Fuelled by the billion-dollar capitalist market—Valentine’s Day is nothing but love sold on steroids. If you think about it, the origin of the day has nothing to do with romance or anything remotely heart-shaped (shocking, I know)at all—the 14th of February was picked as the day to honour the martyrdom of Saint Valentine. Something got lost in translation, so here we are, painting the town red and pink on this commercialised to the nines holiday.
What’s Love Got To Do With This
The idea that love has to be celebrated on a designated day is a little immature for me. The optimists will come for me and might even label me as the Grim Reaper of joy but… putting relentless pressure on Valentine’s Day, creating a larger-than-life notion of love sets you up for some real disappointment. Movies and shows make you believe that even if on the other 364 days no one has professed their love for you; there’s a possibility that on Valentine’s Day, someone will chase you to the airport, serenade you with a boombox or climb up your fire exit to make an epic confession. Grand gestures are aspirational, and most of the time very far off from reality. Life doesn’t have climatic interjections like movies—people don’t resolve issues by kissing and making up with a dozen of roses on Valentine’s Day. Real relationships sustain on honest conversations *cough confrontations cough*, everyday efforts, acknowledgement of each other’s love languages and mutual respect for boundaries.
Expectations Vs Reality
According to National Retail Federation, America alone is estimated to spend $23.9 billion on Valentine’s Day. Gone are the days it was just about cheap chocolates and hand-written letters—today, marketing agencies and PR firms go into overdrive for brands right in the middle of January. You cannot possibly pass by a road in a metropolitan without giant hoardings of couples entangled, trying to look in love or shop on websites without flashy red banners convincing you to buy a piece of jewellery, perfume or other expensive items for your partner. It doesn’t stop there, Valentine’s Day date night will burn a larger hole in your pocket than any other dining session throughout the year. No amounts of candle-lit pathways are worth disrupting your monthly balance sheet. Staying in, sharing a large pizza from your favourite local restaurant and drinking wine out of teacups is sometimes even more romantic—the best part? you can pass out on the couch while watching your favourite movie and call it a day.
Single And Not-So-Ready To Mingle
Sure, couples are the real target audience for the holiday—but why is every aspect of Valentine’s Day designed to rub love in the face of those who are minding their own business and being single. As a teenager, I found it endearing and hopeful—now as an adult, when the concept of love has changed and evolved for me, the emphasis on Valentine’s Day makes me nauseated. Even the well-meaning tokenistic self-love approach doesn’t make it better. No, I do not want to buy myself an over expensive box of chocolate while I watch, He’s Not That Into You instead of Eat Pray Love for the hundredth time. Also, dating app makers, no this isn’t your Super bowl season—stop spamming my ads because contrary to popular belief, finding a partner isn’t the sole purpose of my existence.
Is it even love if it’s this commercialised? My prime problem with everything about Valentine’s Day. Whatever happened to spontaneity, old-school romance and simplicity made all the iconic love sonnets what they are. After all, no one has ever written about love in context with an expensive sushi dinner or the fragrance of Chanel No. 5.