Valentine’s Day – A Social Mindf*ck

Like a broken heart, the nation splits into two pieces – the hopeless romantics/believers and the skeptical pessimists. I myself am leaning towards the latter, but I must admit, the hopeless romantic rears its ugly smug little head every now and then.

A lot of stereotypes come out to play on Valentine’s Day, and unlike the curly haired fat baby with wings and arrows, who happens to be the culprit behind it all, these stereotypes are anything but imaginary. Valentine’s Day is supposed to be a day dedicated to Romance – flowers, candy, jewelry and extra attention. It sounds good at first but once you start dissecting it, it really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

  1. The lack of a significant other causes people to behave a certain way on V-Day.

If you’re not currently in a relationship, then there’s the pressure of finding a date, or hoping that a date finds you. If you’re not successful in making either one of those happen, then you inevitably end up feeling bad. You might even send yourself flowers at the office so your coworkers don’t think you’re as pathetic as you actually are. Funny enough you’d seem less pathetic if you haven’t sent the flowers, because trust me, everybody in your office knows who those flowers are from no matter what the crafty card says. Either that or you’ll just spend the night alone on the couch with a pint of ice cream, a box of tissues and the ultimate chick flick marathon on your TV, as cliché as that sounds. Then you’ll cry yourself to sleep because “nobody loves you”. You’re alone 364 days out of the year, why is it that you choose Valentine’s Day to focus on the sadness behind your single life and start feeling bad for yourself? Why does one have to feel bad about being alone in the first place? Some of the best times I’ve had were spent by my lonesome self.

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  1. You are in a relationship and you think your V-Day problems are behind you.

Great, you’re one step closer to your Valentine’s Day not being a complete disaster because you don’t have to go searching for a date. At least that’s the general female mentality – “I’m in a relationship, thank god I won’t be alone”. A man would never have trouble finding a date on Valentine’s Day if he so desired; there are plenty of desperate women just sitting there waiting on the edge of their seat to be asked on a date. In fact it is when a man is in a relationship that he finds himself most stressed. There’s the pressure of finding a restaurant, and not just any restaurant but a good one, which implies that he has to book it way in advance. What man likes that kind of planning? He’ll book tickets for the super bowl half a year in advance, sure, but that’s that. He’s not stressed because he hopes to find the right place so he can eat some decent food either. He’s stressed because he knows that if he doesn’t do everything “right”, you’re not going to be pleased and that’s going to affect him negatively. And it’s not like all you winey, needy, delicate, little things are sitting there all relaxed because you know your man will take care of it all, no; you’re psyching yourself out because deep inside you know that somewhere somehow something will get screwed up. All this stress and for what; because the society told you that this is the day you have to celebrate Love? I’m sure you can find better, healthier, much more productive things to do with your day.

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  1. There’s the matter of the gifting procedures.

First off, I have to put it out there that I highly dislike the concept behind “having to” give a gift. A gift should be something meaningful and from the heart. If you’re faced with a “special occasion” during which you have to produce said gift, you’re most likely going to end up with something shitty to gift. Don’t get me wrong, some people are naturally great at gift giving and no matter what situation they’re placed in, time/money constraints or otherwise, they still miraculously come out on top with the best and most fitting gifts imaginable. Then there are others that somehow either never have the time to do the actual research or generally don’t have a clue about a person whom they’re shopping for, and therefore end up with something equivalent to that of an airport gift shop quality. I love buying gifts for my friends and in general people that I care about. Sometimes I think things through for a long time and end up with perfection; sometimes perfection lands right in front of me. I don’t need a special occasion to give the perfect gift, especially not when it presents itself to me on a regular Monday; I’d much rather give it just because. That’s why everything about gift giving procedures on “special” occasions, Valentine’s Day very much included, has me bent out of shape. You probably think I’m being unreasonable. What about Christmas and birthdays? Well, what about them? The only thing that’s unreasonable is the amount of money people spend on gifts that no one gives a shit about. They end up re-gifting them or just stashing everything in their basement. What’s the point? You might as well accompany those gifts with a card that says “I don’t care about you but I had to get you something so here’s this piece of shit that you will never use; don’t say I never got you anything” and then you pass the baton because they’ll inevitable do the very same thing with you and like the good socialites that you are, you’ll keep the cycle going. I firmly believe that no gift is better than a shitty gift. However, there is more to the whole Valentine’s Day Gifts debacle than the lack of meaning behind them. What really is unreasonable is how expensive everything is during that small time frame. They know that you’re a sucker and they’re going to maximize on your suckage with overly expensive gifts and extremely overpriced flowers. That’s right. You willingly chose to be a part of this social scheme, so deal with it.

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  1. Congratulations, you’ve made it to the restaurant.

It’s February 14th; for the sake of the article let’s pretend you were in fact a responsible adult and you booked your reservation ahead of time instead of waiting ‘til last minute. After waiting at the bar, 40 minutes past your original reservation time, your ass is finally in a chair at a small table with a candle in the middle and your date is across from you; a half bottle of champagne is chilling in the ice bucket beside you and the oysters are on their way. Sound familiar? Of course it does. That’s what happens every f*cking time with every f*cking couple or non-couple at every f*cking restaurant every f*cking Valentine’s Day. Why would it be any different? Wherever you go it’s guaranteed to be crowded. Whatever you’re in the mood for, your first course is almost guaranteed to be oysters because well duh, you want to stuff your date with as many aphrodisiacs as possible so they’ll put out later. Regardless of your normal choice of boozy liquid, you’ll be starting with champagne because not only do bubbles always equal celebration but also it’s considered to be the best pairing for the slimy appetizer that’s coming your way. No matter how “on-time” you show up for your reservation, you’re almost always going to have to wait at the bar because let’s face it, the couple that’s still sitting at the table that’s scheduled to be yours,  is shamelessly sucking face. You’d be surprised how few people give a f*ck about others when another person’s tongue is lodged in their throat; the fact that they’re in a public place doesn’t even begin to bother them.

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All of the above pretty much takes place unless something unorthodox happens, like a reservation at 5pm for example. This can mean a few things. Either they waited too long to make the reservation, and now they’re stuck with the earliest of reservations which isn’t exactly romantic, or either one of the following which quite frankly puts them ahead of the game in my book: 1) They are nothing short of early birds and it’s almost their bed time. 2) They want to go out to dinner but want to completely ignore the chaos of the outside world that comes with it. Either one of the last two forfeits the right to receive the “National Reject Behavior” award, as they are merely bystanders of an evil holiday known as Valentine’s Day.

  1. The success rate is at its low and it’s because of your expectations being too high.

Year in and year out you constantly say to yourself that this year it’ll be different; this year nothing will go wrong and it’ll all work out magically and it’ll be the best Valentine’s Day ever. Why?! Why are you putting so much pressure on this stupid day? It’s impossible to compete with the standards you continuously set for yourselves. Between the babysitters cancelling and the teenagers throwing parties as the parents are away, not to mention the dateless and the dating – it’s all just too much. If you subtract all the expectations of what Valentine’s Day – a celebration of love – is supposed to be, you might just end up in a very good place. You could be snuggled up on a couch, with or without a date; either way Chinese food is great company. You could bring “Netflix and Chill” to a whole new, non-creepy level! You could avoid being *that* couple out in public that everyone is disgusted to look at. You can do all that while skipping the traffic and all the waiting around, therefore completely skipping the possibility of any disappointment altogether.

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You don’t need a calendar to tell you whether or not you’re complete. Make your own rules. And if you happen to still be in desperate need of a date on Feb 14th, just make Life your Valentine. At least that way, it’s guaranteed to f*ck you.

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