Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Why I Hate Valentine’s Day

A Diatribe by Wiley Page

Although many of you will dismiss it as such, this will not be the lament of a single person on a couple's holiday. As a matter of fact, there is no one day of the year that I more prefer to be single. My dislike of this day does not stem from any depression, jealousy, or bitterness. I really and truly believe that Valentine's Day cuts to the heart of many things that I don't like about humankind.

First, and least of all, is the crass commercialism. Like almost every holiday in this country, Valentine's Day has been overrun by the likes of Hallmark, Stover's, and FTD, whose clever marketing have convinced us that we need to buy their products to fully participate in the holiday. But this is not the card and candy makers' fault. They're just filling a demand that exists in our society. The real problem lies deeper.

Namely, sentimentalism. One of my least favorite phrase in the English language is "It's the thought that counts." Screw that. I honestly don't give a damn if you're thinking of me or not. How does that affect my life in any way? Actions count. Help me move my pool table. Tell me about a movie you think I'd like. Take me out to dinner. Lend me a book. Don't send me a Valentine's Day card (even a hand-written one to avoid supporting Hallmark) with a sentimental message. I'll file it in the same place that I keep every Birthday and Christmas card I've ever received. The garbage can.

But what I really hate is the sense of obligation. There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying someone you love a present. There is absolutely everything wrong about having to prove your love with a present. If you are buying your significant other roses/chocolate/jewelry because you don't want to get in trouble, that is absolute insincerity. And if you demand gifts from someone as proof of their love, that is absolutely despicable. And lest you think this is a "Battle of the Sexes" type situation and I'm just a guy who thinks flowers and candy are dumb (be that as it may), in many Asian cultures the situation is reversed. It is women who are obligated to buy the gifts. In fact there is a Japanese tradition on Valentine's Day called giri-choko, which means "an obligation of chocolate" whereby a woman has to buy every significant male in their life chocolates. This is every bit as bad. Gifts given as an obligation are not gifts. They are taxes.

People tell me, "Just wait 'till you're in a serious relationship, then you'll understand." My usual counter to that is "Why do you think I'm not in a serious relationship right now?" This essay was not just me carrying on. This is what I truly believe, and any girl who expects me to behave differently will be sorely disappointed next year on February 14th.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, is this Wiley from Straughn? I read your Valentine's Day post, so I realize you're not much into thoughts and whether or not they count. Regardless, I happened to be thinking about you today and just wanted to say hi. I talked with Valerie last night, and she told me about the mascot thing. I wanted to tell you that I'm really made me feel special. Now that I grown up, those moments are hard to come by, so thank you. I hope you're happy and doing well. ~BK

2/14/2007 04:05:00 PM  
Blogger wiley said...

Ha. I may not like sentiment, but I do like hearing from old friends. My email address is gwpage at gmail dot com if you ever want to get in touch.

2/14/2007 04:40:00 PM  
Blogger stephcl said...

i had several people at work yesterday ask me what i got for valentine's day...mostly women...probably wanting to size up gifts and see who got the bigger, better stashes. in honesty, i got my favorite flower and a little card; however, i simply replied, "nothing special". when i woke up yesterday morning, it was wednesday...not anything else tremendously special. i did get flowers and a card...but i get flowers and cards quite often just because...not just because it's feb. 14th. if you show the person you love that they are special every day in some small way (not just buying presents)...then you don't have to save it up for one day of the year.

before the day was over though, i did print out something cute for the may even like this just a bit:

kudos for the blog. i enjoyed reading it.

2/15/2007 08:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are very much correct about the japanesse custon of women buying chocolate for their men on feb. 14 but there's more to the story then just that....the next month in march, i can't remember the day, the men are expected to buy very expensive jewlry for their women....and now you know, and knowing is half the battle!

~your japanesse brother~

2/19/2007 06:35:00 PM  

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