Monday, February 13, 2006

Valentine's Day Rant*

Is Valentine's Day the most romantic day of the year or a purely commercial holiday, which only suckers fall for?

Being on the one hand a cynic by nature and on the other hand employed in one of the so-called industries that benefit directly from the commercial aspect of the holiday puts me in an odd position in that argument. (Rock(ME)Hard place? Not that bad, but close.) The couple-of-day rush at Valentine's Day pays my salary not just for a couple of days, but for a couple of weeks or more so I don't know where I, or the shop, would be without it, but of course I think it's asinine that so many people (almost all men) spend so much out of what amounts to a Pavlovian response to societal and (in the case of demanding, high maintenance women) interpersonal conditioning. Not only do I think it's asinine, I bitterly resent having to jump through hoops for these suckers who not only fall for the hype, but wait for the day of the hoax-holiday and expect my help in working some miracle in their romantic relationships.

That was my mental landscape last year as I put in 36 hours over the course of three days. I was arranging a dozen roses, which with balloons and delivery charges came to right around $100, when I wondered, really, what emotion would motivate someone to spend $100 frigging dollars on one day. I don't buy it as an expression of love--I think it's fear of the highest magnitude. There are two kinds of guys spending $100 on Valentine's flowers--one is living in fear of his woman (a condition commonly referred to as pussy-whipped, or just plain whipped for the faint-hearted among us) and one is guilt-ridden for his own failures the rest of the year. As with all sweeping generalizations, there are exceptions...I just haven't met any lately.

I don't have much faith in the grand gestures--they are hollow and pointless in unhealthy relationships and wholly unnecessary lily-gilding in good relationships.

I hate, too, the dismal lack of creativity and individuality we see on this holiday. A dozen roses is the grand gesture of grand gestures, widely understood to speak of commitment and depth of emotion. It's so arbitrary and, ultimately, meaningless because it pushes the same buttons, at least theoretically, for every couple everywhere. It's not personal in any way--I just don't get it at all. Clearly, there are a lot of men and women who do get it (women who have tantrums when they don't get it, in fact), but I just don't understand why. How can a cliche move anyone?

That having been said, I'm off to arrange about a million roses.

*With thanks (or blame) to Just Me, whose post in part inspired this rant.


  1. ITA. I tell my husband I'll be furious if he ever spends $100 on some roses that he could get for $20 the week before or after....

  2. Amen Sister, call me un-womanly, but I really do not see the need for Valentine's Day. If you need a "day" to express your love for your significant other, (why you only need a DAY I have no clue) use your anniversary, you are then not sharing the day with EVERYONE else.

  3. My husband sent me a dozen roses to work a few years ago and I thought it was a wonderful gesture until I noticed the bank statement and how much they cost. I told him from then on to just buy me some chocolate.

    I think this year though, I am going to start a new family your Valentine's gifts the day after when the box of chocolate is 50% off!!! Which means more chocolate for the same amount of money which is still a far cheaper than a dozen delivered roses.

  4. it's for suckers. I'd love to have one day a year where you're required to be romantic, but it would seem insincere if that's the ONLY time it's displayed.

    so there you have it.


  5. MM, your lack of posting is starting to impede my lurking! Damn it woman, I need new material!