(Photo Credits: Photo Pin)
Ahhhh, Valentine’s Day: the second most celebrated holiday in the entire world. A day in which people from Kansas to Kazakhstan, Brazil to Bahrain put aside their grievances and embrace life’s most treasured emotion: LOVE!
No? It doesn’t work that way? But this is absolutely not what a myriad of overwhelmingly saccharine television commercials would lead you to believe. Valentine’s Day can indeed be a day of joyous adoration but that does not mean it is immune to a few absolutely dreadful nuisances.
5. Homemade Valentine’s Crafts
The problem with the holidays is that it brings out the inner Martha Stewart in seemingly everyone, and now that we have social media sharing devices we are bombarded with countless images of delightful homemade decorations and treats. That, in and of itself, is not the problem; these days, homemade holiday items are no longer something to be shared with your loved ones. No, homemade holiday decor is a straight-up craft war to the death. We all know that person who posts an endless feed of knick-knacks made from household items, dripping with false humility, ‘Oh? These Valentine’s Day themed hubcaps? It was so easy, really. I was able to do it in a few hours with junk laying around the house. Nothing a blow torch and some glitter can’t handle!’
When I was young kid, we all brought in paper cut outs for Valentine’s Day: you know, the ones with the perforated edges that featured whatever cartoon characters were popular. But these days, there are simply too many moms and dads on a mission. Instead of sending their kids to school with simple and sweet Valentine’s cards that they and their child created and/or signed, they’re sending their kids off to school with a backpack full of homemade crafting torpedoes of lace and glitter and the most expensive papers. It would seem that the intent of these missives is not for the appreciation of your average first grader, but for that first grader to bring it home and let it subtly deliver the message, ‘Remember when you thought you were a good parent? Not so fast! I made little Susie’s Valentine’s out of organic, cruelty-free silk, fair-trade paper and 14K gold-flecked glitter. Of course your obviously rain-forest destroying, made in China, exploitative children’s character (little Susie didn’t understand the message because we don’t let her watch television) Valentine’s cards were…. interesting. Was that a nod to the irony of the day, or are you just a hobo?’
So, perfectionist crafting brigade, please, please just take it down a notch on Valentine’s Day. Don’t do it for me, do it for the children. The children!
4. The Fashion
While the winter holiday season provides us with endless ways in which to mock the fashion of the season, (ugly Christmas sweater party anyone?), Valentine’s Day doesn’t really offer the same opportunities. In fact, one can’t walk past the windows of a department store without seeing hordes of skimpy skirts and little left to the imagination lingerie. I am by no means a fashion prude, any photograph of me from the years of 2000-2007 will prove that theory, but Valentine’s Day just never seems to come at the right time for those revealing numbers. For most of us, Valentine’s Day falls during a chilly season across the United States, a mere six weeks after the over-indulgent holidays. I’m not even thinking about that summer bathing suit when the temperatures are -5, much less after consuming eight thousand pounds of chocolate since, oh New Year’s Eve, when the stores conspiratorially start putting out their Valentine’s Day faire.
Historians suggest that it wasn’t until Geoffrey Chaucer wrote his Parelement of Foules during the Middle Ages in honor of King Richard II’s engagement to Anne of Bohemia, did Valentine’s Day take on romantic associations. And have you seen Middle Ages styles? Totally forgiving. I don’t know why anyone hasn’t suggested that Valentine’s Day fashions reflect not a bare-all-skin mentality, but rather a nod to the styles popular during Chaucer’s time. Forget wasting $60 dollars on a piece of fabric that wouldn’t even fit around a teacup Chihuahua’s behind, and channel your inner Middle Ages maiden or squire! From what I hear, excess fabric was considered a sign of wealth during Chaucer’s time. So this Valentine’s Day, I suggest wrapping yourself in curtains, tablecloths, bed sheets, (the more the better), acquire a few very fake and very obnoxious gemstone rings (men, this goes for you, too) and meander around the mall laughing condescendingly at all the skimpily dressed mannequin peasants in the window.
3. The Onslaught of Happy Couples when your Other Half is Away
You can’t escape them, they’re everywhere: on your television, in your newsfeed, holding hands and play fighting in the dish detergent aisle at the grocery. (‘I love you more.’ ‘No I love you more! ‘This bottle of fabric softer, like, totally matches the blues in your eyes.’) They are the gooey, goopy couples and they have one mission: they’re going to massacre any chance you had at hiding from the saccharine holiday like some sort of amorous Zombie militia.
Most of the time, seeing happy couples milling about is wont to bring warmth and joy, but when your significant other is away on the day of love, it is likely to bring a few pangs of heartache. The worst part? You’re not safe in your own home, because social media is going to bring you an onslaught of Instagrams and Facebook status’ of roses, chocolates and sweeping posts of affection. Whether it’s a deployment, duty or even a long night at work, the military doesn’t exactly view Valentine’s Day as a national holiday, and thus has no problem keeping your spouse well beyond the time restaurant kitchens announce final call, (if you’re lucky enough to have your spouse home that night at all). Whenever this happens, and I find myself falling into the vicious pity cycle, I am reminded of every true crime story ever, ‘They were the perfect couple, until one day, Shelly snapped…” And then I casually pass by the couple play arguing about the fabric softener and suggest something a little stronger, like bleach. ‘It’s magnificent at removing blood stains,’ I will tell them. ‘Trust me,’ I will tell them. And then I will wink as I select a pair of rubber gloves on my way to the frozen pizza section.
2. Recent Valentine’s Day Movies
Studios trying to make romance movies for a Valentine’s Day release should just stop. Stop making them, stop marketing them on Valentine’s Day, just stop. Why? Because, ‘Sleepless in Seattle,’ ‘An Affair to Remember,’ ‘The Notebook,’ and ‘Love Actually,’ have already been made and there’s really no way to top these classic romance films in the future. Really. Valentine’s day romcoms have, of late, all followed the same format and it’s grown increasingly trite. Instead, I propose movie theatres just show these four films on Valentine’s Day, over and over and over again. And then the rest of us won’t be subjected to a hundred films in which the gorgeous female lead with the high powered job and genius IQ just can’t seem to get a man BECAUSE SHE HAS GLASSES. Never again will we have to watch the lead female be oblivious that the guy working in her office, who is played by Ryan Gosling, totally has a crush on her. Said female lead putters around chasing unavailable men and crying on Ryan’s shoulder until the very last moment when she realizes that Ryan Gosling is her soul mate! That’s just not realistic. Because, let’s be honest, if I were the single female lead and Ryan Gosling worked at the cubical next to me, he wouldn’t have to waste five minutes listening to me crying over other men, because I would lock that man down. Immediately. Don’t believe me? Just ask Allie Hamilton. Not even a war or snobby parents could ultimately keep her away from the Gosling. So, as every movie studio tries to sell you on a new Valentine’s Day movie and you just can’t bear it anymore? Go with the classics.
1. People who really hate Valentine’s Day
Let’s be frank, Valentine’s Day is JUST one day, one day among 364 others. While I understand that it’s a day in which being bitter might be the emotion of choice for some, there’s something off-putting about those that seriously hate Valentine’s Day. Even though we all dislike certain aspects of Valentine’s Day, these provide the best opportunities not to dwell in our bitterness, but instead find the humor and glee. After all, do my Italian friends make a point to boycott St. Patrick’s Day because they’re not Irish? Heck no! In fact, most people revel in St. Patrick’s Day, Irish or not, with the mantra, ‘If you can’t beat them, join them!’ (Or, ‘If you can’t beat them, drink!)
In the grand scheme of things, it’s a rather inoffensive holiday marketed mostly by the card/media/restaurant industry. So often, we narrow focus on the day as a couple’s holiday, but this year, let us follow a more broad perspective of Valentine’s Day. It is not a day for fancy chocolates, expensive roses, crowded dinner tables and impossible to find babysitters, it is instead, a day to express your love: love for parents, for friends, brothers, sisters, for children, pets… In that way, we really can’t hate Valentine’s Day too much.