People who know me well will tell you I don’t like being told what to do; I’ll decide what I do and, as I say, “YOU don’t tell me”.
So, naturally, I don’t like these days in which we are all told en masse that we WILL and HAVE TO celebrate something by spending up big, and that if we don’t, it shows we don’t care.
Today is Valentine’s Day in Australia, when we are all supposed to be romantic. There’s something creepy about being told by commercial enterprises that this is the day we will do something romantic with our partner: like a nasty voyeur watching through a peephole, or a dastardly puppeteer surveying her handiwork.
I’m NOT going to be shamed into buying roses, chocolate hearts or a $9 card.
I might, however, make my beloved a special dinner: so instead of shopping for a card with a big red heart, I’ll more likely be buying a big red tomato today! I like that better.
I’m not averse to receiving a dozen red roses, and my husband has often had them delivered to me on special occasions, such as our wedding anniversary. But they are outrageously expensive, and—truthfully—on Valentine’s Day, I’d rather have the money!
The Valentine’s Day supporters would say that makes me unromantic, but why? Because I don’t want to join the party with everyone else? Well I say, two’s company and anything more is just a crowd.
In addition, I don’t like the way a commercialised enterprise makes a significant proportion of the population feel sad, inadequate or lonely.
A good friend remarked to me today that although he appreciated exactly what commercial rubbish Valentine’s Day was, because reminders of it were everywhere you looked, it still had the power to make people feel sad if they were single but would prefer not to be.
I come from New Zealand, though I now live in Australia. Growing up, I can’t remember ever celebrating Valentine’s Day there. I knew about it, because I lived in the US for a few years when I was aged 10-12, and it was big even then, in the 1970s.
Back then, the done thing was to give a Valentine’s Day card to every student in your class, which I did in the first year. Only trouble was, I inadvertently missed out one girl: Erin was her name. She was a nice girl, though quiet, and I always felt bad that I’d forgotten her. I hope she isn’t now writing a post somewhere about how she was forever traumatised because at school she was the only person left out of Caron’s Valentine’s Day card delivery. Sorry, Erin!
Over the last few years particularly, the pressure to celebrate days such as Valentine’s has become much greater than it used to be. Weeks, and sometimes even months before the day, shops are full of reminders. You feel like a heel if you don’t participate. Now don’t get me started on the commercialisation of Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas and Easter…