And other totally serious thoughts on rebranding Valentine’s Day
Let’s waste no time: Valentine’s Day is a capitalist, materialistic scheme that profits from shaming singles and reinforcing dying relationships with false hope. If you were under the impression that this was a day for grand romantic gestures and proving that love is just so great, then I envy your optimism and want to wrench from you like a succubus.
A very large point of V-Day is to put couples on a pedestal, but I don’t know if you’ve heard: it’s not embarrassing to be single! Hooray to everyone who is happily eating an entire carton of ice cream by themselves while doing exactly-what-they-want-to-do-all-the-time.
Meanwhile, there are couples who will spend 45 minutes arguing over which chain restaurant they want to bestow their presence to so they can leave a 10% tip. These are the people we’re meant to be worshipping.
Being single and happy is cool. Not to mention that the gross amount of money we spend on this holiday as a nation would only light the proverbial fire of love if you live in that Bruce Wayne-level tax bracket. The National Retail Federation reported that Americans spent $21.8 billion on the holiday last year.
That is an obscene amount of money. With that, you could buy 2.1 billion burritos (that’s like seven burritos per American). And I’m not even talking Taco Bell burritos, think Chipotle burritos with guacamole AND queso.
Subsequently, you could give every American living below the poverty line nearly $600, solve houselessness in America, financially back an organization to reform U.S. prisons or do literally anything except single-handedly keeping the heart-shaped candy box business alive.
Valentine’s Day feels like a fever dream. As a society, we seem to have collectively accepted that many trends of the past are a little out-of-touch with the world of today. At the same time we marvel at the Beanie Baby phase of the 80’s, giant bears that smell like bleach and were made halfway across the world under morally dubious circumstances are getting given out as gifts by straight white men with ‘J’ names. Is this real life?
How can we regularly travel to space and allow Mark Zuckerberg to create a Matrix-like universe in real time but we haven’t evolved enough to know that crappy wax chocolates and wintertime roses aren’t the height of human romance.
I just don’t think we need to give couples another excuse to publicly demonstrate how boring their relationships are. We’re still living in the middle of a pandemic where mental and emotional health are more like lofty goals than achievable realities. If you really need an excuse these days to show the person you’re in a relationship that you care about them, please for the love of God break up.
A great thing about this idea of getting rid of Valentine’s Day — a day all about sharing love — is the reminder that you can do that for free literally any time you want. Go ask your crush if you can give em’ a little kiss. Send your friend a stupid, endearing message. Flood those tip lines meant to catch teachers doing their job by teaching history with fake reports.
There are so many ways to show love every day of the year, and ways to do it without feeding billionaire gluttons their dinner.
Call me the Valentine’s Day Grinch, except only that part at the end where the presents are trashed and the townsfolk are singing and that sad dog is a little less sad. We should all be socially distant kumbaya-ing to the tune of a better holiday.
In the meantime show those you love that you care because you’re not a monster and don’t need a weird Hallmark-holiday excuse to do so.