Don't ask me why, but I'm SO annoyed that Valentine's Day is this weekend. I just want it to go away. I tried singing "Valentine's Day Go Away" to the tune of Rain, Rain Go Away but obviously the meter was off. So, here's what I'm thinking...
A. If my hubby decides to spontaneously bring me flowers or chocolates or take me out to dinner on any random day, I am charmed at his romantic gesture and think, "He loves me! He REALLY loves me!" If he feels pressured into forking over hard earned cash on marked up flowers because the calendar says that it's the day when all people are supposed to write their paychecks over to Hershey's and Hallmark? Not so romantic.
B. I have 4 kids. Which means that there are 4 class parties involving purchasing & addressing cards & candy for their peers & teachers and sending in treats so that they can eat themselves into a sugar high meets belly ache right before riding the school bus home to me just in time for their blood sugar levels to crash and the tantrums to ensue.
Plus, in the latest sign of our hard times, recent retail polls indicate Americans are going to spend less on Valentine's Day this year.
Say it ain't so.
In the middle of a soul-crushing recession, with dire economic news unleashed upon us every day, the bad news is that Americans are expected to shell out a mere $14.7 billion on romantic gifts this weekend.
Stop me if I sound stupid, but why are we spending one red cent on this so-called holiday -- especially right now? Believe me, there are better ways to share the love and smarter ways to spend your money.
Materialism run amok...
I have nothing against romance, love, sex, frilly red hearts or an excuse to eat chocolate (mmmm... CHOCOLATE...)
The problem is that Valentine's Day, like many other American occasions, has grown from being a celebration that once aspired to some meaning, to being a trashy, materialistic extravaganza.
Think about how much pressure there is to participate:
Every schoolchild, practically, is expected to make or send cards to their classmates or bring treats to class. I just spent $26.00 on stuff for my kids' class celebrations. My two older boys were like, "Uh- Mom? Do I really have to give even the boys in my class cards that say I love them? Isn't that sorta creepy?" Luckily, I found snack size Snickers bars that just say To: & From: in lieu of the usual sappy, cutesy variety. You can't go wrong with a Snickers bar. They say, "I love you as a friend, Man." more than "Be mine.", you know?
Some single women feel so left out on Valentine's Day that they've been known to send flowers to themselves, so they won't look like losers. As if the absence of a bouquet or the baggage of a significant other should really tattoo "LOSER" on your forehead. How sad is that?
And don't assume couples are happier: For many, Valentine's Day is a yearly excuse to have a nasty fight, with partners feeling unloved & neglected . . . because they didn't get a stuffed bear or some candy. Seriously?
It's equations like this that lead millions of consumers to spend $14.7 billion. While the economy is melting way faster than the polar ice caps...
A short history of a dumb day:
What makes this ritual even more puzzling is that Valentine's Day doesn't even have a good story (see: Christmas, Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July) or spooky ghosts and pumpkins. In fact, we don't even know the real story for sure.
Valentine's Day is simply put big business.
Basically, throughout the millennia, February was always a slow shopping month. Then, because a couple of early Christian martyrs (both named Valentine?) might have died for love, a holiday emerged.
I'm not making this up.
A priest secretly married lovers in defiance of a Roman emperor's decree and supposedly was executed for it.
Another man, as legend has it, was rejected by his mistress, and -- you'll like this -- he carved out his own heart and gave it to her. Yech.
Somehow, about 1,700 years later, we're stuck spending gobs of money on predetermined displays of "romance."
So, here's what I'm thinking: if it's really the romance that you're looking for, give each other massages. It's free. Or you could always buy a pint of whipping cream for two dollars. I doubt I need to elaborate further. Take care of a chore that your loved one doesn't love doing for them so that they don't have to. Take the time to really have a conversation with each other. Curl up on the couch and watch a movie together. Make a concious effort to incorporate romance and gestures of affection into your every day life 365 days a year and don't stress out about making a commercialized, hyped up "holiday" into an unrealistic one day event full of too high expectations and flowers that die right about the time that you get the credit card bill for them.
And if you really need further inspiration: