In Elementary School, Valentine’s Day was about reviving your secret candy stash that you’re parents didn’t know about and giving everyone in your class a piece of a treat that you brought. But it was also a time to assert your influence over your unsuspecting classmates. If you brought king sized chocolate bars, you would immediately gain the popularity your little brain craved. Humans live off of validation and affection, so having a whole holiday dedicated to it often seems appropriate; although, the underlying assumption is that it is to be a holiday celebrated between lovers.
The first time I remember feeling the pressure of not being single on Valentine’s Day was in sixth grade. At the time I thought it was grown but, in hindsight, I was a baby! Who told me to feel that way? Anyways, there was this cute boy in my keyboarding class and I thought to myself, “why not?”. I mean, he was cute but I can’t even recall his name anymore. Some of my peers had already started “dating” and I was tired of being out of the loop. The day before Valentine’s Day I probably spent close to three hours in preparations. I made a card, I picked out and outfit, and then I emailed my best friend about it. Yes you heard me right, email. I slipped the card into his locker and skipped off to keyboarding class, eager for a response. Honestly, I didn’t even know what I was expecting. I just figured that this is how Valentine’s Day works. Unsurprisingly, my efforts were in vain because boys suck (or because we were literally in 6th grade. What am I even talking about?). To make a long story short, I spent the rest of the day hiding in my English teacher’s classroom. Since then, I have been the self described “Grinch of Valentine’s Day”. One day of rejection set me up for years of not caring one bit about the holiday. Instead, I’ve been able to examine the social implications of being single on Valentine’s day without my own fear of rejection getting in the way. And honestly, I’m so thankful for that.
A lot of people are really surprised to find out that the origin of Valentine’s Day is actually derived from ancient Rome’s feast of Lupercalia, which was celebrated by skinning animals and then beating women with the skins. It was thought to promote fertility. Great idea Romans. Absolutely brilliant. During the feast, women and men would draw names out of the hat to determine who they would spend time with. At the end of the feast, they would typically get married if they could tolerate each other. How romantic!
The total annual amount of money spent by Americans on Valentine’s day is currently sitting at $18.2 billion (averaging $136.57 a person).
The total annual amount of money spent by Americans on Valentine’s day is currently sitting at $18.2 billion (averaging $136.57 a person). In comparison to the multi-trillion dollar national debt (I can’t give you an exact number because it is changing constantly. Here’s the debt clock), this is definitely a bit ridiculous. Although, Valentine’s day is really hard to ignore. Starting in the beginning of January, almost every store you walk into will have some sort of overpriced but enticing, heart covered display that you can’t resist. It’s easy to get caught up in the spirit of it all.
However, the overpriced candy is always followed by extreme discounts the day after which I am all here for.
I’ve been in a really great and stable relationship for two Valentine’s days now and I can personally say that forgetting about it and treating it like a normal day is one of the best decisions we’ve made for our relationship. My position is that I don’t feel like we need one day to celebrate our relationship, which would just be a big waste of stress and money. This year, both of us are working our respective shifts at our jobs and not worrying about it.
Now this brings up another interesting spin- GALentine’s Day. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a bunch of gals getting together and celebrating friendship. Where as I don’t really enjoy the conventional “couples Valentine’s day”, sign me up for a day to celebrate strong, female friendship any day. It makes me really sad when my closest gal pals are upset that they’ll be spending Valentine’s day by themselves because who needs a man to buy them chocolate when the day after Valentine’s day all candy is like, 90% off? Girl, I will buy you chocolate. Settle down.
Ultimately, Valentine’s day is just a really strange way that we choose to spend our hard earned money. If you’re into it, great. If you hate it, great.
Until next post,
photo credit: express.co.uk