2.14.2012

we like lists: list # 14: three reasons you like/dislike valentine's day

Do you like Valentine's Day? Do you celebrate it or avoid it? Do you celebrate it and avoid it? Tell us why. Three reasons, please.

I don't do Valentine's Day. Here's why.

1. I don't like being told when to be romantic. If everyone is supposed to be romantic at once, where's the romance in that?

2. It's another weapon of mass consumption. Buy, buy, buy, more, more, more.

3. Here's a Valentine's Day story from my childhood. I'm not sure what grade this was in, possibly first. We made paper and cardboard mailboxes, decorated with hearts and whatnot. Then everyone was to make valentines, as they were called, and deliver them to classmates' mailboxes.

My mother had a package of these little valentines. One side was a heart or a goopy picture of a puppy, very cheap stuff, the other side was blank, and you folded it closed. We made a valentine for each child in the class. I don't remember exactly how this happened, but I think my mother must have had a class list. I wrote my name on a bunch of cards, folded them in half, then I think my mother wrote kids' names on the front of the cards.

The next day, Valentine's Day, all the kids went around the classroom delivering their cards to each other's mailboxes. Mine was full of cards, tons of kids had given me valentines, which I think surprised me.

There was one boy in the class who only had one valentine, the one from me. If my mother hadn't set up the project the way she did, he would have had none. No one thought of him.

Valentine's Day is an opportunity for millions of people to feel like that boy must have felt that day, only worse. The card companies, the chocolate companies, the jewelry stores, the florists, the restaurants - it's all a huge set-up for people to feel left out and passed over.

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