In all these years abroad, I think I had nearly forgotten about the existence of Valentine’s Day. It’s just one of those non-events that doesn’t factor into my life in any way, whether I am in a relationship or not. It’s not a holiday I anticipate or plan around, and certainly not an occasion on which I spend money.
Well, I’m back state-side now, and Valentine’s Day is the first “holiday” since my return. I suddenly find Valentine’s Day accosting me everywhere and all the time. Clearly, I had my guard down and was totally unprepared for the full-on red assault of the heart-shaped marketing machine. I feel as though every establishment I pass has launched some marketing effort in conjunction with this non-holiday: restaurants are offering Vaentine’s Day specials, bars are throwing Valentine’s Days parties, my local café has put hearts up on the wall, and of course CVS is a riot of red and tacky plastic expressions of love. Even when I went to look up a word on Dictionary.com, the home page featured a slideshow on “slang for love and lovers.” I can’t escape.
Suddenly, I find myself “worrying” about what I’m going to do for Valentine’s Day. This, I acknowledge rationally, is absurd. But I’ve clearly been successfully pressured by the collective concentrated campaigns of every single business which stands to gain from me potentially acting on that nagging feeling that I should be doing something for Valentine’s Day. Shouldn’t I be going somewhere? Shouldn’t I be buying something? Because, after all, how does one celebrate Valentine’s Day without buying something? Is it even possible?
I appreciate that by writing this post, I am ironically contributing to the proliferation of Valentine’s mania. I was tempted to upload a photo of a white teddy bear holding a red heart. But I stopped myself. And on Valentine’s Day – otherwise known as Friday night –I’ll be hanging out at a friend’s place, eating and drinking, like any other night. Nor will I be wearing red.