Valentine’s Hangover

It’s suddenly struck me as odd that, although this is the first year for a while that Valentine’s Day has not imposed itself upon my consciousness, this is the first year for a while that the most nauseating saint’s day on the calendar has had any significant effect on my psychology. Usually, I just treat the fourteenth day of February just the same as I treat the thirteenth or the fifteenth. Maybe I’ll occasionally pause to sneer in contempt at the couples who’ve decided that they need to indulge in excessive displays of public affection simply because Hallmark told them to but I hold humanity’s ovine tendencies in pretty low regard the rest of the year, so I feel I have the excuse. Public affection is fine by me, generally speaking, but it irritates me that our consumer culture has made us so slavish that we have to be told when to make our loved ones feel special. The worst part is when attention-whoring partners take it upon themselves to sulk for weeks if one chooses to rebel against this particular trend; social rebels like yours truly haven’t a snowball’s chance in hell.

The past few years, I’ve been forced to sit behind either a box office desk or a popcorn stand while couples celebrate the most soulless of Hallmark holidays by collectively sitting in a darkened room. Maybe this is the best place for them but I really wish I didn’t have to talk to these people first. Customers are quite capable of being contemptible idiots at the best of times so having their attention focussed entirely on the berk holding their hand rather than what they’re doing really doesn’t help the situation. This means that spending the day promoting the University of Birmingham Sci-Fi and Fantasy Society, away from the red and the heart-shaped balloons, was something of a relief. Even so, I’ve been feeling the lack-of-girlfriend pinch a bit more than usual lately.

Ironically, because I’m the sort of guy who sticks to his guns with something of a flippant disregard for the consequences, I suspect that February 15th is the day I’m most likely to get dumped. Maybe it’s the fact that I refuse to bend on certain principles that means I’ve been single for so long. Yet my bad feelings about Valentine’s Day are not long-engendered sour grapes. This day is the one traditional holiday that’s completely lost its touch with its roots. The day used to be about the hope of love, where distant admirers would send anonymous messages to keep the unwitting objects of their affection guessing (stalker-tastic!) and the hopeful unattached would try to divine the name of their future bride or groom. Only fifteen years ago I can remember the tail-end of this but, like Hallowe’en, America has led the way in the traditions becoming lost to another greedfest and while hope goes out of the window for the single, the couples buy more cards.

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~ by Scary Rob on 20 February, 2007.

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