Valentine’s Day: has there ever been a holiday so controversial?
Just two words are all it takes to stir up, in one camp, thoughts of love, flowers and romance, and in another camp, vitriol, anti-love ranting and, of course, Hallmark bashing — after all, that lousy company invented the holiday to leech more money from us poor working folk, don’t you know?
But what about those of us — seemingly a minority, although maybe we just don’t care enough to speak up — who couldn’t care less? Where is our voice in the hot-tempered debate over the vices and virtues of Valentine’s Day?
For example, people often assume that because I am single, Valentine’s Day makes me angry, sad and lonely and, perhaps most of all, bitter toward people who are happily in love. This is not so, although the sheer number of people who seem to think I should feel inadequate sometimes makes me feel a little bit inadequate. Grandmothers and nosy neighbours everywhere should mind the harmful effects that “helpful” sympathy can have.
Back to the point at hand: there are many people, both single and attached, for whom the thought of Valentine’s Day conjures neither warm fuzzy feelings, nor spiteful hisses and boos. And who is to be our voice? Who will stand up for us and tell the world that no, we don’t sit around crying into pints of Ben & Jerry’s watching shitty chick flicks or drinking and calling up exes all day? Or, alternatively, that there will be no rose-petal-strewn beds and candlelit massages, because who cares?
I guess by writing this I have volunteered to take up that mantle, but I don’t really want to. I mean, I don’t care about the holiday, so why should I care if people know how little I care?
I find Valentine’s Day far less depressing than the fact that Facebook has stocked the ad space on my page with links to online dating sites. Even Facebook is sure I am desperate to find cute single guys, or honest men, or sexy dudes, or any combination thereof. I had to pull the plug on one ad that outright asked me, “Are you lonely?” I wasn’t, jerkhole, but now I kind of am. Talk about leaving compassion at the door to get some profits.
Even the spam in my inbox has shifted into Valentine’s mode. All of the messages advertising home tooth-whitening kits have turned into urgent communications telling me where I can find my very own Asian groom. They assure me that he will arrive an accomplished and honourable man and will be shipped freight in no less than 12 business days. A little late for V-Day, but better late than never.
What it all boils down to is this: everybody should stop assuming other people’s feelings. That would make this whole thing a lot easier. No more sympathetic nods from happily attached people thinking back to their single days and shaking their heads in pity for me. No more eager single eyes happy to have found a kindred soul. That kind of creeps me out, to be honest. It all smacks of some weird assumption that being single or not is the defining factor of anyone’s life, which I think we can all agree is rarely true.
Actually, that is not a half-bad idea. Let’s all stop assuming we know what other people are thinking and feeling year-round rather than just around Feb. 14. That would solve a lot more problems than just this one. Few misunderstandings are graver than the ones involving Valentine’s Day, to be sure, but maybe if we cared a little more about how other people view the world we could solve some other, less serious matters. Like war, for instance, or AIDS.
Oh, and if you know any cute, single, sexy, honest, Asian dude guy men, don’t forget to send them my way.