My aversion to Valentine’s Day dates all the way back to elementary school.
In the third grade, I got sick and threw up on Valentine’s Day. The holiday literally made me hurl. Not a big deal for most (normal) children, but for a child plagued by severe emetophobia (defined as an “intense, irrational fear or anxiety pertaining to vomiting”—look it up, it’s a REAL THING), this was pretty bad news in terms of old V-Day. For the following three or four years, I became terrified whenever I’d start to see little hearts and cupids taped decoratively around my classroom and neighbor’s windows. The anxiety would mount higher and higher as February 14 drew near, and when it arrived I’d spend the day in a cold sweat, praying to make it out alive (and puke-free). Weird, I know. But whose childhood isn’t?
When junior high reared its ugly head, Valentine’s Day was a whole new kind of unpleasant. In my school, some genius thought it would be a fine idea to sell balloons for a few days leading up to V-Day, then have them delivered to recipients’ classrooms on the big day and handed out in front of the entire class – much to the delight of those with adoring boyfriends, “BFF”s, or perhaps secret admirers. Sweet, right? Not for the other 75% of the class who received nothing more than a crushing blow to their already dwindling self-esteem. You can probably guess which percentage I belonged to.
Valentine’s Day. Making junior high even shittier than it already is.
The classroom balloon torture has its own grown-up version for the workplace, by the way. I call it “Nice Roses, Bitch.” Check out these priceless moments from season two’s Valentines Day episode of The Office that sum up this phenomenon well. Pam is literally throwing flowers and chocolate at Phyllis after the delivery guy disappoints her once again, and Meredith leers at Phyllis’s gagworthy display of gifts while sipping her vodka-laced Subway soda. God, I miss that show.
Once you have children, Valentine’s Day becomes just another annoying holiday that you have to pretend is “fun” for their sake. Yay kids! Let’s make red, heart-shaped cookies! And red, heart-shaped cards! And hang red, heart-shaped decorations!
Can someone please find a red, heart-shaped gun and shoot me with it?
When my son started preschool, I found out about these pointless little Valentines that the kids hand out to each other in class nowadays. Here’s what happens: Mom heads over to Hallmark, forks over ten bucks for a box of cheap (HEART-SHAPED!!!) Spiderman or Cinderella cards (which are essentially glorified name tags), then goes home and writes one out for each child in the class. On Valentine’s Day, the teacher puts all the little “cards” in each preschooler’s book bag at the end of the day. When the child arrives home, all cards are promptly removed from the bag by Mom and offered enthusiastically to the child, who then shrugs disinterestedly and asks if he or she can go watch TV. The child leaves the room, the tags go in the recycling bin, and much time, trees, and money have been wasted once again.
So here’s Valentine’s Day to me, in a nutshell. Flowers die. Chocolate is fattening. Kids don’t give a shit about romance. Men are usually idiots who never get it right. Women are usually even bigger idiots for expecting them to get it right in the first place. And Cupid? Is a naked little perv who shoots people in the ass.
Here’s a fun, little-known fact: Saint Valentine DROPPED DEAD on Valentine’s Day. Wikipedia that shit, it’s true.
Another fun fact: divorce lawyers report a 40% increase in new business each year right after Valentine’s Day. ‘Cuz nothing says “be mine” like a stack of freshly signed divorced papers!
Guess what’s red and NOT heart-shaped?
I think I’ll go have some.