That’s it, I’m shuttin’ it down!  You guys shouldn’t be celebrating Valentine’s Day anyway because it’s a scam cooked up by the greeting card companies.  You know what you should be doing?  You should be studying.  ‘Cause guess what they’re doing in China right now?  They are doing math, and they are learning how to be CEO’s of greeting card companies so they can sell us American’s a heart-shaped load o’ crap!
Thing is, though, I can’t help but think I would be either really easy (so to speak) or really difficult on V-Day.  I wouldn’t want flowers – I hate cut flowers, as they’re dead in a day or so, and I’m not good with plants (black thumb).  A stuffed thing?  Unless it’s astonishingly adorable – and I have been known on occasion to find certain fluffy creatures irresisitible – no.  I’m an adult.  I have no use for an ugly pink whatever with something sappy stitched on it.  Chocolate – sure, any time, but I am going to raise an eyebrow if the best a man can do is a pre-wrapped box of Russell Stover.  (I can’t imagine who the appropriate recipient is for a pre-wrapped box of Russell Stover; secretary?  Nurse at a relative’s bedside?  Kid’s teacher?  Even then … Oh, sorry to have put you to so much trouble – wasn’t there something you could have put less effort into? /sarcasm)  Good chocolate, now – that shows at least a little thought.  As for jewelry … Again, I’m either particularly easy or hard, because I don’t like gold and wouldn’t want diamonds.  I’m a simple soul; I wouldn’t ever want expensive jewelry.  What on earth would I do with it?  And I’m hell on jewelry; I can’t tell you how many half-pairs of earrings I own, because the other half vanished from my ear.  My favorite pendant first broke and then vanished entirely; it was a little knight, 1″ tall, whose arms and legs were jointed and whose tiny visor went up to reveal his (rough-carved) face.  All I have now is the arm that snapped off.  So that’s one strike against jewelry – if I were to wear something pricey I’d be a nervous wreck.  Most of all, though, I think both eyebrows would rise if someone were to gift me with one of those mass-produced diamond-studded things for which commercials flood the airwaves around now and every other remotely gift-y holiday.  (Trick or treat?  Treat!  Give your special someone an Open Hearts necklace for Halloween!)  I can’t help but wonder why in the world I would want the same piece of jewelry 321,610 other women have been given over the last twenty-eight or so holidays.  Something hand-made, something unique – not necessarily expensive: go to eBay and search for “steampunk”, and good things appear – would, to me, mean a huge amount more than some kind of diamond-chip-crusted whatever empty of meaning. 

And I know I’m beginning to sound male here, but … the connection between the day and the martyr – who was apparently beheaded, unless you mean one of the other ones – is specious.  There might be some kind of connection to Lupercalia – and having read Roma, that’s not exactly in keeping with what the day is now.  There would be mass arrests if Lupercalia was celebrated properly.  It’s all a great deal like Coca Cola creating the modern image and pervasiveness of Santa Claus and diamonds being force-fed to the country as THE engagement ring: it’s all a marketing campaign that would do Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce proud.   I think that’s sad.

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2 Responses to I hate Valentine’s Day.

  1. accountantgrrl says:

    I actually look forward to February 15th…when the good candy is 50% off!

    Seriously though, Matt and I have gotten Valentine’s Day down to a science. We either stayed home and he cooked me a nice dinner (because, hello! I was always working on that day if it fell during the week or Saturday) or we quietly celebrate it on another day by going out to a nice dinner and we’d exchange a nice Hallmark card.

    I think that Valentine’s Day is a bit overrated.

    I also think that schmucks who propose to their girlfriends on Valentine’s Day are completely unoriginal.

  2. I’m married, and my husband feels that valentines day is manipulative, so he refuses to participate. It was kind of fun to be all counter-cultural the first few years. Now it just kind of sucks, and I know it probably won’t get better. So I hang with the single people and stick my fingers in my ears to tune out all the mushy gushy. I spend the day trying to convince others (and myself) that I’m not missing out on anything. And I then I buy myself the cheap chocolate and sad unchosen flowers the day after.

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