By Tom Scully
Like other holidays with a religious origin, such as Christmas and Easter, Valentine’s Day has become a consumer-oriented celebration. Today, many of the people who associate Valentine’s Day with staying in good favor with a wife or girlfriend would be surprised to find out that in Roman times, Valentine was a common name for Christian martyrs.
What these aforementioned holidays have in common is the way that we celebrate them, which entails writing lots of greeting cards and dealing a couple of swift, solid blows to the checking account. Most of all, these holidays in their modern form have more to do with a Macy’s balance than anything near what they once were celebrated for.
This is why to me, Valentine’s Day, a respite from the winter doldrums for the non-single and a focus of more cynical discord for the rest, is just another greeting card holiday. Valentine’s Day can also create consequences in the degree of pressure it places on couples, usually guys, to do something nice for their girlfriend or wife, just because of which day of the year it is. Wanting to buy things for a significant other isn’t wrong, but it isn’t the fundamental reason that people desire to start relationships. Valentine’s Day has become a contrived formality by which couples revalidate their relationships by agonizing over the right romantic gestures to make. It’s probably cliché, but are we conning ourselves by thinking we can put a price on love? Valentine’s Day should teach any person in a relationship that he or she can make these kinds of special gestures to his or her partner all year long. If that doesn’t seem too difficult, a couple will know they are in the right relationship.