The fact of the matter is, no matter how hard you try to ignore it, or how many times you quote obscure 17th century poets in attempt to prove that you are “deeper than some made-up, Hallmark holiday” Valentine’s Day will catch up to you. I can practically guarantee this as a fact of life because there are millions of dollars resting on the likelihood that you are either giving or receiving a heart-shaped box of sub-prime chocolate on this one specific day of the year.
During the portion of February which is pre-the-14th, you will not be able to walk into the pharmacy for a Dr. Pepper without having your eyes rudely assaulted by a sea of red. All the while, balloon strings hanging from above reach down and playfully swat you in the face, as if to say “ah, I’ll be seeing you again at 2 A.M. on Valentines morning you procrastinating, unimaginative sucker.” You will not be able to turn on the television without Jared, The “Galleria” of Jewelry,(whatever a galleria is…) reminding you that no matter how much money you spend, she will likely still be disappointed. If that doesn’t get you in the loving spirit, Kay is happy to remind you in true Sesame Street fashion that, kiss starts with k. Thank you, giant corporation that capitalizes off of the human desire to feel loved, for reminding us that if we do not purchase shiny things from your store, women will not procreate with us, ultimately leading to the destruction of human civilization as we know it.
On Valentine’s Day your total identity is wrapped up in one of two possibilities. You are either single or you are in a relationship, (yes, those are the only two possibilities, if “it’s complicated” then you’re probably single.) Being single on this day is by far the safer bet. If you are single, you can go to a bar and feel sad or defiant or happy or whatever it is you want people to think you are feeling, or you can stay home, watch The Notebook and cry. Oh, you can do your best to ignore that Valentine’s Day is taking place, but you will never forget that it’s out there. There is a giant sloppy love-fest happening all around you and you aren’t a part of it. It bothers you, a little, a very little, but it’s there.
For those of us embroiled in a relationship, the stakes are much higher. All the pre-valentine’s hoopla builds and builds until the big day finally arrives, often leaving many fantasies unfilled and many expectations unmet. He was secretly hoping she would lift her unreasonable ban on ménage trois for the night; but he would have settled for a good bj. Instead, she booked a couple’s massage for the two of them, which he would have enjoyed more if it wasn’t for the half-a-boner he acquired on his drive back from work thinking about the possibilities that could be waiting for him at home. He will thank her and really be grateful for the massage, but now he can’t get his mind off of breasts and he is likely to visit Jasmine for a lap dance at some point over the weekend.
She secretly longs for a midnight tryst among the sand dunes complete with her favorite champagne and a plane which will fly overhead and skywrite his love to her among the stars; she would settle for those diamond earrings that she has been hinting about for weeks. Unfortunately he has been swamped at work and only had time to send her whichever bouquet was 29.95 and a sweet note. By the time he gets home, she has had hours to hear about the amazing necklace that her best friend got and suddenly, his gesture, which she would consider sweet on any other day, is now not big enough or grand enough and her feelings are hurt. She probably won’t say anything, but he will be made acutely aware after several days or weeks within which vagina is noticeably absent around his house, that he has failed to meet her expectations and has been whipped by a day named after some old saint dude.
The way I see it, there are two options which could render a solution to this mess we have all gotten ourselves into. The way it is now, we all have pretend to be suddenly overcome with amour for our partner on some arbitrary day smack dab in the middle of February. This just isn’t practical. Option #1 no one goes on a first date, gets engaged, married, has a baby, makes a best friend or does anything that is relationally significant if it isn’t February 14th, thereby rendering this holiday personally significant for almost everyone. Option #2: we simply change the name of the confounded thing. Personally, I am a fan of this option. I vote we call February the 14th, “I’m Entitled; so This Better be Good or Else” Day. Beautiful, now we can call a spade a spade and move on with our lives.