There was a time I was really into Valentine’s Day. Loved the fun of planning a surprise and wondering how I would be surprised. Red hearts and chocolates and all the fluffy bears holding stuffed hearts on convenience store, grocery store, and card store shelves weren’t anything I wanted for myself – bears and roses weren’t my preference – but they elicited that Christmas-type anticipation.

Then, one year, it changed. I don’t know why, but it did. And all of the people doing “romantic” things on the same day simply because the date dictated romantic things should be done struck me as far too insincere, if not a little weird, programmed, forced, burdensome, and pressure-filled.

After that, Valentine’s Day started to bother me just on principle. Spontaneous romance was how love should be expressed. All those suckers planning essentially the same evening – dinner, movie, presents, sex – in some kind of Stepford-scheduled event made me feel superior. I was outside of that freakish community. I wasn’t brainwashed. I would do no such thing. I would give gifts on random Tuesdays, not when February hit day 14.

I was no …

I was no …

No what?

No gift-giver? No dinner-planner? No crafty-card-heart-thingy maker?

I thought about Valentine’s Day today, and about how much scorn I’d been directing at people who were simply having a good time finding ways to be sappy and loving.

And I figured, so what if it’s all on one particular day? There are far more pointless “holidays” than one encouraging kissing and candles.

President’s Day, for example.

I don’t think I’m any more interested in participating in Valentine’s Day, now, but I do like that I’m able to see it as kind of sweet. Who cares how the day came to be? So what if companies making anything and everything with hearts on it scoop up billions in profits all because of a contrived “love”day? How can the result be bad? It’s the one day hundreds of thousands of couples set aside to be excessively nice to one another.

I can’t think of a better way for companies to make money. They’re not taking advantage of people – people aren’t stupid. People do it because they like it.

Everybody wins, really.

If you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day, I hope you have a good time. And if you’re someone who’s trapped into it by a partner who likes to celebrate it, if you’re someone who’s frustrated by the greedy bastard corporations looking to sell some stuff and you’re the poor sap dating a girl who’s making you buy that stuff, I hope you allow yourself to try to see the fun in it, and maybe even  use it as the perfect opportunity to do something thoughtful you might not otherwise have done.


Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. Oh, great! Now I have guilt.


  2. I, too, have felt compelled to acknowledge this contrived day and do something I was not interested in doing on the prescribed day, especially since it was close to my birthday and I always had a heart-shaped cake lovingly baked by my Mom.

    But after reading your comments, I feel like going to the craft store to buy some red construction papar, white paper lace and make a valentine for a sweetheart – much like the cute little things we used to exchange in grade school. We bought whole kits of cards and gave the biggest and the best to our favorite friends. And if we had a crush on someone, well, we made one by hand.


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About Kris Tsetsi

Kristen J. Tsetsi is the author of the novels "Pretty Much True..." and "The Year of Dan Palace" and the short fiction collection "20 Short Stories," all published under the name Chris Jane. Website:




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