Who likes Valentine’s Day? As in, who actually, honestly, enjoys it? Unless you’re a character in a Richard Curtis film, or a popular girl in an American high school, how can you summon up anything other than disdain for the commercialised celebration of the world’s soppiest saint?
Valentine’s Day is good for no one. Here are some of the people who get absolutely shafted by this orgy of consumerism, wrapped up in a pretty red bow.
Everyone thinks that V Day is hardest for people who don’t have a romantic partner. There is some truth to this. I can tell you, from experience, that there’s nothing more depressing than receiving a single card on February 14th and discovering it is, in fact, from your well-meaning but incredibly moronic mother.
Which self-respecting young person would be pleased with a Valentine’s card from their mum? Apart from maybe a teenage Oedipus? That lovely maternal cretin genuinely thought a packet of Percy Pigs, a heart-shaped card, and the reminder of her unconditional love would distract me from having no one to shag on Valentine’s Day. Well, mum, it didn’t. It just compounded my feelings of loneliness, mum. Please reserve all future gestures of kindness for your less embittered children, mum.
2. ‘Not quite’ couples
Valentine’s Day isn’t just hard for singletons. Think of all the poor ‘are we or aren’t we’ couples, who are yet to have ‘the conversation’. They’ve had to tip-toe around each other’s plans this week. Imagine all the texts that will have been sent, saying things like, “Soooo…what are your plans on thurs? Was thinking maybe dinner? Obvs no worries if you’re busy.” These message senders – soldiers who’ve waded out into no-man’s land – will be rewarded for their bravery with an agonisingly ambiguous reply. “Not sure about thurs, might have to work late. Will let you know!”
This will-we-won’t-we dance is anxiety-inducing at the best of times, but around Valentine’s Day it can send a usually calm and rational person into paroxysms of regret and insecurity. We should not be forced to confront our partners’ commitment-phobia. We should be allowed to ignore it, like a persistent bout of thrush, and hope it just fades over time.
3. New couples
The first Valentine’s Day of your relationship is always an exposing moment for a new couple. I once made my boyfriend an amorous mug, painted at one of those slightly eerie pottery places. As the big day approached, he revealed that he thought the whole occasion was a capitalist farce. Scared that I might look like a basic, greedy, western, lovelorn fool, I hid the mug and gave it to him several months later. I couldn’t believe I’d been hoodwinked into funding the probably seriously corrupt pottery painting industry.
4. Old couples
If you’ve been with your partner for more than a few years, and you’re not an Ebenezer Scrooge type, you’ll probably have bought them a fair few presents. Every year contains a birthday, a Christmas and an anniversary. Unless your other half takes up a brand new hobby in year three, you’ll be stuck in the unfortunate position of having used up all your cute, personal present ideas after about two rounds of celebrating their birthday, Jesus’s birthday, and the annual commemoration of your first shag. So, when Valentine’s Day eventually comes around, you’ll be broke, exhausted, and creatively bankrupt. You could always just go for the classic – flowers or chocs – but as most people are going out with hay fever riddled vegans these days, one is compelled to think outside the chocolate box.
So, there you have it. Valentine’s Day makes everyone feel thoughtless, penniless, sexless and just generally ‘less’ than they were before the festival of love. Nobody really enjoys it – and the roses always look redder on the other side.
1. Johntex – Own work, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1676458
2. John Hritz from Ann Arbor, MI, USA – Flickr, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3486962
3. Unknown – https://collections.carli.illinois.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/nby_teich/id/8174, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=67000104