Valentine’s Day: The Holiday for the Genuine Romantic?

By Austin Lammers

As we all probably have noticed, Christmas vacation and finals week have passed at an alarming rate. Our 14 day weekend, followed by a food hangover, followed by a week of forgetting all past materials during tests, followed by another four day weekend, have come and gone with the disposal of many calendars. What’s next? The holiday for romantics, hopeless or not, and 16-year-olds who think they are romantics, of course.

Decorative snowflakes and Santas are replaced with enlarged hearts and caricatures of Cupid. Big bouquets of flowers plucked from the earth, gourmet chocolate, and paper cards flushed with multiple tints of red fill the checkout aisles of stores across the country. December’s season of giving skips a month and sprints straight to February.

According to the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association, the average human spends around $130 on Valentine’s Day alone, making the day an $18.6 billion business. Florists sell thousands and thousands of gardens worth of roses. Chocolate factories put up sales that Willy Wonka would take pride in. Jewelry retailers strike gold all over again. For their customers, every kiss may begin with “K,” but for them, the profit from every diamond they sell ends with it. Card companies sell 180 million cards, enough paper to print this article way too many times than you probably should.

"vintage valentine card: elephant" from Karen Horton on Flickr
“vintage valentine card: elephant” from Karen Horton on Flickr

So why, on this one day, do we attempt to spoil our special ones? It seems as if Valentine’s Day giving is more of an obligation than something done out of appreciation or kindness. If you fail to present something to your better half on this day, you will most likely be left alone with your worse half. But shouldn’t the showing of one’s affection to another be an ordinary occasion? To some, it is. These people are usually called “happy.” To others, it is not. These people will eventually be called “single.”

Valentine’s Day, in most cases, pressures the male to leave his counterpart as far from dissatisfied as possible. Asking his friends for ideas, realizing most of them are terrible, and finally thinking of something in the final moments before the reveal are all steps of a sequence I have commonly witnessed in preparation for this day. However, this cycle doesn’t apply to everyone’s situation. Some males my age are actually very creative, and I applaud them for their well planned, thought out ideas. Thinking of something original, sweet, and not completely horrendous, is quite a feat today, since many ideas become overused as each year passes.

Eventually, someone, whose name I do not know, had become weary of this annual arrangement. He birthed a new, original idea, which included flipping the load onto the female race; hence, the application of TWIRP week. This being, whoever he is, called for not just one day dedicated to baked treats, matching outfits, decorative ties, and pictures flooding every social media website, but five. Many students bought into this idea. Why? Not only is it a unique way to showcase a mixture of affection and creativity, but homemade baked goods are always fair compensation for wearing bright colored, glittery, and attention-grabbing clothing for a week.

Despite the twist, the creator of TWIRP week did have some decency. Leaving a day to force males to come up with something genuinely tender, or laughably awful, was clearly the fairest decision. Even if a part of your sweetheart’s gift on the last day of TWIRP week is a stuffed teddy bear larger than an adult grizzly itself, a bag of Hershey kisses, cheap flowers from Safeway, or all three, having it include something remotely sentimental is always a wise strategy to make yourself look romantic. Not only will you seem charming and bright, but it will make the one who slaved over custom T-shirts and chocolate chip cookies for a week feel special themselves. Letting someone know they are important, exquisite, and unique, despite the holiday’s coerciveness, is always worth it.

"Valentine's Day" by Alan Light on Flickr
“Valentine’s Day” by Alan Light on Flickr