OK. I want to get this out of the way before it hits tomorrow, but I strongly dislike Valentines Day. Note that I don’t say ‘hate’. Hate implies some unspoken issue that forces strong emotions to the surface. When a teen boy or girl says they ‘hate’ someone or something, it’s usually because they have a strong attraction to it (either negative or positive). That’s not the case here, as I don’t have violent reactions to February 14th, but rather am irritated by what people have made of it, and I prefer to not participate, thank you.
There are some obvious reasons for my antipathy, such as the fact that the holiday is more or less promoted entirely by the Greeting Card and other related industries (as well as Confectioners, Hotels, Restaurants, and Liquor Stores). I also don’t like the idea of ever following the herd, just on principle. But my biggest reason for disliking Valentine’s Day is that it’s an oxymoron. To me, the whole point of romantic love is is that it’s spontaneous. You don’t pick a date to be romantic; it just happens. An angle of the light, an opportunity to be naughty, a celebration that turns into something else, a good-bye that turns passionate; It’s not a planned event on the calendar: On February 14th plan to be romantic. That’s ridiculous. You might as well say On March 2nd get curious or On August 8th become bored.I also dislike the pressure by peers (or the newspapers or television) to be romantic: If you aren’t on acting romantic on Valentine’s Day, you are either to be pitied or lectured to. If you don’t go through the motions, they say, you’re only missing out on the fun. Your partner may say that he or she understands, but they’re really secretly disappointed in you, year in and year out. Or worst of all, you have deep emotional failings in the romance department if you can’t turn it on and off like a Viagra-powered light switch.
I may be exaggerating the whole pressure and expectations thing a bit; most of my friends and family (including my significant other) accept my Valentine Scrooge role as a charming foible, like those people who get upset about Thanksgiving or rail about the commercial excesses of our modern-day Christmas celebrations (which do indeed dwarf the promotion of flowers and chocolates that the world of commerce has imposed on this holiday). Come to think of it, Jews probably shouldn’t have to feel compelled to celebrate this holiday anyway; it’s a Saint, after all, who’s name is being invoked.
Who knows, maybe some Valentine’s Eve I’ll be visited by the three Dickensian ghosts of Valentine’s Day Past, Present and Future, and we’ll all have a great orgy (complete with lace, chocolate and showers of rose petals) that convinces me of the error of my ways and makes me vow to pursue the blessings of Valentine’s Day the whole year round.
I’m not betting on it.