I started hating Valentineâ€™s Day early in my life. I suppose it was when I was in first grade and in love with these two adorable little girls who happened to be twins. Okay, that was my first mistake, but I couldnâ€™t choose the one I liked more, so I decided to like them both.
On that Valentineâ€™s Day I went around the block and put two cards in their mailbox (one for Anna and one for Hannah). I should have known I was destined for failure, since the following day both girls lambasted me for my duplicity and set me on the road to a broken heart. When I think about it now, it would have never worked out anyway, and even if I had married either one (as I envisioned in my foolish little way as I walked around the corner to drop off those cards) we would have always been laughed at because â€śAnna Lanaâ€ť or â€śHannah Lanaâ€ť would have been just a bit too much.
Over the years Iâ€™ve come to a very Scrooge-like point of view when it comes to the matter: Valentineâ€™s Day is a poor excuse for picking a manâ€™s pocket every 14 of February, and it is most definitely the manâ€™s pocket that is ripe for picking. I apologize to all the female readers, but letâ€™s just be honest here. The man is the one who gets caught in between Scylla (the cash hungry retailers) and Charybdis (whirlpool of a girlfriend) on this lousy midwinterâ€™s day, and thereâ€™s not always a good deal to show for it. I mean, back in first grade, I spent a big two quarters on the construction paper and crayons for those cards, and all I got was a double slap in the face.
I have been seeing the warning signs over the last few weeks that â€śV-Dayâ€ť was approaching. I pass the shops with the red hearts tacked all over the windows. Some of them have â€śBe Mineâ€ť written over them (yeah, be mine, sucker!) and others have that ubiquitous lousy word â€śloveâ€ť scrawled across it like in the credits of I Love Lucy only in living grotesque color. As Tina Turner, one of my favorite singers, used to sing, â€śWhatâ€™s love got to do with it?â€ť Nothing is my answer; it is all about dollar signs.
In the newspapers I see advertisements from jewelers, restaurants, florists, department stores, candy shops, and card stores (these are the six-headed Scylla to which I referred earlier) â€świshing all of our customers a Happy Valentineâ€™s Dayâ€ť. Of course theyâ€™re wishing everyone a happy day as they laugh all the way to the bank. This conspiracy to inflate the importance of this day into a marketing juggernaut is annoying and repulsive; they are using the idea of love, the very essence of the human desire for romance, to squeeze the male population dry. Many males (and I was once in their ranks) have fallen for this ploy, hoping that they could somehow meet the overblown expectations that women have for their boyfriends and husbands (largely thanks to movies and soap operas).