Heartsick: Why Valentine’s Day Must Die

Here it comes: Feb. 14, 2011. As the dreaded day approaches, I can feel the skin on my forehead gradually

Here it comes: Feb. 14, 2011.

As the dreaded day approaches, I can feel the skin on my forehead gradually tighten, bridging the gap between my eyebrows. Great–togetherness. And now I look even less covetable. Good job, squishy-face. Always setting yourself up for a win!

I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. Valentine’s Day sucks, and you know it does. You’ve always known it–from that time you didn’t get as many candygrams as the blonde girl next to you in Mrs. Wadzuk’s fifth grade class to that time your college boyfriend got you a blowpop to this year when you’re single, and the only planned date you have is with Netflix and a bottle of Pepe Lopez. Actually, this year doesn’t sound too bad.

Here’s an idea: How about we scrap the whole thing?

Admittedly, abolishing Valentine’s Day isn’t a new idea–it’s actually a pretty popular search item on Google–but here it comes again to ruin our lives. Why? Why not just pretend it doesn’t exist? It’s not like we get the day off from work, so already it’s not a real holiday. Indeed, the case for wiping Valentine’s Day from the calendar is so compelling, I actually had to leave out a few lesser reasons for time’s sake (like the fact that the day is clearly a fire hazard).

Let’s start with the obvious. Valentine’s Day is a set-up, and the outcome is repeated dissatisfaction. There is no freaking way anyone, not even your best friend-slash-lover of God-knows-how-many-years, could, in this one particular 24-hour time period, demonstrate his or her appreciation in just precisely the way you want to be appreciated. Can’t happen.

Why can’t it happen? Because, frankly, you expect too much. You fantasize about rose petals and multiple candles. You anticipate a well-lit restaurant and a really handsome but unobtrusive waiter. You build up expectations and don’t vocalize them until they haven’t been met, which leaves one party feeling inadequate and the other unloved. This leads into that inevitable day-after Valentine’s relationship hangover in which you contemplate every life decision you’ve ever made. All because of Feb. 14.

And come on, even if you do manage to have a decent time, it will make your friends all the more miserable, which will kill your romantic buzz like a bee in a blender. Your boyfriend could be as romantic and dreamy as Ryan Gosling in The Notebook, and your best friend would still call you and cry about how her boyfriend left a suggestive comment on another girl’s Facebook page–something about “banana cream pie.” And maybe it would have been fine on any other day but why’d he have to do it today? It’s Valentine’s Day, for chrisssakes.

Now her sadness is yours, and you can’t even tell her about how your boo knelt down and recited e.e. cummings’ “I Carry Your Heart with Me” with flawless intonation because you’d just feel guilty.

To add insult to injury, Valentine’s Day is exclusionary. And I’m not saying this because I’m single–it excludes most average couples too. Valentine’s Day is only for people who have just met. They have just met, and are so completely head-over-heels, balls-deep drowning in blissful infatuation that there is literally nothing the other person could do to upset them. He could take her to see a Nets game at the Prudential Center in New Jersey and she’d think, How cute! How gritty and unconventional!

Surely all this has you wondering just who concocted this illegitimate mess of a holiday. Well guess what–no one knows. There are a few theories, however. Some think the day began as an ancient Greek festival celebrating the matrimony of Zeus and Hera. Aah, Zeus! The portrait of fidelity! Others are quite positive the love-fest didn’t originate until Feb. 14, 1400, when a court was established in Paris specifically to deal with trials of the heart–divorce, adultery, domestic violence, etc. How romantic! And History dot com thinks the whole thing had to do with a Roman priest named Valentine who secretly performed marriage ceremonies for soldiers who were not allowed to be married. So, you know, there’s that.

But hey, at least we have St. Valentine, the patron saint of…what again? Yeah, no one really knows about that either. Doesn’t matter though. Everyone’s pretty sure the holiday is pagan in origin, anyway. The B.C. Romans, according to many sources, celebrated fertility on the 15th of February. They did this by killing goats, using their skin to make whips and then running around spanking the bums of young women in order to improve the likelihood that they’d conceive. If that doesn’t scream “Edible Arrangements” to you then I don’t know what would.

Since then, Valentine’s Day has been packaged and corporatized (so, in fact, has complaining about it), but that’s fine by me. I love commercialized holidays. Christmas? Awesome.  The fact that Christmas is so commercialized means that I, as a Jew, can celebrate it just because it’s fun. I love it–there are gifts and good food and warm fireplaces, chocolate and champagne, and lots of drunk-hugging.

The problem here is not that Valentine’s Day is a commercial. No–the problem is that it’s cheap. At least on Christmas, we get iPads and leather boots. But because it’s all about loooove, the general consensus is that V-day’s not about the money. Excuse me, but how does it make any sense to have a wholesale holiday based on the idea that “love don’t cost a thing”? Honey, my love costs more than a stuffed puppy and a vanilla bean candle. Oh God, wait, maybe this is why I’m single.

Whatever. Forlorn or fused, I think we can all agree that this holiday is just a pain. A surging, piercing, this-is-definitely-infected kind of pain. So let’s at least entertain the idea of abolishing it–maybe this Monday? Over a bottle of Pepe?

  Heartsick: Why Valentine’s Day Must Die