Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Valentine's Day Secrets Revealed
Valentine’s Day is the one single holiday that makes many women feel like failures because they don’t have a significant other showering them with roses and poetry. Ironically, while many couples get engaged on Valentine’s Day others break up right before Valentine’s Day. What gives? Why is there so much importance attached to Valentine’s Day? Is it a plot by retailers? Lastly, how do guys feel about Valentine’s Day? Today, I will answer these questions and more.
The origin of Valentine’s Day can be traced back to the Roman Empire. Valentine was a priest who served during third century Rome. Emperor Claudius II decided all his soldiers should be single so they could be more focused on their work. With this thought in mind he outlawed marriage for young men. Supposedly, Valentine decided this was unfair and chose to marry young couples secretly. When Emperor Claudius II found out about Valentine's actions he had him put to death. So you can see that Priest Valentine really was a friend to young lovers. So where did all the cards come from?
That brings up another legend that Valentine was an imprisoned man who fell in love with his jailor's daughter. Before he was put to death he sent the first 'valentine' himself when he wrote her a letter and signed it 'Your Valentine', words still used on cards today. It is hard to say if either story is true, but they are both romantic. Romance is what Valentine’s Day is all about.
February 14th is when we are supposed to remind our beloved what we love about them. If we have a secret crush then it is the day we might reveal ourselves with a card or text. This is also the day men can make extravagant gestures to remind their love how special she is. No wonder this is also the time retailers double or tripled the price on red roses since they symbolize love. With all this love in the air why do couples break up before the day?
Male feedback blames the holiday for the breakup. Women expect too much what ever they do is not enough. They’ve been burned before by a girlfriend who was angry at them for not doing Valentine’s Day right. Then there is the expense of it…booking dinner reservations, a nice gift and a card can be pricey. The biggest reason to break up before Valentine’s Day is the commitment factor. Many women hint they want to get engaged on Valentine’s Day and the man doesn’t feel the same way. Some dating couples feel spending Valentine’s Day together would make the relationship more serious than it really is.
Not all men are anti-valentine’s day. My own stepbrother enjoys surprising his wife every year with a unique piece of jewelry designed just for her. They’ve been married for a while so she may not be as surprised as she was the first dozen or so times. Many men are hopeless romantics and planned for weeks to make Valentine’s Day perfect for their sweetie. Probably just as many women are hard at work planning for their guy. But is this just a retail generated holiday?
Why is Valentine’s Day so important? It is because you hear about it more. It is only second to Christmas in advertising dollars spent. I used to work for a florist and we prepped for Valentine’s Day for a month because 70% of the year’s income was generated by February 14th. Everyone seems to jump on the bandwagon about advertising. You can get cookies, cupcakes, chocolate, cards, flowers, balloons and stuffed animals at your local grocery store. Just imagine what is for sale at Hallmark or a jewelry store. The Beatles used to sing about “can’t buy me love,” but most retailers would have you believe otherwise.
Advertising depends on two types of selling creating a desire for the item and fear if you don’t have it. Women who are exposed to countless commercials about a particular diamond pendant decide they must have it. If their sweetie really loved them then he would get it. The same process happens with weekend getaways and flowers. Of course, the men are not motivated by desire, but by fear. If he doesn’t get the right gift he’ll be in the doghouse or she’ll break up with him.
Honestly, none of this seems terribly practical in our current tight economy. Any gift from the heart to let your sweetie know how special he or she is should be enough. If you really love each other a homemade gift is more than enough. When I care about someone I want to make their gift because I can personalize it and put more love into it. I want it to be a unique gift celebrating us.
If your valentine rejects your gift that you slaved over, think of that as your gift. You got to see him or her for the person he or she really is. You now know not to waste any more time making them gifts or with them in general. A bittersweet valentine, but one you will be grateful for as weeks past.
As for Valentine’s Day making you feel like a loser—that happens only if you let it. I like to buy lots of Valentines…even the kid ones and give them out to all my friends and co-workers. Everyone benefits from knowing they are loved. Do something nice for yourself on Valentine’s Day and if you have a special someone then you can do something nice for them too. Happy Valentine’s Day.
What’s your favorite way to celebrate Valentine’s Day?