I purposely chose to write this commentary after Valentine’s Day, lest it dampen the spirit of some enthusiasts.
Forgive me for not being commercially romantic, but I resist allowing a day designated on a calendar to dictate my romantic and/or spending habits. But it doesn’t mean that I’m in any way a misogynist or a misandrist.
Valentine’s Day is a tradition brimming with the zealousness of love, sex and chocolate, and an entire day sequestered to display affection, whether by delectable sweets, plush teddy bears or fragrant flowers.
Just as toy makers get excited about the approaching of Christmas, candy makers and florists bubble over Valentine’s Day. Jewelers also get in on the frenzy of consumers showing their love through their wallets.
Systematic annual gifts are often devoid of any expression of true love, and I stand firmly on the fact that lovers have all year to demonstrate their love to the subject of their affection by sharing quality time, constantly treating them with respect and honor and by avoiding counterproductive acts of love, which comes in many forms, such as physical and/or mental abuse. If you are a genuine L-O-V-E-R then you don’t H-O-V-E-R where love and affection is concerned, you display it everyday, in any and every way.
Often, when these commercially induced pre-designated annual “love” days come around, many people are following this routine out of the guilt of wrong doings. I guess that at least 50% of the women who are physically abused by the ‘special men’ in their lives received flowers and candy this past Valentine’s Day. And it’s highly likely that nearly all of those women were flattered and expressed their love in some physical or financial way.
Society has transformed the meaning of Valentine’s Day from its original context. As legend goes, Valentine was a priest who served during the 3rd Century in Rome. During the reign of Emperor Claudius II, it was decided that single men made superior soldiers compared to those whom had wives and families. The emperor then outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death, making him a martyr for his cause.
Valentine’s Day was not meant to be a day for the lavish display of gifts on your significant other, it was meant to be a celebration of St. Valentine’s bravery and his defiance of the emperor. However, as time changed, society has made it just that, a day of lust and passionate declaration of love.
From the celebration of our special someone and the gifts we give him or her, to the businesses that take advantage of society’s need to lavishly celebrate this changed tradition, Valentine’s Day has again morphed into a duplicitous scheme for corporations to exponentially inflate revenue.
It has become a battle against the large corporations to maintain a humble tradition of recognizing your love and infatuation of another.
Besides the point of Valentine’s Day being a time that allows our innate appetite for closer contact to be released, it is an overly exaggerated event that provides for the successful profiteering of businesses. Those choosing to participate in the holiday at an excessive level are anticipated to spend anywhere from $17 to $19 billion on candy, flowers, jewelry, wines and a night out.
How ridiculous! It would appear that this day is no longer a modest custom, but an event with the obligation to participate. We can thank the vicious cycle of greed for that falsified desire to spend money on this “day of love.”
Organizations that are always looking out to make a million or two will do nearly anything to get you to open your wallet, be it the appealing discounts and deals, or the constant banter of “give your someone something special this Valentine’s Day.”
Ask yourself the question: where was this special someone all the time? Surely, she or he did not appear like the genie when Aladdin rubbed the lamp, hence, no reminder needed.
Flowers wilt and chocolate melts, so why treat February 14 as any other day than what it is. I can think of more than one reason not to celebrate this holiday, at least not to the extreme that it is today. After all, this holiday started out as nothing more than a feast to recognize St. Valentine’s martyrdom, so along with birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas, why make another day that requires the superfluous spending of money?
There are more than enough ways on this one day to dote upon your loved one without conforming to the societal decisions that jewelry, chocolate and roses need to signify your love. If you are to participate in this celebration, money doesn’t need to be spent in order to win the affections of your special someone. It’s the thought that counts, right? I mean money sure isn’t everything, or even the answer to love.
There are various opportunities and cheaper ways to appreciate your significant other; spending time with your loved one, and not with money, would be a great, simple and passionate way to express your feelings for your special someone on Valentine’s Day.
As Henry Miller, the famed American writer, once stated, “the only thing we never get enough of is love, and the only thing we never give enough of is love.”
Words well spoken and straight to the truth of the matter. So let’s give love any day, everyday, anyway, who knows, Valentine will eventually go away.
Aleuta—The struggle continues.