Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

That is the customary greeting on February 14th, but it is an illusion for many and a commercial cash-grab for most. What once was an opportunity for people to share and express love for one another, either by a hand-written love note, or some other form of romantic gesture, has turned into an all out gift-giving extravaganza, where florists and chocolatiers feel the need to rip us off by jacking their prices by at least 100%. What about the poor single person on Valentine’s Day? Bombarded with images of lovers walking hand-in-hand, as the young woman gushes over her new diamond ring, and the young man looks on in adoration, that lonely schmuck gets to contemplate what he/she has done wrong in their life to miss out on such splendor. At this time of year, while trying to fight off the winter blahs, that is a one-way ticket to Depressionville.

It is reported that the U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately one billion valentines are sent each year worldwide, making the day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year, behind Christmas. The association estimates that, in the US, men spend on average twice as much money as women. Poor suckers. But that’s how they have you by the balls. How could you deny your lovely what is rightfully hers on this holiday for lovers? Clearly, an inability to provide a box of chocolates or a dozen long-stem roses only highlights the fact that you care nothing for your mate, and that it is only a matter of time before your relationship dissolves into nothing. Ha! What a scam.

I do believe in love. I am not a pessimistic or cold-hearted spinster. I am happily engaged and am more in love now than I have ever been. I don’t, however, subscribe to the idea that spending a hundred dollars on overpriced trinkets or parishables, to line the pockets of CEOs for the corporate monster, is an honourable or devoted way to celebrate love. And I may be naive, but there’s something inside of me that feels that most women would appreciate a hand-written poem, or a few tender words of appreciation to some heart-shaped, helium balloons, any day. Besides, save the flowers for random days throughout the year, they’ll be cheaper, unexpected and much more fulfilling.

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