With Valentine’s Day inbound, the annual chorus of its detractors is at its loudest. Some, still hoarse from the holiday season, decry the commercialization of a day supposedly dedicated to romance, while others bemoan the existence of the day at all, concerned that the setting aside of a special day for romance demeans the passion of the everyday.
Personally, I’ve never felt any personal hostility towards Valentine’s Day, despite having spent my fair share of time in an unflatteringly bitter state of singleness. I enjoyed sifting through the compulsory Valentine’s Day cards of elementary school, although I confess that deluding myself into thinking a fun-size chocolate bar was some kind of declaration of love is not my proudest moment.
Even when I sank to drowning my sorrows in juice boxes, I generally cursed the inability of the other 8-year-olds to recognize my genius rather than the day of special romantic observance or the drunken archery of a certain diaper-wearing cherub. Bearing that in mind, although I can sympathize to some degree with those who feel that Valentine’s Day is overrated or improperly focused, I must respectfully disagree.
Philosophically, I never believed that Valentine’s Day required people to love their significant others more than they do on any other day. Rather, I consider the encouragement to be more in the direction of showing the extent of one’s affection more fully — call it semantics if you want, but there’s every difference in my mind. The notion that affection must be a constant function strikes me as being a little simplistic. After all, emotions are dynamic and fluid like… like… you know, it’s probably a bad sign that the first metaphor for “dynamic and fluid” that pops into my mind is “phlegm.” I hate being sick.
As I was saying, I don’t believe that the mandate of Valentine’s Day encourages loving one’s significant other more so much as it provides an easy-to-select wedding date and a good reason to make a romantic gesture in case your anniversary is on the other side of the calendar.
Conveniently enough, it also makes it easier for people to help each other in their romantic endeavors at the same time. I mean, I love my girlfriend every day of the year besides Valentine’s Day, but I imagine I’d have difficulty convincing the Logarhythms to affordably perform a phone serenade any day of the year besides Valentine’s Day. Moreover, I’d almost certainly feel considerable paranoia that they wouldn’t be singing what I requested. My girlfriend may be wonderfully forgiving, but it would be more than a little problematic explaining to her what I was trying to say by having her serenaded with Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls” over the telephone.
So, the capitalistic powers that be have found it financially sound to market 200 grams of kiss-shaped milk chocolate to young couples prepared to commit nutritional hara-kiri — so what? That doesn’t make having a specific day of observance any less convenient for people with ambitious Valentine’s Day plans — the flip side of commercialism is that the selection of available commodities and services expands considerably. If the entire populace knows that people who are in relationships, looking for relationships, or glancing sidelong at relationships with vaguely positive regard are looking to display their affection on the same day, then plenty will be thrilled to offer their assistance.
Of course, one has to sort out the good couple coupons from the bad couple coupons, but I like a challenge, and trying to conjure a creative present for my girlfriend that isn’t the same-old “flowers, box of chocolates, stuffed mammal” certain qualifies. (No offense intended to people who are fans of roses and nougat — my girlfriend and I are non-conventionalists.)
The way I figure, Valentine’s Day exists as an avenue by which people can celebrate love (insert song title reference here). And, regardless of how others view or don’t view the spirit of the holiday, I see no reason why I can’t make the most of the occasion, anyway. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go to work. Valentine’s Day collaboration is a two-way road, and as little as I understand it, it’s none of my business if someone wants to express his or her affection via Macarena-gram.