It’s another Valentine’s Day. It’s a day full of red heart emojis and pictures of people taking selfies either by themselves or with loved ones. If it was up to me (being the contrary person that I am) I would refuse to acknowledge this day! This is just another symbol of a fake society. People rushing into stores to buy cards, candies and other pointless gifts to “show” some amount of affection towards another person. From my observations, in most cases, most of this is done by a man for a woman. As I pondered today however, I’ve experienced a change of heart.
Before I express why, let’s first divide into why I despise this so called “holiday.” As with most American holidays, this one has old Catholic roots dating back to the 3rd century in Rome. Historians argue whether St. Valentine or Valentinus started the concept, but thats not really important. What’s important is the debate on whether Valentine’s Day was created to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial, or the idea that the Catholic church created it to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to the Roman god of agriculture Faunus.
“ The Priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. It was believed to make them [Roman women] more fertile in the coming year. ”
It wasn’t until the middle ages did you see the change in customs, and for this day to be associated with love. Starting back the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced Valentine’s Day greeting cards in America. This was the start of a mass commercialization trend that companies adapted and began practicing for years to come. As soon as a holiday is formed, there’s always some joker out there waiting to seize an opportunity to sell you some shit.
So obliviously, none of these points sit well with me. I’m not a fan of most American (pagan inspired) holidays, nor am I a fan of commercialized gift exchanges. So why did I find myself in the middle of a Walgreens store shopping for a Valentine’s Day card? I’ll touch on that in a moment.
I guess I can consider myself lucky since I have always managed to end relationships (or get dumped) around this time of year. This year is different. I managed to find a girl that is willing to put up with my craziness for longer than 6 months.
I assume for women in relationships, this day is special. They get to feel special. Society tells men to shower them with gifts and roses. Unfortunately, due to American customs, guys don’t typically share in this “special” feeling. For us, this is more of an obligation.
As stated in a University of Illinois study on the Association for Consumer Research website:
“ A second prevalent theme identified obligation as a primary purpose of Valentine’s Day. Respondents also indicated the important role often played by the expectations of a romantic partner:
Ex: Truthfully it has almost gotten to the point of obligation rather than a true expression of one’s feelings. Why only give gifts on Valentine’s Day?
Ex: Primarily because people feel obligated. The holiday has been blown up so big that it is expected for not only significant others but family, friends, etc.
Ex: Because your significant other will get pissed off if you don’t. That is the honest truth.
Ex: To show people you care about them and to keep them from being disappointed.”
These guys hit it right on the money. I can sit here all day on my computer talking about what I don’t believe in. I can talk all day about what I’m not going to do, but at the end of the day, women run the world. Doing nothing on this day or the following weekend, will result in disaster and desolation. I can do a bunch of sweet things throughout the year, but best believe, one of those days needs to be today.
It helps to be single around this time, but in the back of your mind, there’s always this nagging feeling of wanting to be next to someone. It’s like we are pre-programed to be partnered and feel a little out of place when we aren’t. For those who want to fight me on that, explain why there’s always this urge to get a significant other? If that did not exist, there would be zero desire to entertain the idea of “going out” with anyone. Why would you? You are self-sufficient correct? One of my favorite lines in the world is, “I don’t need a man.” Right.
In all fairness, it would help tremendously if some women would lower their expectations of what this day is suppose to be about. Just because one girl’s boyfriend sends flowers at work, doesn’t mean that everyone should. It’s not a competition. Individuals should be free to make their own decisions based on their preferences and their partner’s preferences. This expression should be authentic to them. I believe that would help the obligation feelings that a lot of men express. Some women might also want to consider cutting down on the romantic movies. It’s giving folks waaaay too many ideas and beliefs. #NotReal #Lame.
So again, the question remains. How did I have a change of heart? Why did I buy a card at Walgreens and get reservations for dinner? Well, I just got older and wiser. SIKE !! The real reason was because my girlfriend wasn’t having it. It was at that moment when I realized that I’m a highly rational person, but some things in this world are not rooted in reason. Some things are based on emotion and feeling. This holiday is fake, but this does not take away from the collective emotional connection that separates this day from others. Although I don’t agree with this day (or many other holidays), I do feel that a simple acknowledgment isn’t much to ask for. Setting your own feelings aside for someone else’s feelings, can be considered to be one of the biggest signs of affection you can give to someone. Dinner doesn’t hurt either.
– The Struggle of Men