Is Valentine’s Day a corporate, consumerist holiday?

0

YES

Valentine’s Day is the most redundant holiday that has ever been birthed by the thoughts of Man. It is just another day of the year when we are brainwashed into shelling out to the corporate machines that are Clintons and Thorntons if you’re loved up. For those who, like myself, are too intimidatingly gorgeous and charming not to “play the field,” it is just a black mark on the calendar. Why are people bothered so much by this holiday? We singletons clearly don’t care, it just makes us depressed, bitter and very often embarrassed and resentful of our spoken-for friends. Half of those who are in a relationship (unless in the honeymoon phase) can’t be bothered and only argue when our so-called ‘baes’ forget to buy us our Michael Kors watch. Everybody secretly hates Valentine’s Day, there is no denying this. Yet here we are, all buying into the corporate scam.

Think about it: couples use the day as an excuse to treat their significant other. They indulge in chocolate covered fruits, Pandora rings, hopefully-not-last-minute-dinner-reservations and loud sex in halls that make the next day awkward for all flatmates without earplugs. It is those in this bracket who fight for Valentine’s corner, citing it as an important event in the year for recognising the true love shared with them to make up for the other 364 days of the year battling with passive aggressive texts. The love birds believe this holiday brings true validation to otherwise doomed relationships because the idea of showing your partner any form of affection throughout the year is, of course, purely obscene.

Then there are the singletons who choose another path on their yearly Valentine’s ordeal. We haters can decide to spend the day inside a bubble of our own sexually frustrated rage. Tinder downloads skyrocket, and those involved swipes right to all matches in order not to be beaten by the crippling truth that dooms all spinsters: to die alone with a handful of feline friends for company. This results in poor life choices and more people we need to avoid in Tesco when we need to buy milk.

Others have a date on their own with a bottle of Lambrini, a tub of the two men we can all make love to – Ben and Jerry – and a bath full of their own salty, desperate tears. This is usually accompanied by Bridget Jones. For these people, Valentine’s Day is a constant reminder of how we are doomed to live on the shelf only to gather dust and cry on Twitter about our chronic loneliness. Worse yet, we choose to call our ex-partners at unsociable hours and end up with restraining orders. Basically, if you are single, Valentine’s Day will ruin your life.

Some of us singletons share our pain in groups. Some decide to get dressed-up, guttered on several shots of Sourz finest and hit the Lizard to find an amorous distraction for however long it takes to dull the loneliness, another reason we make the three mile trip to Morrisons because seeing them in Tesco on a Sunday evening would be terrifying.

Conversely, other groups of milder lonesome friends will have “Mate Dates” to convince each other that the power of friendship can overcome the cripplingly cold side of the double bed. Single people generally like to share each other’s company on Valentine’s Day because sharing the burden of the pain of spinsterhood is a softened blow when you know your best friend is uglier than you and is also going to die alone. Oh wait, they managed to bag a date with that guy you liked from the tennis social and you are once again sitting in on your own with the bottle and 10 Things I Hate About You. Isn’t Valentine’s Day just so wonderful?

If all the couples are going to throw their money down the drain I’m not missing out on the fun. I, too, will buy into the Valentine’s propaganda.

I will definitely make sure I get some glorious presents, a well prepared home cooked meal and maybe even a night of lovemaking with myself. After all, if you can’t love yourself, who can?

Devil'sAdvocate

NO

Valentine’s Day is just one of those holidays that you either love or hate. You either take the camp that Valentine’s Day is a corporate created holiday, made only to sell greetings cards or if you’re lucky enough to be with someone this time round, to celebrate your love to the world. Think of it what you will, but the fact that 14 February is universally recognised as being the day of love is something that we cannot ignore.

Valentine’s Day first became associated with the idea of love in the High Middle Ages but the tradition of Valentine’s Day greeting cards didn’t become popular until the Victorian era where mass-produced cards were first created. According to the Greeting Card Association, this tradition has caused Valentine’s Day to be the second biggest card-sending holiday of the year with one billion cards sent or bought each year, only beaten by Christmas. So for those cynics amongst you, yes, you win this side of the argument. Valentine’s Day does create an enormous amount of revenue for greetings cards companies as a pick-me-up from the Christmas period before Easter rolls around. But what about what’s inside those cards?

However, there are some universal advantages to Valentine’s Day. For those lucky to spend it with a significant other, Valentine’s is one of the only days where you can really go all out to express your love for that person without seeming creepy or clingy. With flowers and chocolate being integral parts of the day, CNN reports that 224 million red roses are grown exclusively for Valentine’s Day with a further $1.6 billion being spent on sweets. That’s a lot of chocolate. It is important to note that many of us in long term relationships may even be expecting a proposal, a full six million of us. You can sing to the heavens about your love for someone and no one can stop you – you have the all-access pass that comes with 14 February.

In recent years, there has been an understandable rise in the anti-Valentine’s sentiment. Whilst in men this normally manifests as not wanting to deal with the romance and potential cost of the holiday, in women this feeling is much more centred around spending that time with girlfriends, dubbing it “Galentine’s Day”. On that day I was awoken with a red rose by one friend, a paper cut-out of Ryan Gosling with a card pinned to him from another and then brunch and movie sleepover complete with facemasks and chocolates rounded off a perfect day of platonic, friendly love. We had an incredible day appreciating each other in ways that we normally don’t, and went all out because we had a right to – this was our Valentine’s Day too.

In this busy and hectic world of ours, we all too often are at the hands of our schedules and forget to pamper and spoil ourselves, so Valentine’s Day could be the time to take the time and reappropriate the holiday and have some downtime with yourself. If any of you have Yik Yak you’ll know how this notion became more and more apparent in the week leading up to Valentine’s Day, with many yakkers claiming to have set themselves up with a bottle of wine, a box of chocolates and a marathon of Netflix. To be honest, that sounds better than putting on a complicated set of lingerie and dressing up. Maybe our Valentines should be our sweatpants.

Whilst Hallmark and Clintons are making a lot of money from this ‘holiday,’ we should be taking the anti-Valentine’s sentiment and throwing it in the face of the corporations. Spend it with your significant other with a lovely meal, or friends with a round of drinks at Beacon Bar, or stay in and treat yourself. Either way it’s a celebration of love, couple or otherwise, and in this dreary, violent world, why should we be shunning that?

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