Valentine’s: the vicious cycle of corporate holiday celebration

It’s that time of year.

I’ve always hated that phrase. “That time of year” could refer to freaking President’s Day just as easily as it could to the topic of this article.

Anyways, Valentine’s. As you are all likely to know, my species reproduces asexually — actually, that’s not technically true, but it’s clear that the worker and scouting drones like myself aren’t getting any action — and my host, being a PC gaming, anime-watching slob, obviously isn’t doing anything either. He’s been making more of an effort lately to get out and try meeting more people, but it’s doubtful he’ll find someone for Valentine’s.

Which is fine. He doesn’t care. Despite what big companies would have you believe, it’s not a deadline or anything.

Typically, this is the time of the year when companies start shoving flowers, heart-shaped candy boxes and sloppily-made romance DVDs into consumers’ faces. As for why they choose to do this, well, we’ve discussed the timing of the holiday in a previous column — it’s totally arbitrary. The backstory regards the legend of St. Valentine of Rome, and how he was imprisoned for marrying soldiers and Christians who were forbidden from marrying. He healed the jailer’s daughter, wrote a goodbye letter signed “Your Valentine,” and that’s why 20th Century Fox is advertising “Deadpool” as a date movie.

Obviously, this has led to Valentine’s being a big cash cow for many industries, from restaurants to entertainment to candy to… well, more perverted industries.

They picked a hell of a time of year to do it, too. Everybody knows that the most romantic season of the year is the period between winter and spring, where everything is dusty and icy and just cold enough to make driving just about impossible. Everyone is sick, cold and busy studying for midterms. Sexy.

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If you’re single, like me and my host, you still can’t escape. Advertisements are everywhere for single’s nights, mixers and other things designed to lure you into corporate America’s sensual trap. Let’s also not forget the great deals people get on post-Valentine’s candy, as stores desperately try to get the Valentine’s stuff off their shelves to prepare for… I don’t know. St. Patrick’s or something?

Always a vicious cycle, it is. After Valentine’s Day, it’s another holiday. After that, it’s Easter. Then 4th of July. Then “back to school” sales. Then Halloween. Then Christmas. Then back to Valentine’s again. It’s like a version of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” in which the main character is motivated by greed rather than boredom, possibly both.

That cycle is vicious towards the consumer, too. It inflicts psychological panic, putting pressure on one partner to try and impress the other with goods bought from the local superstore. After all, if Valentine’s Day rolls around and you learn that your significant other doesn’t have anything in mind, wouldn’t you get upset? That’s where they get you.

Why does one single day need to emphasize romance above all others? You can pick absolutely any day of the year to celebrate your love for your partner.

Anything can be a romantic activity, if done right. If I were a sexual beast, I would find the idea of watching our armies conquer a planet from orbit to be a magnificent sight to share with someone. Alternatively, if you’re of Earth and also not a psychopath, bring your special someone to that 4th of July holiday I just mentioned. If it’s a beautiful day, take them on a hike. If it’s icy and slippery outside, stay in and play some “Diablo” with them online.

Who are corporations to tell us when to love one another? You can choose any day of the year to be more romantic with your partner. Hell, it’d probably be better to do it on your own terms, given that it’ll be a pleasant surprise to them. Sure, you can do it on Valentine’s Day, but sometimes the best romantic ideas can come right out of nowhere.

Just remember to stay smart. Know both of your limitations, and definitely don’t try to force them into situations that they might not be comfortable with.

If you’re single, there’s always “XCOM 2” and half-priced candy. It could be way worse.