Soon, Valentines Day will be upon us once again and once again sales of lingerie, candy, jewelry and more will have cash registers singing the retail praise. According to Forbes, Valentines Day was worth 18.6 Billion dollars in 2013. (source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/abrambrown/2013/02/13/valetines-day-2013-the-18-6-billion-holiday-by-the-numbers-infographic/) It was even higher in 2014 and there are estimates that say this VD Day will be among the largest yet. While this might all be fine and well for the retailers but when one looks deeper at the holiday and the sales numbers, it paints a disturbing picture of this country.
When we as a society put superficial gestures over true emotion, we end up with things like heart shaped candies, chocolate covered strawberries and pajama ads. While Americans are supposedly expression their affection for their significant other, people are still fighting for marriage equality, fighting to be who they are, and just fighting to lead normal lives. Even if we take a moment to ignore the plight of others at this auspicious time to celebrate love and emotion, the bigger message is lost. That message is that you should show the person you love and care about affection every damn day not just once a year.
A large part of the problem is that people in America have gained this impression that we have to prove our worth and our emotion via materialistic affirmations. I am reminded of a story once told to me about a couple who for decades looked like they were deeply committed to one another. It came as a surprise to everyone when they got divorced. When the guy was questioned as to why he wanted a divorce, he proclaimed that his ex was always opposed to having sex. When she was asked the same question, she admitted that she was not always in the mood but that could have quickly been changed had the guy did the dishes, even just once. Now, I am relaying the story as I heard it when I was very young but it stuck with me in a profound way. Love and emotion are about working together and cooperating, not spending money to buy flowers once a year.
We wonder why many people in the rest of the world think we are superficial. We use money in place of sentiment and reality. It is far easier to hide behind a box of candy than to expose our true feelings and hence our weaknesses. In a real sense, we use the trappings of VD day to show that we have no real concept of what true love is. It appears to everyone as if it is a Disney tale when in reality, love is more like Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Love is dirty, grimy, and basically disgusting. Real love is standing with your loved one while they are vomiting their guts out and you are their holding their hair. Real love is when your loved one accidentally cuts themselves and you could care less if your hands are covered in blood as you try to hold the fluid in till the paramedics arrive. Real love is standing by and allowing that significant other to feel the pain of a loss when opening your mouth will only make it worse. There are thousands of other examples I could give but none are pretty or as fancy as a box of candy hearts. We as American’s forget that real love is inconvenience, frustration, aggravation, irritation, and filled with bodily fluids of all types. It is not lace pajamas, chalk flavored hearts, chocolate or roaring fireplaces and bear rugs. Real love is taking the worst and living the best. If we, as American’s could live each day with real love… it might be gross but it would be wonderful.