Whether you love it or love to hate it, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and the marketing pros of the world have been shoving the commercialism of it down your throat for weeks.
It’s a calendar event most taken men dread and others have dubbed “Singles Awareness Day”.
But every year with Valentine’s Day pressures, it seems increasingly it’s not all it’s cracked up to be for couples either; photos of hearts and chocolates and teddies flood social media and the battle of the boyfriends begin.
For a holiday which is meant to encompass the romance and togetherness of love, we sure spend a lot of the lead up in hopeless anxiety, regardless of our relationship status. And we don’t even get the day off!
I once read, “The only people benefiting from this manufactured holiday are the companies who have placed a market value on “love” and ain’t that the truth.
Condom companies see an increase in sales, and a month later, ironically, so do at-home pregnancy tests.
In America, men spend an average of $150 on the day.
But on an even more sombre note, research suggests 75 per cent of suicide attempts are attributed to relationship issues, and the number of suicides spike on the day itself.
So how did we get to this and where did it even start?
The real origin is vague but there are many conceptual theories, including one of Catholic descent that says Valentine was a priest who defied Emperor Claudius II as he outlawed marriage for young men.
The Emperor thought single men made better soldiers, but Valentine continued to perform marriages secretly for young lovers. The date, February 14, was when he was caught and beheaded.
It’s said that Valentine’s Day began to gain popularity way back in the 17th century when it was common for friends and lovers alike to exchange gifts.
Today, according to the Greeting Card Association (yes it’s a real thing), around 1 billion cards are exchanged each year, second only to Christmas. The trouble is, it doesn’t have to be materialistic and commercial, in fact Valentine’s Day doesn’t have ‘to be’ at all.
More often these days, couples and singles alike are opting to discard the day altogether and refuse to buy into the hype.
If you choose to do the same, you shouldn’t feel guilty about it! Be wary of the Valentine’s Day trap, caring too much about a cheesy capitalist holiday. And realise you don’t have to participate in buying seemingly obligatory and as a result often thoughtless gestures.
Happy Any Other Day,