Why I Don’t Celebrate Valentines Day

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.