A cynic’s comments on a commercial holiday
On the most unnecessarily sappy of days, many gents will venture to the nearest florist to make arrangements for their significant others. Some will go out of their way to express the onset of an emotion they barely understand. For others, this day is one of blissful ignorance, prancing around and holding hands like a fantasy sequence from a Farrelly brothers film.
Not everyone is lucky enough to be someone else’s valentine, and for the not-so-lucky, Valentine’s Day is nothing more than a day of bitterness and resentment.
The whole premise for the holiday is ridiculous when taken out of context. Valentine’s Day is Christmas with hormones, in that it is an omnipresent holiday with a disgusting aura of pink, white and red. The holiday provides an excuse to have everything look as though a flamingo overdosed on Pepto-Bismol and vomited everywhere. Millions of flowers are savagely plucked from the soil and bundled together, waiting to be picked up by some lovesick customer. Coupled with heart-shaped candies and Hallmark cards, Valentine’s Day is intended to be an important day on which people express their affections and couples reaffirm their feelings for each other. The concept would have remained pure had the advertising industry kept itself away. Now, Valentine’s Day has become institutionalized and highly profitable, and thus resembles the worn-out version of its former self.
Whenever JCPenny decides to name a sale after a holiday, it’s painfully clear how commercial and mainstream that holiday has become.
My quarrel with this holiday is the notion that it’s the only day set aside to express what many feel needs to be expressed. If waiting until Valentine’s Day to tell someone how you feel seems like the right thing to do, then you are living in a romanticized, Don Quixote version of reality. In actuality, there is no sense in waiting for anything, let alone depending on one day’s magical qualities to unleash the mushiness collectively known as emotions. These emotions compel the masses to purchase flowers with immediate expiration dates, fattening delicacies, overly sentimental cards, snuggly-yet-creepy teddy bears and anything that has Cupid on it. It is the quintessential marketing department’s dream to profit from something so manipulable - a holiday that deals with the hoax of an emotion we all call “love.”
It is human nature to label something that cannot be understood. Human beings have tried to name and label everything to explain the why of everyday situations. It’s convenient, then, that we blame the most illogical and inane actions on the scapegoat that is love.
“Being in love” is one of those abstract phrases that doesn’t mean anything, like “the war on terror” or “My name is Chris Hansen and I’m with Dateline NBC.” The only real purpose of the word “love” is a vain attempt to describe a connection between two people. This connection is mostly made concrete by certain chemicals released by the endocrine glands. Everything that is spoken of as love is the result of chemicals inducing a physiological response inside the body.
We as a Western culture have been brainwashed by sappy films and nearly all of Disney’s works to believe that love is something substantial. In this fantasy world created for us, “nobody puts Baby in a corner.” If you were suffering from a terminal illness, I would build a gigantic telescope for you. If you were married to a nice bloke, I would stand outside of your door with poster boards confessing my unrequited feelings for you. Finally, if you were stranded in the water next to a capsizing mega-boat, I would gladly drown myself to save your life. Fortunately for me, these preposterous things only work in the celluloid magic of film and hardly translate into the tough and gritty of real life.
The truth is, what many people describe as love is more of a glorified compromise between two people. Sacrifices are made on both ends for the sake of companionship and possible procreation. In effect, love is lust in small doses with a flair for the dramatic.
Valentine’s Day is for people who believe in magic and unicorns and tend to exercise their right to be blithely naive. For the rest of us, it’s a reminder of how foolish people can be for the need to be emotionally attached to someone.