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Wednesday, February 14, 2007
The Day of Love
Valentine's Day has arrived once again and I, for one, must say I'm glad it's finally here. And it's not because I'll be celebrating the day tonight with a particular special someone, but becuase all of the Valentine's Day ads on television and the radio will end today.

Before you go and call me bitter because I've only celebrated one Valentine's Day with a significant other in my 34 year of existence on earth, let me say that I don't mind a day that is all about showing the people you love that you care about them. Personally, I think this should be something you're doing every day, not just on Valentine's Day, but that's a rant for another time.
What I dislike about the marketing of Valentine's Day pretty much goes back to what I disliked about the marketing of Christmas--namely that if you love someone, you'd better get out there and spend a ton of cash on them finding the perfect present. OK, so maybe part of it is a bit of jealousy over those who can afford to drop a few hundred or a cool grand on their significant other. But to me, all these jewelry store ads seem to place the price of the gift over the actual thought behind it.

I swear, every time I hear that stupid Kay Jewelers commercial about how every "kiss begins with Kay," I think, "Yeah, something else rhymes with Kay too..." It reminds me of this segment on Family Guy a few years ago where the tag line is "Diamonds....she'll pretty much have to."

As a single person, I don't begrudge those who are in happy, stable relationships the joy of celebrating it on this day. And I certainly gave into the marketing, buying cards for my family and sending them. I am not sure my niece and nephew really understand the concept of Valentine's Day beyond the fact that they probably get heart-shaped cookies at school and exchange Valentine's with their classmates. (My nephew has Superman, my neice has Disney princess ones...they're cute). I'm pretty sure my nephew appreciated more my coming over to see them Saturday and helping him find his etch-a-sketch more than the card. Or my neice appreciated more me showing her how to talk under water at the pool a few weeks ago. But, still, they got cards. I figure when you're young you should learn the mail can be fun, not just a box full of envelopes with little windows that require a check sent back in return.

One thing I've found interesting this year is how the marketing of the big day of romance is evolving. I read countless stories about anti-Valentine's Day cards that you could send. Interesting idea, from a marketing standpoint. Also, I read an article in the Washington Post yesterday where retailers were encouraging singles to feel better about the day by splurging on themselves.

But I have to ask--if you're a single person, do you really need an excuse to indulge or splurge on yourself?

Also, as I read the article and think about it, it makes me wonder. I've worked with ministries for single adults and one obstacle we face in getting them off the ground is getting singles out of their comfort zone. Not to be rude, be we single folks can be very myopic. We get very concerned all about ourselves and sometimes it can be hard to break out of our patterns of selfishness. So, I wonder if this whole idea of "splurge on yourself" isn't reinforcing that pattern of behavoir in singles.

Of course, all of this comes down to one thing: money. Retailers want you and I to get out there and spend some money--whether it's on ourselves or that special someone. I went in Wal-Mart the other day and was assualted by flowers, candy, cookies, stuffed animals and other ways to celebrate the day pulled to the front of the store. (All of this will be on clearance starting at midnight tonight, I'm sure) And it's not just Wal-Mart--it's probably most retailers around.

And I can see why you'd be bitter about it, if you buy into that. Oh, I'm not getting a great gift this year from someone. I'm not going out to eat. I'm not getting roses at work.

But I am not going to let it get me down. I'm not going to become bitter and jaded. I am glad for my friends, family and those around me who have found someone special to enjoy the day with. I hope that you make every day like Valentine's Day for those special people in your life. Make sure they know they're loved and apprecaited every day. And if you're like me and single, don't feel pressured to go out and spend money, hoping it will make you feel better.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/14/2007 09:27:00 AM | |
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