November 30, 2020

Wasted Valentine

Eva Connors is a senior journalism major and copy editor for The Journal

Love is in the air! Expensive, overpriced cheaply-made love.
You know what my favorite thing about Valentine’s Day is? The day after – chocolate is magically worth only half what it was just 24 hours beforehand because the packaging is no longer desirable, and there are 364 long, lovely days until the next Feb. 14.
I may sound like a bitter old coot, but I’m not. I’ve endured relationships through V-day before. I’ve been on the receiving end of chocolate and cards; I’ve even given out a few cards and heart-shaped boxes of chocolate in my time. My beef with the so-called “holiday” is just that — it’s not even a real holiday.
The Hallmark people are evil geniuses, taking every opportunity to capitalize on whatever holiday they can get their grubby little hands on. Christmas, Easter, Chanukah, New Year’s, St. Patrick’s Day, the Fourth of July, Halloween: If you name it, there are over-priced cards and balloons with the Hallmark seal readily available to the holiday consumers. Meaning be damned, where there’s a special occasion, Hallmark not only wants in, but total control. No holiday? No problem! Just make one up.
It all starts in grade school. Think back to first grade: the beginning of February meant going to the store with your parents to pick out the coolest, fanciest, no doubt most expensive little Disney-themed cards. Bonus points if you taped candy to yours. Little kids, with their 2-day “relationships” and their “Do you like me? Circle yes or no” notes have absolutely no reason to celebrate a “holiday” supposedly dedicated to love. Indoctrinate them when they’re young and they’ll be sucked in for life.
If I haven’t mentioned in previous rants, I work at Walgreens. For the past six or so weeks I’ve had to answer the same question again and again from customers – “That card cost HOW much?” At least one person a day declares they’re in the wrong business, and should get into selling cards. Even so, customer after customer will fork over the $7.69 + tax for that perfectly-worded, perfectly-unoriginal profession of love.
What gets me, though, is that nobody seems to enjoy it. Valentine’s Day seems to be more of a chore than any kind of joyous occasion. How many people stress out about gifts because their significant other will be angry with them if the offering is less than satisfactory? What does it say about someone’s feelings towards you if the only way to please them is to spend a day’s wages on dinner and flowers and gifts for no other reason than everybody else is doing it that day?
Then there’s the pressure of who to buy for, and how much? Is it acceptable to buy a $20 stuffed dog that says “I Love You” for your girlfriend of three weeks? Do you actually need to give your neighbor a box of chocolates? What happens when somebody gives you something and you don’t have anything to return the favor? So many questions, so not worth the hassle.
Look: It’s a nice sentiment. If you’re dead-set on participating, that’s fine. Just get creative with it — make your own cards, bake cookies, knit a scarf, set a building on fire. Do something that will be special to your sweetheart, something that screams you and not the 47,000 people who bought the same things. I, however, refuse to participate.
If I want to spend money on my boyfriend and profess to him my feelings of affection, I’ll do so whenever I feel like it.

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