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Valentine's Day: Coping with the absurdity of mandatory love

plastic love
plastic love
Derk Dicke

Is there anything even remotely romantic about Valentine's Day? Where does it come from to begin with? Is Cupid really Santa Claus wearing a different costume? Armed with paper heart arrows instead of toy bags? Or is the former something a bit more sinister; another silly folklore figure sponsored by the powers of spending when many Americans may be better off saving the average cost of $300. But should one feel compelled – peer pressured – into expressing their love in such a manner?

Dining at expensive restaurants, exchanging costly gifts. Enough flowers delivered to recolor the dry side of Eden.

For some it is just the swipe of a card. But for most it is not so simple, especially in today’s economy.

On the other hand, it may not be worth the stress of taking a stand against Valentine's Day this year, here in the beginning of this new year when one may not have the strength to boycott this day of paper hearts and plastic angels. However, there are always methods of compromise. A candlelight dinner at home is usually much more romantic than dining in a restaurant, and is of course much less expensive; but it is not just the money one saves when preparing a meal or making a gift instead of purchasing one; or at the very least writing or expressing unique appreciation instead of simply signing a card of Hallmark clichés. Remember, when giving a gift the meaning and value are the sum of understanding the uniqueness of the one who receives it. A single rose offered unexpected in person – sacrificing a workday lunch break, for instance – may be better than twelve delivered. And maybe love should be honored every day of the year, instead of only one.

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