St. Valentine’s Day (Or, “When does history matter?”)

I’m sorry this is not a gaming post, but hopefully some people will still enjoy it.

I was just thinking about Valentine’s day and some of the history behind it. Yes, today it has become basically an excuse for various companies to promote extra sales through “guilt-inducing advertising”, i.e. that you should buy gifts for people BECAUSE it’s Valentine’s day. And your significant other (and let’s not make this gender-specific) EXPECTS something.

IF YOU’RE ALONE IT SUCKS…right? WRONG.

As Peter Griffin once said, “OH. My. God. Who. The. Hell. Cares?”

I don’t have any issue with being single on Valentine’s. I haven’t been single every year, but the majority of my life (well that makes sense mainly because I’m 26), I have been. If I really think about it and am honest, I am sure there were some years where it did bother me. Especially the year right after my long-term relationship had ended. But when I try to analyze why it is that I might feel upset about being alone, or not mind it, I come up with some interesting theories.

One of them involves the history of Valentine’s, and that really is the point of this post. So I have heard these stories of who Saint Valentine really was. I am not Catholic, so I honestly have very little idea. I was going to look some stuff up, but then I came to write this because I realized that I don’t care. And here’s why I don’t care:

Who Saint Valentine was, if he was a real person, or what he did while living has absolutely no relation whatsoever to how we think of the holiday today. And it shouldn’t. Because your choice to celebrate it should not be based on anything to do with a Saint, negative or positive. I am not trying to offend anyone who holds religious views. What I mean is, even for the devout, I don’t believe that Valentine’s day has anything to do with religion at all anymore. **At least not in popular US culture**

So what is Valentine’s day for the modern-day couple? I suppose it is a chance to acknowledge love for one another – but isn’t that something you should do each day anyway? I don’t think of it as a time when people are particularly charitable, as during Winter holidays (Christmas/Haunukah/Kwanzaa). It’s not a time when people come together with family and friends to celebrate. It’s a rather selfish declaration of “I’m so glad to be having regular sex”. It is often overlooked by people who have been married for any extended period of time, or at least not made a big deal of, because, hell, they made it work already.

And as we all know – it sells a fruck ton of candy, flowers, silly gifts and expensive dinners and limo rides. Even if you go a no-frills route, as a couple, you’re still putting undue stress on one another to come up with something special JUST BECAUSE it’s February 14th. I don’t think any of this is new stuff; it’s all been said before. But it’s all true. 

I feel like Valentine’s day is one of the absolute worst days on the calendar, and not because I feel left out if I’m single. It’s because it’s so damn exploitative. People rush into finding a mate this time of year just so they can do the special date thing, spend money, blah blah blah. It’s not for those people who are truly in love. 

Now of course, those silly gifts and the candy can be fun. I like to get flowers as much as the next lady (or man. If you’re a man who likes to get flowers you’re alright with me. I’ll pick you a bouquet if you like). If you have a date and want to romp around on Feb 14th, by all means, do so. But try not to take this day so seriously! It should be meant as some light-hearted fun and no one should be feeling left out for lack of partner. 

Here is an important part 😉

***If you’re single this year on Valentines, buy some roses, candy, card, or other gift and give it to your neighbor, friend, co-worker (keep that work-place friendly though :P), classmate, or whoever. Try to brighten someone’s day who otherwise might be feeling down. Bring a sense of community to a holiday that otherwise leeches so much and leads to so many hurt feelings.