Thursday, February 13, 2003

Pre-Valentine's Day Rant -- Sorry

Tomorrow just happens to be February 14th, so I should probably just get my Valentine’s Day thoughts out there right now. It is interesting in that I never really know what I actually think of this day. There are so many contrary thoughts that come to mind when people ask me, “What do you think of Valentine’s Day?” Oddly enough, what I think is usually dependant upon my relationship status. Ask me while I’m single what I think about Valentine’s Day and you would no doubt get an answer something like the following:

Valentine’s Day is nothing more than a manufactured holiday made up by Hershey’s and Hallmark to cash in on the love that couples share. Valentine’s Day was not started on the premise that you were supposed to do something for a significant other—it was merely a day to show that you care about the people around you. Hershey’s and Hallmark (and related companies) figured that they could use this to make a lot of money. In order to do that, they slowly introduced into society a stigma that if you didn’t do something special for your significant other or buy them something nice, you were not a normal person on that day and that you don’t love your significant other.

Buying gifts has now become a social construct that has been built into our society for no other reason than candy, flower, and card company’s greed. By doing this, they not only introduce unwanted and unneeded pressures to most American males, but they make it a gradual increasing of expectations from year to year. If you really love someone, that love should grow the longer you are together, and the longer that you are together the more you should outdo the year’s previous Valentine’s Day events and gifts. Why would you do that? To show that you love that person more. You have to keep buying more and more to live up to the growing expectations. If you buy your girlfriend or wife a dozen roses and take her to an elegant restaurant one year, the next you won’t be able to get away with buying her one carnation and taking her to Taco Bell. No, you’ve built up the expectations. You need to buy more. Spend more money.

Besides putting pressure on males in couples, this day creates a sense of alienation. Everyone not in a relationship or going on a date seems to be ostracized by all of the “normal” people who are part of a couple. This is only breeding feelings of inadequacy and making people question their viability as a mate to the other sex. This day does more than steal money from the wallets of American males; it steals confidence and self-esteem from those not conforming to the social norm.

Now that’s what I’d say if I was single, but right now I’m not, so how do I view Valentine’s Day? I’m definitely not anti-V-day, but I can never bring myself to be completely pro-V-day. I will never buy into what all the big companies tell me to buy and do—I prefer to try and be unique and make something or do something different than what everyone else will be doing. For instances this year I……oh wait, Kristin could read this……I better tell you later what I have in mind later, and then I’ll be able to tell you how it goes too.

I haven’t really responded to the question of what I think of valentine’s day, however, so I suppose I should do that so I don’t get an inbox full of questioning emails……never mind, that would be wishful thinking. Getting emails…HA! The only emails I get lately are the mass ones our school sends out. Anyways, I’m dodging the question. Valentine’s day can be a special day to do something with someone you love and I appreciate that it is built into the mind’s of Americans that even if you do show your significant other that you love him/her every other day of the year, this is one occasion where you can be all gushy, mushy, lovey-dovey, and sappy with the approval of everyone (well, almost everyone) around you. Because of that I don’t mind it. There, how’s that for an answer? Maybe I’ll feel different about it this weekend after the fact, but you’ll have to wait until then to see, now won’t you?

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