When Chaucher first wrote, and I’m paraphrasing into modern English here, “For this was on St. Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate,” I’m sure he could have never envisioned the red, glittery madness that would descend upon the shelves of the Dollarama for the six weeks between Christmas and the middle of February.
Whether you love it, hate it or you’re just plain indifferent, Valentine’s Day is here again. It’s a strange little “holiday” that gives sitcoms and romantic comedies an excuse for setting up the most unlikely of pairs. It also puts pressure on existing couples to spend the right amount of money to translate their affections while bringing out the cynicism of their single counterparts.
It turns out that so-called “right” amount of money is twice as high for men as it is for women. According to Wisebread.com, the average man spends around $150 while women shell out around $85. Maybe it’s because those men were shelling out for that most cliché of hot ticket romantic items, a dozen long-stemmed red roses – florists have been known to nearly double their prices during this time, one of their busiest seasons of the year. Try a pair of Gerber daisies in your partner’s favorite color or a luscious houseplant that will live on longer than flowers.
Another of the most common Valentine’s Day gifts is the quintessential heart-shaped box of chocolates. About.com reports that a stunning 36 million of them will be sold this year, making that one of the most popular gifts behind the standard greeting card.
Speaking of tasty treats, there are two particular types of candies that make an appearance only on Valentine’s Day and unsurprisingly, they’re both heart-shaped: cinnamon hearts and conversation hearts. While cinnamon hearts are my favorite, they aren’t quite as iconic as those little pastel-colored sugar cakes bearing witty messages like “Be Mine” and “Email Me.” It takes candy manufacturers nearly eleven months of the year to make the 8 billion candy hearts that are consumed during the short six week season when they’re on the market.
For many, a good Valentine’s date will lead to a happy ending. Condom sales are 20-30% higher than usual around Valentine’s Day, according to condom manufacturer Durex. A word of warning about the sexy, sugar-high bedroom shenanigans: more at-home pregnancy tests are sold in the month of March than any other month of the year.
Finally, Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to alienate single people. As a society, we focus almost exclusively on the romantic type of love that we almost forgot to acknowledge other types of love that may be as important to us. Why should we be limiting ourselves to that one version of love? No one is ever truly alone on Valentine’s Day when they’re surrounded by family and friends. And remember the ultimate joy of the holiday: once it’s over anyone can reap the rewards of half price chocolate on February 15th.
Photo Credits: 1 – WikiMedia Commons 2- Someecards.com 3- Tumblr: vintagevvaalleennttiinneess