Valentine's Day--the Dark Side
Dakota Digest - 02/14/2012
Today is Valentine's Day, set aside to reflect one's love for another with flowers, gifts, chocolate-or maybe an engagement ring for those so lucky. But this is anything but a lucky day for some people; either they've lost someone they love, or they don't get the commotion of the day. South Dakota Public Broadcasting's Gary Ellenbolt examines what goes into that, on today's Dakota Digest.
Read Jenn Marks' essay on Valentine's Day:
Today's just another day for a college freshman at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri-in fact, to Jenn Marks, Valentine's Day is something she can do just fine without. She wrote about her distaste for this day of romance, in the Truman State newspaper, The Index. SDPB's Kealey Bultena shares Marks' topic sentences.
"No one really enjoys Valentine's Day. Even if a person doesn't hate it outright, Valentine's Day always ends in disappointment. Media hype builds Feb. 14 up so much in our minds that the only reaction we are left with is one of dissatisfaction or, in my case, blind hatred. My deep loathing of the holiday is only worsened by the fact that my birthday is a mere three days later. I have the pleasant reminder that I'm both single and another year older. Lucky me."
According to Marks, the closeness of Valentine's Day and her birthday is a good part of the problem.
Marks explains, "I didn't mind it too much when I was younger, but you can only take heart-shaped birthday cakes for so many years, and birthday parties themed around Valentine's Day...and it just kinda snowballed into my least favorite holiday of all time."
Marks has plenty to say-not a lot of it good--about Valentine's traditions; in her own words, here's her take on holiday candy.
"Edible gifts are only good in theory. Those conversation hearts taste like chalk. You'd get more flavor out of licking the floor of Baldwin Hall than eating one of those off-brand chocolates that come in heart-shaped boxes. They should be called Russian roulette chocolates: One bite is the difference between caramel and some indistinguishable and unpleasant cream substance."
As far as roses for Valentine's Day-according to Marks, those don't fare much better.
" A dozen red roses, the fallback Valentine's Day gift, would seem harmless. Let's think about this for a second. You spend a fair amount of money for a plant that blooms for a week and then dies - what kind of metaphor does that make for your relationship? If your solution to this is a fake flower in the dozen with a note that reads "I will love you until the last rose dies," just stop. Stop right now."
And what about stuffed animals? Again, Marks' answer, read by Kealey Bultena.
"It's difficult to imagine this holiday becoming any worse, but it does. You've all seen those girls carrying massive bears with embroidered hearts plastered between their paws that trigger an obnoxious message about how much someone loves them. Excuse me while I purge into the nearest trash receptacle."
Last week, Jenna Bromberg, who writes a blog for H&R Block, shared information on the expenses that come with Valentine's Day--and no, even if you're dating your boss, they're not deductible. Bromberg says spending on your sweetheart looks to be ahead of 20-11.
Bromberg says, "According to a survey conducted by Forbes this year, last year's spending was about $68.98. And this year, the average person will spend $74.12 on the average. It might be a better economy--it might be worse relationships; you never can tell."
February 14th is a day children eagerly look forward to-Jenn Marks touched on that fact, too. Here's Cara Hetland.
"For those of you who still defend the elementary school idea of Valentine's Day, this next bit is for you. Valentine's boxes were awesome, don't get me wrong. It's what you had to put inside them that I have a problem with. In my school, we were required to have a valentine for every classmate, which is fine. I'm all for equality. But nobody really enjoys giving valentines to the cool kids who made fun of you all year and the weird girl who eats paste."
Everyone agrees it's not cool to have a young child shut out on Valentine's Day-we get that. But does an entire school district get involved in that? According to the Media Relations Coordinator for the Sioux Falls School District, Dee Ann Konrad, probably not.
Konrad says, "My own child received a list of classmates to prepare valentines for-and there was a note on there which said ‘Please make sure that everybody receives a valentine. So in that case, would it be a policy? For us, a policy is viewed as something much broader than valentines, per se-it'd be more of a process that happens in each particular building."
For some people, including an estimated 41 percent of American couples who won't celebrate the holiday at all-the best part of Valentine's Day is that it will end. Just out of curiosity-what's on the schedule for Truman State Index writer Jenn Marks, who writes of her hatred for the day?
Marks says, "I know The Index is having a Valentine's Day party-I got a lot of flak at the meeting last night; ‘I'd better be there, because it's my least favorite holiday...'" "So are you going?" "I'll probably go just to spite everyone."
If you celebrate today, enjoy the celebration. If you don't-you've just discovered you're not alone.
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