V.D. While everyone over the age of 30 probably cringes at the mention of those two letters, I’m not referring to venereal disease (I don’t know when this term fell out of use. It sounds much scarier than Sexually Transmitted Disease/Infection. Maybe if it sounded scarier, kids would try harder to avoid it. Call it junk-b-gone or crotchrot or something. That’ll get ‘em bagging up their goodies.) No, I’m talking about something even more sinister and evil. A manufactured holiday fueled by greedy, materialistic corporations, hell-bent on separating you from your hard-earned dollar in exchange for gaudy jewelry, low-quality chocolate, and a hollow, empty feeling inside. We’re talking Valentine’s Day.
Nobody wins on Valentine’s Day, except the aforementioned crapmongers. Let’s break it down into the two basic groups: Without Partner and With Partner.
Without Partner: So you’re single. Maybe you’ve been that way for a while, maybe you just got out of a relationship, or maybe you’re doing it on purpose. Regardless, VD reminds you that you’re alone as if coming home to an empty apartment and masturbating while you cry yourself to sleep wasn’t enough (Not that this has ever happened to me). Despite your steely façade, we all know it affects you. So covertly or not, you express your depression or anger at society by wearing all-black in protest, then plan to hit a bar with your other single friends. Of course, this leads to the mind-boggling tradition of drowning your sorrows in a proven depressant. Then you go and make another bad decision by going home with the closest warm body, realizing your mistake too late, and sneaking out in the middle of the night. As you walk home with your shirt inside out and missing a sock, you yell profanities at yourself, continuing the self-loathing cycle that got you in this mess in the first place. VD depression has struck again. Then you forget about it until the next Valentine’s or at least until it burns when you pee and you have to see a doctor a month later. VD has struck again, ninja-style (Not that this has ever happened to me).
With Partner: So you thought the grass was greener on the other side of VD? Survey says: X! If you are fortunate to have a special someone on VD, things really are not much better. Let’s say you are very happy with your partner. Every moment spent together is a mixture of complementary personalities, matching senses of humor, mutual physical attraction, showers of affection, rainbows, marshmallows, and bunnies. You make dinner together every Saturday and breakfast every Sunday morning. You eat way too much together then curse at the evil toothy yoga DVD instructor together. You talk about your future together and it’s not remotely scary. You’ve already named your children (Xander, Eliza, and Seamus, maybe) . Basically, if they were a floor, then you’d be a rug. If they were a kiss, you know you’d be a hug.
Let’s face it, you’re so happy that you probably make other people nauseous so you try to contain it when you talk to your friends, but you’re still not immune to the shadowy clutches of VD. You see, VD knows that when you are in a relationship, it is outnumbered two to one, so VD employs its most powerful ally: Expectation.
Expectation is a dangerous thing and often leads to disappointment. It’s funny how it works too. You could still get something great, but if it doesn’t live up to what you built in your mind, it’s still a disappointment. Let’s say you won a raffle where the grand prize was $1000. You’re thinking, “Sweet. Now I can buy that Blu-Ray player I wanted.” But then the raffle organizers tell you that for whatever reason, they’re only able to give you $850. Most people would be disappointed thinking, “Dammit, I wanted the $1000!” You should be happy with the $850, but you were expecting more. Even if the disappointment is fleeting, it’s still there. Disappointment leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. Next thing you know, you’re a scarred cyborg slicing your son’s hand off.
Expectation runs rampant during these gift-giving occasions. The crapmongers help power it by running their insipid commercials every 10 minutes. I want to punch my television when those ads come on. In fact, if the people responsible for those awful Jared Galleria of Jewelry and Kay Jewelers ads could somehow feel the impact of me hitting my television set, then I might consider taking a hammer to my plasma (I have to give props to the AT&T commercials with the “My darling girl Teresa” white-guy-rap and the “Hottie from Hottingham.” I actually never get sick of those). Anyway, these ads only encourage women to expect expensive things from their partners. When they don’t get them? Disappointment and lopped-off hands.
And why does showing affection need to be grand displays of opulence and extravagance once in a while? Shouldn’t we be showing love daily and spontaneously? I think random acts of kindness have more impact because people aren’t expecting it. Don’t get me wrong. I think she deserves the world, and I try to treat her like a princess daily. Sometimes I think I actually spoil her. I definitely don’t need some gaudy piece of blood diamond jewelry or gooey, grossness- filled chocolate to prove I love her. I suppose if you are too busy or self-involved to show your affection, it is nice to have a special day set aside to make sure you express yourself, but if that’s the case, maybe you need to re-prioritize yo’ shit.
Let’s save everyone the hassle and just get rid of this stupid psudo-holiday.