Happy St. Valentine’s Day, everyone. I know today most of you are thinking about spending time with your special someone; girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse. It’s only natural after all… though I’m not sure why. St. Valentine was the name of fourteen martyred saints, though little is known about the one the holiday is named for. The original holiday had no romantic elements, however and was dedicated to the memory of those who gave their lives for their faith.
But you don’t want to hear about some long dead Christians whom no one knows much about. You want to hear about flowers and candy and people in love. As you wish. Did you know, in Japan and Korea Valentine’s Day is a day for girls to give chocolates to boys that they like? On March 14 they have a holiday called St. White’s Day when the boys give gifts to the girls they like. In Korea there’s yet another holiday on April 14 called Black’s Day on which individuals who did not receive a gift on Valentine’s Day or Whites Day to celebrate being single by eating noodles and black beans. Mmm, sounds yummy, right? Every year I think, “I should totally do it,” and then I forget.
Singleness is a funny state. Some people are perfectly happy being single and never give their love lives a single thought. Then you have those who feel they absolutely must have a significant other to be… something, I suppose and spend all their time staring down their preferred gender thinking, ‘maybe they’re the one.’ Then you have the middle class, those who are okay with being single but wouldn’t say no to a boy/girlfriend if the opportunity arose. The Koreans have the right idea, celebrating singleness.
The concept of celebrating love isn’t a bad one, in theory. The problem comes when the marketing industry gets a hold of it and suddenly it’s all about the gifts you buy and the display you put on. What’s wrong with flowers? I like flowers. Most girls do. They’re sweet and simple and they smell pretty. Sure they wilt and die after a few days, but they are a nice gesture. Chocolates are also acceptable because who doesn’t love chocolate? Okay, yeah, I know that there are those random odd people who don’t like chocolate, but the vast majority of girls do enjoy chocolate or some other form of candy and if you don’t take into account the nutritional value, or lack thereof, it’s a nice little gift. My problem lies in jewelry and perfumes; more specifically, girls who demand jewelry and guys who give perfume.
Jewelry is expensive, in case you hadn’t noticed. I could understand for anniversaries and birthdays and major holidays such as Christmas, but for little holidays it seems excessive. Plus it puts more pressure on a man to get something better for the larger, more important dates when he gets a girl some $200 necklace for Valentine’s Day. Perfume is kind of an insulting gift to begin with. Getting someone perfume is pretty much a more sophisticated way of giving someone deodorant. It’s saying “I don’t like the way you smell. Put this on so I don’t have to smell you.” Not necessarily “You smell bad,” just “I don’t want to smell you.” It also encourages those girls who like to spray it all over themselves in public places and choke everyone around them on the obnoxiously sweet smell of cupcakes. *cough*Onee-chan*caugh*.
So there you have it. I think I’d rather spend my day remembering and honoring the lives of great Christians, unafraid to die for their faith.