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Love, Ames: I promise I’m not a cynic

Picture this: you’re me, single on Valentine’s Day for the first time since 2019, but also someone who’s hated Valentine’s Day even when they were in a relationship. Someone who has written articles about that very topic for the last two years. 

Someone who was expecting to write another anti-Valentine’s-Day article again now, in 2022.

Except … now, when I tell people I don’t like Valentine’s Day, I just sound like a cynical old hag.

My reasons for hating this holiday of overexaggerated, overembellished acts of affection remain the same as they were in 2020. It’s too much about money and not enough about love. After all, if you really love someone, why do you need to wait for a certain day to show them?

I will admit that last year in 2021, I conceded that in the midst of a pandemic, perhaps having a certain day to show love was something necessary to make us feel normal. Now that many other things are going back to a semblance of normal, however — face-to-face learning, dining in restaurants, an in-person Mega Fair, etc. — my only reason for liking the holiday has once again vanished, and I’m back to square one.

And I’m not going to pretend that I’m not a little misanthropic this year in particular. Anyone who’s gone through a recent breakup is not going to have the time of their lives on Valentine’s Day. 

I am, however, going to do my best to remember why I never liked this holiday in the first place, instead of focusing on the whole “newly single and annoyed at love” mindset.

We’ll start with money — namely, how much of it is spent buying gifts for Valentine’s Day every year. 

In 2020, the “classic rose royale” arrangement from the Oxford Flower Shop in Uptown cost nearly $100. Last year, the price hopped up to $115, where it stays now for 2022. 

Across the Internet, there are also $25 boxes of chocolates, $230 life-sized teddy bears and custom Valentine’s Day cards at an outrageous price.

From balloons to jewelry, conversation hearts to lingerie, there is no shortage of “special things” to buy for your “special someone” on this very “special day.”

Then there’s the idea of doing something special instead of just buying it — which, if done right, is the best way to celebrate (in my opinion). 

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I’m not talking about going out to dinner or arranging a horse-drawn carriage ride (the latter of which isn’t available in Oxford anyway). Things like that are still all money-based, though the idea of giving your time is still infinitely more romantic than just spending your cash. 

Writing love letters, cooking dinner, going stargazing — those are much better. But they can still be monetized, and they are, from personalized calligraphy love letters on Etsy to literally “purchasing” your loved one a star.

Two years after I first began to publicly hate on Valentine’s Day’s money-grubbing tendencies, the materialistic qualities of the holiday are only getting worse.

This year, though, I can’t just say that I don’t like Valentine’s Day because it’s overly capitalistic. If I do, it just sounds like I’m making excuses — especially since four of my closest friends entered into relationships over the last few months.

I’m ridiculously happy for them all, but I can’t complain to them about my dislike for the holiday. After all, many people enjoy it, and they’re going to have partners on Valentine’s Day — why should my supposed cynicism ruin that for others?

So maybe this year is the year I don’t complain (at least not out loud — obviously, this article’s being published, so there’s that). 

There are plenty of things I can do on Valentine’s Day that don’t have to do with romance. Gregory Maguire, the author of “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West,” is coming to Miami as part of the Lecture Series that night. It’s a Monday, so you know Brick’s karaoke night will be hopping. And I’m sure I will have no shortage of homework to do for my Tuesday classes.

In the interest of trying to seem like I’m not the pessimistic hater that my dislike of Valentine’s Day may make me out to be, this year is the year I ignore the day of love. My friends can have their fun and I will have mine.

Don’t worry, though. 

I’ll complain about it again next year.

Love, Ames