I would like to avoid a number of comments that require my “non-approval” decision, so let me preamble this Post first!
Over my fair number of years, I have seen/experienced so much abuse of “power” (in its broadest sense), that I do not automatically respect any form of authority. Respect is, to me, something that is earned. It is really that simple but, as you can probably imagine, it has caused a few issues over the years with a few bosses (and law enforcement officials)!
Businesses that try and manipulate me for profit get no respect, and manipulation to me is trying to make me feel a lesser person unless I buy (whatever). Having said that, while I recognize Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving as causes for recognition, this Post would be much too long if I explained my position with them… but today is Valentine’s Day!
In my early years in England, Valentine’s Day was not celebrated, but rather was treated with some degree of disdain as just another American tasteless profit making venture. It slowly developed into buying a card and a nominal gift (flowers or chocolates), but seemed to be used more by dating couples rather than married couples. When I left the UK, married couples were adopting the idea of celebrating the day with a small gesture of some sort.
The American image in England at that time, was of a country whose people had more money than they knew what to with, and were therefore gullible for anything! (Remember the sale of London Bridge?). Since that time, it seems pretty clear that the English are generally just as gullible, but just take a little longer to “get there”!
I recently read a description of a Valentine’s Day celebration (albeit fiction) which included “announcing their Valentine gifts to each other”. Do people really now treat Valentine’s Day as a mini-Christmas? Just like the profiteering at our expense (if we allow it) with the other holidays, it does pose some perhaps uncomfortable questions.
If February 14 is determined to be the day that one might get spoiled as a show of affection, what happens over the other 364 days of a year? Some of you do not limit yourself to one a day, but so many do. Is this much different from helping out those less fortunate at Christmas, but then ignoring their plight for the rest of the year? Why do we accept all the commercial hype that precedes a celebration when we know very well that it is totally driven by exploitation for profit?
Then there is the less than happy alternative side to Valentine’s Day. Imagine somebody who does not have a “special somebody” to spoil them today. Imagine trying to cope with rejection, isolation and/or depression, when seemingly all around you are people buying/receiving gifts. Of course the “advertising machine” does not really help those individuals but then, its sole purpose for existence is to make a profit at our expense.
So where do I stand on Valentine’s Day? On the side of discretion; of not succumbing to commerce, but rather keep “the day” within conservative limits. As for those less fortunate individuals? They will just have to accept that Valentine’s Day will probably exclude them. That does not however give me the right to flaunt my particularly fortunate circumstances, which I am doing by supporting various business that specifically market to this occasion.
The free enterprise system of business is dictated by supply and demand. If we want to buy something, then somebody will make it. Conversely, if there was no demand for something, then the businesses would have to adapt or fail.
Making a show of affection does not need to entail spending anything, with a bit of creativity. Most couples that I know have, over the years, adopted routines which have invariably become a habit (i.e. the woman does the laundry). Perhaps if the man took on the stereotypical female roles for Valentine’s Day? Perhaps instead of “going with the commercial flow” of a Valentine’s Day card and a bouquet of flowers (and perhaps even a gift or two), go out to dinner? Perhaps the couple could jointly prepare (and clean up after) a special dinner? Those creative individuals can probably make a card without too much trouble, and wouldn’t you rather receive a personal card, rather than a store bought one with some standard messaging printed inside?
Finally, given that most of us are complaining about government taxes; the cost of gasoline; increased cost of some foods, and the strict controls on wage/salary increases… perhaps we really should look at lower cost, and possibly more meaningful, ways of expressing our affection?