“Look at all the things no one will be buying us,” I said to a friend as I gestured to a table full of stuffed bears and candy hearts.
That was only a few days after New Years, but alas, the omens of Valentine’s Day have vanished faster than Abilene’s winter weather and just in time to make room for shamrocks and green tinted foods.
I am not a huge supporter of Valentine’s Day and had no plans except for the ones where I sit on the couch and watch the X-Files until my eyes can’t focus anymore. Although I’m not in love with Valentine’s Day, I understand the principle of the holiday. It is a time when we show those around us that we love them, and although I’m not a fan I do feed the system; I shelled out $4 for some pretty cool Star Wars valentines a few weeks back at Dollar General. I’m not here to bash Valentine’s Day and drag your new oversized teddy bears through the mud, but what I do want to do is address the pressure that the most romantic day of the year puts on millions of Americans.
Every year Valentine’s Day swoops in and makes us think that our partners, families and friends won’t feel loved enough if we don’t shower them with flowers, chocolates and dinners. This can lead to a real life situation of the “expectation v.s. reality” memes. Even if you decided in your friend group or relationship to not exchange gifts, you probably caved got your BFF or BF at least a card. What I’m saying isn’t exactly original, but I just want to remind you that love, romantic or not, can be celebrated anytime not just on February 14; especially if you want your affection to come off as more authentic and not as a yearly obligation.
It was estimated that a record $18.9 billion was spent by Americans on Valentine’s gifts this year, and items like roses are often price gauged so that you end up paying more for special bouquets. Gifts are great ways to show affection, but are definitely not accurate in determining how much you actually love someone. It’s easy to run down to CVS and grab a mug with hearts on it, but what could matter even more is you surprising your friend or beloved with a coffee on a Monday that is only the beginning of a very long week. Regardless if you spent the holiday alone or with someone special, please know that love has no set date and definitely has no price tag.
Congratulations everyone, we survived Valentine’s Day 2016. May this column serve as a reminder that whether you saw it as friend or foe, it’ll be back again next year in all of its pink and red colored glory. So, now that this year’s holiday is over, feel free to buy as much discounted chocolate that your checking account can handle.