By Amy Knowles
The 14th of February – the day that makes you realise how single you are, how cringe-worthy your friends have become, and how sick-inducing your Instagram feed can be.
Is it really a day to celebrate love? Or has it become a capitalist carnival, with couples competing through materialistic means and bad hashtags to show everyone that they love their partner. Surely, people assume you love your partner if you’re in a relationship? As cynical as it may seem, Valentine’s day has become a day where the economy seems to be getting more pleasure than anyone else.
In an era of shout outs and tags, often people convey their love through gushy posts. Don’t get me wrong, I love love, but shouldn’t we be showing our affection for partners, friends and family in the flesh with love and words rather than stories and emojis. And further, shouldn’t we be gushing over our partners and showing our friends and family how much we love them all year round not just for one day?
Why does this one day of the year act as a reminder to record publicly your adoration and secondly, why does the nation spend almost half a billion pounds (PwC 2017 study) on roses, cheap chocolates and human-sized stuffed animals? Also, why do those not in a relationship think it is a good day to eat family bars of chocolate, tubs of ice cream and drown their organs in wine? A capitalist trap we can’t help but buy into. But why?
The history of Valentine’s day is littered with falsities, with the celebration beginning in ancient Rome. On this day, priests were called to sacrifice goats and a dog, they then would wipe blood off of their foreheads and laugh, all whilst being naked. Not quite what you see in the 2010 film starring Jessica Alba. Most stories hark back to St Valentine in 226 AD, and how he cured a girl of blindness or allowed soldiers to marry, which ended with St Valentine in jail. Not here to shun anyone buying overpriced chocolates, but these acts seem a bit more special and thought-through – sorry. In 1913, Hallmark released their first Valentines’ card and ever since then, the economy has benefitted from this one day a year of publicly announcing your love for someone else.
Kim Kardashian has given me conflicting thoughts on her Valentine’s day already. The Kanye West wrapping paper, although pretty iconic, I bet hides presents which I don’t even want to see the receipt for. But, these presents are actually not from Kayne, but from her family, as Khloe seems to have spoilt the whole family with her materialistic (and I’m sure genuine) love. As hyperbolic and flashy these presents may appear, the reminder that it is not just your partner who deserves your love and thoughts is refreshing.
Whether you’re a Bridget Jones this February or drafting your Instagram posts already, remember to love and appreciate your partner, friends and family for all 365 days of the year, not just the one. And although the saying ‘Money doesn’t buy love’ may have been proven slightly false, you may not have to spend as much money as you think, as you look at the ever reliable and factual article from the Daily Mail, which reminds readers that 90% of men interviewed by Illicit Encounters said sex was their number one wish for February 14th, so save the money and support the patriarchy!