It is the season for glitter and costumes and wigs of every shape and size, and then all of a sudden you walk into the market and are hit with a giant wall of red hearts, plush stuffed animals with vulnerable eyes, and candy begging for a loved one’s mouth. I’m talking, of course, about Valentine’s Day.
Whether you love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day could drive anyone to drink (for inebriation purposes to escape this consumer holiday or for hydration due to all the running around trying to buy this and book that). But before you guzzle yourself into a Valentinian coma, let’s take the other side of the story. The side where you shouldn’t really care about about celebrating this Valentine’s Day.
Reason #1: Let’s start with history. The feast of St. Valentine was basically the Christian renaming of a Roman pagan festival of Lupercalia. It was a festival where the eligible men sacrifice both a goat and a dog, skin them, and use the skins to beat single women in the hopes of making them fertile. Nothing really friendly about that little maneuver there. Now let’s add some more problematic information. After the women were beaten and after a matchmaking lottery, the women would be forcefully “coupled” with the men for the night, and possibly forever. We are all for people finding pleasure in the ways they choose, but, History, say this word with us: consent. Actually, modern day can also join in with saying that word. And while we’re at it, let’s throw in the phrase, safe word. This little history lesson shows how the roots of the V-day go against all decent concepts of love, acceptance, feminism, and manners.
Reason #2: The pressure. This is not necessarily the pressure from your significant other; in fact, most people I talk to are relaxed and chill about this Valentine’s hoopla, but when it comes to family and friends it’s like a firing squad armed with roses and crepe streamers. The older generation seems to uphold V-day like it is the one and only holy day for announcing one’s devotion to their partner. Not to mention the strangling heteronormative standards that consume every card and ruffled item. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat are inundated with, “Look what he/she did for me” photos, and even though many of us would roll our eyes at the consumerism of waste that will be tossed in the garbage within the week, on V-day, it can be a king of toxic eye candy. Look away. It’s not real. Just look away.
Reason #3: Valentine’s Day is the day after Fat Tuesday. We in New Orleans know that after Fat Tuesday, the only thing you should be celebrating is making it through the Carnival revelry. Fat Tuesday is for exhausting our bodies and minds. Painting our faces, coloring our hair, and putting glitter where only we may see it. What we don’t worry about is what we will have to look like on the Wednesday after Fat Tuesday.
Reason #4: We all want to go out to eat. New Orleanians love to eat, and we have the best restaurants, but on Valentine’s day they become off limits if you are not ready to hold hands or gaze longingly into someone’s eyes. Most of us are used to not making reservations, and on the V-Day, you are out of luck with that tradition. It’s like when you go out to dinner or to the movies on December 25 as someone of the non-Christian faith and find that Christians have taken over the restaurant. Something about it seems unfair. They’ve got the holiday, so why do they get the restaurants too?
Reason #5: Let’s just get dark. There is candy everywhere. At your office, from your mom who just can’t help but send a care package (we love you, moms), or from those who come over and say, “I can’t have this candy at my house anymore.” It doesn’t matter if you are burying your loneliness in chocolate delights or spoiling your partner with candy, it’s the same result. Diabetes. A quicker track to a horrible sickness that was wasted on processed sugar made into candy hearts with really mixed messages on them. Is that worth it, especially when compared to King Cake? We don’t think so. Valentine’s Day, we’re giving you the heave-ho this year. What were you thinking coming the day after Mardi Gras? Better luck next year, fake holiday. XOXO!