I’m about to write the one post you would never expect a professional matchmaker to write. So, first, let me clarify that I was actually a matchmaker. Yes, that was my “real” job and one that I loved.
This time of year is the Super Bowl of my industry – lots of events, lots of media attention, lots of new client requests. You would think I should just shut my mouth and enjoy the ride. However, I can’t…because I hate Valentine’s Day.
Yes, that’s how I truly feel and let me give you the 7 reasons why…
1) You get “penalized’ if you’re not in a relationship
Let’s face it, nothing is worse than being alone on Valentine’s Day. At least, that’s what our society tells us. Several studies suggest that being alone on Valentine’s Day can cause depression in both teenagers and adults.
2) You get “penalized” if you’re in a relationship
I’ve been married 15 years and I still feel the stress to “make something extravagant happen” on Valentine’s Day. The pressure doesn’t come from my wife, but from everyone else who asks me (and my wife gets similar questions, too), “What big surprise are you planning for your wife this year, Paul?” “How many roses is she getting this year?” “You know girls love diamonds Paul, are you giving her some?” And on and on. The second she or I hint at doing something “low-key” on Valentine’s Day, the eyes start to roll.
3) People make wild purchases they really can’t afford
Guess when the most profitable time of year for matchmakers and online dating sites is? That’s right, Valentine’s Day. I notice with my matchmaking agency this is the time of year when inquiries for services spike.
I’ve had many clients tell me that it was so important they attempt to find a mate that they have delayed buying a car they needed or they made other significant sacrifices – which indicates that this was not a service they could truly afford. This “holiday” drives a “desperation” on the part of many. And, as a result, price is no longer important (the sad thing is corporations know this, which brings me to my next point).
4) We all get price-gouged
When would someone in their right mind pay $500 for a couple’s dinner, or $150 for flowers, or $75 for a box of chocolates? NEVER… except on Valentine’s Day. Nearly every business inflates their prices on Valentine’s Day. The crazy thing is, we all know about this artificial inflation and STILL line up to get ripped off.
5) It prematurely forces people in or out of relationships
The days leading up to Valentine’s Day and the days right after are some of the busiest in the romance “game.” It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that days leading up to (and on) Valentine’s Day, are the most popular for proposals and exclusive dating commitments.
Care to guess what the days following Valentine’s Day are most popular for? That’s right, break-ups. I’m not saying these are couples would not have eventually committed to each other or broken up with each other, anyway. But, the Valentine’s Day season brings about feelings of “do or die,” and ultimatums never help a relationship.
6) Kids are indoctrinated too young
My 3-year-old is ridiculously excited about Valentine’s Day. Almost too much so. What does he know about it? You give and get gifts. That’s it. I know this is where parents need to step in, but it’s damn hard when the country wraps up the Christmas holidays, and it feels like almost immediately after, every store inundates us with Valentine’s Day promotions. I chalk this up to corporate programming at it’s best (bringing me to my next point).
7) Inappropriate focus on gifts
Love takes on many forms. According to Dr. Gary Chapman, we actually give and receive love in 5 ways, but if you were dropped on this planet on Valentine’s Day, you would think it’s all about gifts and nothing else. Buy this, buy this, buy this, is the theme EVERYWHERE we go and that messaging impacts us psychologically. So much so, that we’re programmed to believe gifts are the single most important tool to obtain and receive love (and it’s not – quality time is significantly more important).
Let me end by saying despite all this hating on Valentine’s Day I just did, I am, ironically, a romantic. However, the commercialization (of all holidays) just ain’t working. Sure, it generates billions of dollars and I’m sure some economists can trace that back to more jobs, country security, etc., BUT we’re being negatively impacted, as well. In my opinion, the corporate takeover of Valentine’s Day is doing far more harm than good for relationships today and, more importantly, relationships tomorrow.