by Tess Adair
Gonna let my misanthropic flag fly for a second: there’s a part of me that hates all holidays. It’s not the holidays’ fault, of course. It’s people. Really, it’s capitalism, but who’s responsible for that? Yep, people.
I just kinda hate how every time there’s a holiday near, no matter how completely disinterested you are, you cannot escape it. Thanksgiving coming up? Better fill EVERY SINGLE STORE with turkeys for an entire month, or else you might forget! And blast you with 24/7 Black Friday commercials, since that’s the true holiday for capitalism. And once Thanksgiving is over? We better damn sure get our coffees in appropriately Christmassed-up red cups and more Bing Crosby than we can stand. Anything else would be disrespectful. Oh, did you come to the store for toilet paper in March? Better get your St. Patrick-approved 4-leaf-clover toilet paper. Otherwise you’re missing out on what it really means to be an American.
It’s all a little overwhelming to me. And by “overwhelming” I mean “shallow and annoying.”
So when I say I hate Valentine’s Day, I want you to keep in mind that I hate all the Days. Except Halloween. I love Halloween. (But, eh, I generally love it so much that it’s guaranteed to disappoint me, so that its own kind of hate.)
Still. Valentine’s Day is the worst.
It’s a stupid day. It started off stupid, and it’s only gotten worse.
Valentine’s Day is like Halloween if someone removed all the creativity and magic. Nobody gets to wear a costume, there’s no excuse to get sloppy drunk and in fact you look worse than normal for doing so, and instead of getting a wide range of cheap candy to choose from, you only get the shit that comes in heart-shaped boxes.
I mean, the heart-shaped boxes are, of course, a necessity. See, the best way to disguise blatant corporate greed is to pretend it’s love. So if we didn’t put it in a heart-shaped box, you might realize this whole thing is an arbitrary, vacant excuse to guilt you into parting with your benjis.
Oh, did I say nobody gets to wear a costume? I guess that’s not true. If you’re in a suffocating, unhealthy relationship, you get to wear the costume of pretending you’re happy.
It’s not nearly as fun as pretending you’re Magneto, but whatever.
So, even just concept-wise, Valentine’s Day is the worst. It’s an excuse for shitty corporations to peddle their shittiest shit and assume you won’t notice because you’ll be taste-blinded by all the red.
On top of that, there’s the shit that Valentine’s Day has become. If you’re single, it’s become an excuse to feel like there’s something wrong with you for that fact alone. If you’re in a relationship, it’s become a setup for failure and disappointment.
Obviously I’m not saying that Valentine’s Day sucks for everyone. I’m sure there are plenty of couples out there who love it, and probably plenty of singles who love it, too. (Maybe if I were into clubbing, I’d see it as an excuse to hook up with someone?)
But I don’t love it. I think it’s dumb. It’s arbitrary. If you love someone, why are you going to wait all year for a day that somebody else chose to express that love? You can have a lovely romantic time any day of the year. Why does it have to be this one?
Valentine’s Day sets up an expectation for people. I don’t usually think it’s a good thing to set your expectations--especially if you make them too high, too specific, too romanticized.
Case in point: after I saw the new Star Wars movie, I talked to one of my friends about it. He’d gone in with extremely high expectations--he wanted to see a new kind of movie entirely, one that took full and unique advantage of the Star Wars universe and rules. I, on the other hand, went in hoping it wouldn’t suck as hard as Phantom Menace. I was absolutely delighted with what I got; he was dismayed.
And the only difference was expectation.
So anyway, I think Valentine’s Day is stupid. My personal best Valentine’s Day was two years ago, when I hosted an Anti-Valentine’s Day party. I made elaborate cupcakes and we watched House of Cards.
If you’re looking for something to do this V-Day, I suggest just that--good snacks and a dark television show. If you’re not into House of Cards, you can try Black Mirror. Nice and depressing.
Fuck Valentine’s Day.