It’s here. The holiday of lurve. The fluffiest, sweetest, corniest, fakest holiday in the winter pantheon of holidays. It’s a day for romance, for intimacy, for passion. And I hate it with a passion. It isn’t that I don’t have someone with which to spend it. I’m pretty sure my husband is going to be home that night. But I won’t be. I’ll be at work, selling last-minute gifts to people who can’t decide what level their relationship is at. They will be stressed because they weren’t sure if they’re at the gift stage or if dinner will be enough. Or maybe they were busy all week and are panicking because this is the third place they’ve tried, they have 10 minutes to find something, anything that will correspond to the depths of their devotion, and they can’t remember if their partner even likes chocolate. And to them, my coworkers and I will be sniveling little peons lording their procrastination over them. Which we would definitely wait until they left the shop to do.
It’s funny how singles seem to be the unhappiest on this holiday. Maybe not laugh-out-loud funny, but a little strange considering the type of hell couples go through. There is the uncertainty of the gift buying, a trial that can make or break a relationship. Here’s a tip: unless your partner is allergic, chocolate is the best standby. Then there is the date itself that is stressful. Do you go out or stay in? How fancy should the restaurant be? What kind of food? What about reservations? Should you see a movie? Does it have to be a romance? And then what? Is this going to be the night? Is your relationship going to progress to ‘the next level’ because of some arbitrary day of romantic obligation? And where is this relationship going, anyway? Are you together because of love, or is it the fear of being alone on a holiday keeping you on speaking terms?
We were conditioned as children to celebrate this day, cutting out paper hearts and making certain that we have enough cheesy valentines for everyone in the class. We had to make one for that kid who pushed on the playground and the other kid who made fun of our new shoes and the weird kid who always had snot in his nose, all because no one was allowed to be left out. How long did it take before you realized that gestures of love made to everyone regardless of actual feelings are empty gestures? Then as adults, we play the same game. I’m giving you flowers, a teddy bear, and a box of chocolates because the TV told me I was supposed to. And if you aren’t in a relationship, you should be depressed. You should stay home, bingeing on a heart-shaped box of chocolates because you aren’t putting someone in debt for a fake holiday. It is interesting that people celebrating and mourning the same day are compelled to buy the exact same merchandise to achieve this end. It’s almost as if it doesn’t matter why you bought the shamelessly commercialized crap, so long as you do buy it.
When greeting card companies dictate when we display our affection, everybody loses, people. I will not be celebrating or mourning this Friday. My husband is getting me a truffle from the candy shop in Colonial Williamsburg, and not because a Catholic saint was brutally murdered a few hundred years ago. I asked for one because holidays seem to give people the right to treat service industry workers like dirt and I deserve something for not killing anyone by the end of this week. And my husband lurves that about me.