‘Some of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received were given to me by sociopathic crybabies ...’ Photograph: Christian Bruna/EPA
It is that time of year again! Nestled between our day of solemn recognition of the fortune-telling wisdom of groundhogs and the observance of the death of Jesus and his resurrection in the form of an enormous gift-giving bunny, we have the punching bag of holidays: Valentine’s Day.
It is something of a national pastime for many to spend the first few weeks of February bemoaning the very existence of this holiday that has the audacity to honor and celebrate love – but I am done hearing the same tired arguments against the holiday.
So I thought I would debunk them here, if only to give momentary pause to late-winter Scrooges.
‘It’s such a corporate holiday’
People who would otherwise not entertain conspiracy theories love to suggest that celebrating Valentine’s Day is succumbing to the will of evil corporate greeting card entities. In a world where you have your pick of Shell Oil and the Koch Brothers and Walmart, the real problem with the world is Hallmark Cards, Inc? They’re a family-owned company based in Missouri that also owns Crayola. That’s right, the people who bring countless hours of joy to children through the magical world of crayons are the true enemies of love.
Find a better hill to die on, friends.
‘It’s just another way for couples to rub their relationships in your face’
The idea that Valentine’s Day is a victory lap for the attached among us is a popular one, despite all logic to the contrary. There is probably not a single night of the year besides a couple’s anniversary that one is less likely to have a friend’s relationship put on garish display to gloat at single friends because the couple is probably out celebrating Valentine’s Day not thinking about those friends at all. This argument relies on a self-centered belief that others have relationships as acts of aggression against others, rather than as acts of care for their own personal needs and desires.
If seeing couples order off a fancy prix-fixe menu is that offensive to you, you can stay home for one night and return to civilization on the 15th.
‘It’s just another reason for my single friends to make me feel guilty about my relationship’
The flipside of the previous argument made by resentful singles is this line from the delusional and romantically attached. Those single friends who lament their lack of a partner or prospect around this holiday are unlikely to be doing so in an effort to make couples feel terrible but perhaps, I don’t know because they are the ones who actually feel terrible because loneliness is difficult to endure when you seek companionship.
A little empathy for them could go a long way in realizing that people are thinking about your relationship far less often than you think they are.
‘The real Saint Valentine would not have approved of this commercialization!’
Oh blessings be upon this day, a casual historian of third-century Christian saints has come before us! Do tell us more about what the saints were really like. Perhaps next you can tell a family of bright-eyed children that the real Saint Nicholas didn’t just give gifts to children, but that he resurrected the murdered ones that were killed for food by a butcher during a famine!
It is so good of you to remind us all that historical accuracy should always get in the way of symbolic reverence and giving myths space to evolve to reflect our cultural norms and social values.
‘Flowers and chocolate are such cliche gifts to show you care about someone’
Oh my God, a cliche gift, kill it with fire and throw it in the sea! The idea that everyone can and should give ultra-personalized and original gifts at this holiday indicates an expectation of abundant creativity and capital for everyone, regardless of whether it is their strong suit.
Some of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received were given to me by sociopathic crybabies because expertise in gift-giving does not translate directly as expertise at intuitive and loving partnership. There is infinitely more charm in the tale of an overworked suburban husband picking up grocery store roses at the last minute on Valentine’s Day than any twee story of a monogrammed leather satchel custom ordered from Etsy and delivered in crepe paper of the recipient’s favorite warm tones and garnished with the official flowers of their home state.
‘It’s such a hassle go out on the same night that everyone else is going out!’
It is my pleasure to inform reciters of this tired complaint that whoever told you that Valentine’s Day is a compulsory celebration were lying to you. This is America: voting isn’t even compulsory!