Valentine’s Day — Enough Said

This piece was originally published on Notable.ca

http://notable.ca/valentines-day-enough-said/

Dear Montrealers,

We are deep into the winter, continuing to suffer through this severely depressing weather. We are in February, the deadly month where the cold continues to have no mercy and where our will to live starts to decline rapidly. Our body is lacking Vitamin D from the lack of sun, our skin is cracking like a snake, a mandatory need of sleep is unceasingly clouding over us, and all we wish for is Montreal summer to arrive quickly.

We are eager for the next day off, which, sadly, is still two months away. We look to our neighbouring provinces, who recently adopted a mid-February holiday named Family day while we Quebecois are agonizing more than many. Here we are approaching a holiday that does not provide us with any time off, but simply digs us deeper into a depression and a sense of self-loathing. You guessed right, this holiday is Saint Valentine’s Day.

Let’s begin with a little history of this atrocious day, thanks to my companion Wikipedia:

In the third century, Christianity was growing in popularity while the Romans continued to frown upon this religious movement. Valentinus, who was later considered a Roman Saint for some, rebelliously defied his Roman people for the commitment to love. In secret, Valentinus would marry Christian lovers who were denied to wed in the name of their beliefs. This disgrace towards his Roman people resulted in Valentinus’ beheading on February 14th, making him the Saint of Love. Alas, he died for love; he became the martyr for love, he became Saint-Valentine.

Despite the mythical story behind this holiday, I couldn’t help but ask myself how we managed to transform such a story into a hallmark holiday filled with forced love? Rather, a sense of apprehension and self-pity seems to be mounting amongst many. Despite a general dislike of this holiday, it somehow manages to get the best of us. It drives us into a sense of complete despair, loneliness, and ultimate ego destruction more often when single, while conversely creates major anxiety when in a relationship.

I can get into an entire philosophical debate about the fabrication of this holiday, its consumerist intentions, about how love should be celebrated every day and so on and so forth; but that would lead to wasted typed words and a greater chance of carpal tunnel syndrome.

However, before proceeding with this article, I will start by apologizing to all of you pure optimists who enjoy Valentine’s Day. I beg you not to be offended but rather open your hearts to the dislike some of us possess towards Valentine and have a good laugh; after all, this is meant to be light-hearted!

Love has a Price Tag:
Valentine’s Day has successfully reinforced the belief that love has a price. Just think about it: the price of roses reaches unfathomed levels (although I am always amazed at the number of roses in a mid-February Montreal day), restaurant prices double on Valentine weekend and the hint of offering a present to your loved one becomes an obligation. A direct correlation has been crafted between love and money spent and unfortunately men have become the victims of this trend.

Pro:

– If you are the recipient of a good and pricey gift, you have summoned a positive Valentine’s Day.
– If the recipient of the gift likes your gift, rose, restaurant choice, then dear friend, you may experience a positive Valentine’s Day.
– If you are rich, SCORE!

Expectations are high
Valentine’s Day and its gargantuan propaganda have created high and altered expectations of the manifestation of love. A holiday that was meant to unite lovers to wed (historically speaking) has digressed and conversely led to breakups — allow me to explain.

The expectation of a rose and chocolates evolved into an expectation of diamonds and bubbly leaving a poor man single for life. Additionally doomed are committed men feeling the pressure of Valentine, who are trying to outdo last year’s special gift and find it increasingly challenging on their imagination and wallet, basically bruising long-term relationships and causing the increasing number of breakups. Hence Valentine’s Day and breaking up converged into a positive correlation.

Pro:

– If you are rich and creative, the chances of break ups decline exponentially.
– If you want to breakup, you may have an open window.
– If you are rich and creative — SCORE!

Women’s despair
Being single on Valentine’s Day has become worse than wearing white socks with sandals and women do everything to avoid it. If single, women either organize a single ladies dinner (my plan this year!) or hibernate at home so no one could find out about their lonely evening. Others lower their criteria for a date to increase the possibility of a busy Valentine.

Pros

– Women, this change of criteria will widen your choice to some unexpectedly awesome men. A real pro!
– Single men, get on it, the stars are on your side.

Self-loathing
If you are single and happy, I trust you will not be on that day.

Pro: N/A

To sum up, this holiday of love that is supposed to be heartening has become oh so disheartening. In my opinion, this holiday should be exempt from our calendar and be replaced with a provincial holiday. Call it Family Day, call it sun fuelling day, call it anti-depression day, call it whatever, but please, let it replace Valentine’s Day.

Aren’t we suffering enough dear Montrealers?

P.S. Despite my earlier bashing, I have to admit the cinnamon heart candies are awesome!

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