BY SUZANNE KARIOKI
Not much is known about which Valentine the eponymous holiday is named after and the exact origins are shrouded in mystery, but this hasn’t stopped Americans from spending $4.3 billion on jewelry, $2 billion on flowers, $1.7 billion on candy and countless hours online either posting pictures of their beloved for the envy of others or griping about what a materialistic, vapid hellhole of a holiday it is. There are many different types of people on Valentine’s Day. Here are a few:
The Genuine Enthusiasts
These are the good, pure souls who love to spend their time and money making and sending cards to their loved ones. Some of them go all out making handmade valentines and treats for nothing more than making others happy. Some might not think of it as true holiday like Christmas or the 4th of July, but love to spread cheer regardless. The genuine enthusiasts should be protected at all costs. They are the last of us who experience true, unjaded joy.
These are the single people who actually enjoy the experience of being untethered (not to be confused with the Resigned Singles). Those who are actually comfortable with spending the day on themselves (or with friends) must navigate a minefield of happily attached couples giving them unsolicited advice about how to net the right partner. Luckily for Singles, the ridicule and unwarranted advice isn’t just exclusive to one day - singles can look forward to appearing damaged for the rest of the year, with their apparent happiness becoming less credible with age.
The Resigned Singles
Unlike the Singles above, these are the ones who pretend to enjoy single life because the alternative is constantly being given condescending pats on the head by people in relationships who insist that you’ll “find the right one eventually”. Those who are unhappily single are almost constantly ridiculed by other unhappily single people, who are desperately trying to pretend that wanting to be loved is pathetic. These types usually hate Valentines Day for various reasons, but often enjoy the discount candy the day after.
The Instagram Couple
You’ve posed for a couple of pictures with your significant other and now you have to find just the right filter for Instagram - not because you really want to celebrate your partner, but mostly because you know Kelly hate-follows you and you know she’s going to take screenshots for that other group chat that she insists doesn’t exist. Make sure your new profile picture has the right Valentine's-themed frame that will probably outlast the relationship.
The Neglected Partners
He didn’t get you the right flowers or a big enough ring, and now you’re furious. Part of this is justified - you put a lot of emotional labour into your romantic relationship most of the time, and one day of 365 dedicated to at least minor appreciation seems like it shouldn’t be that big of a deal. The least he could do is run to the nearest convenience store for some wilted flowers and a box of Whitman's. He always seems to forget your birthday and anniversary too, but maybe you’re just overreacting. He did manage to load the dishwasher at least once last week.
You don’t care too much about Valentine’s Day, but you also like seeing everyone’s posts about their partners or the people they love. Maybe you’ll post one of those parody valentines that are mostly puns, or share a picture of yourself smooching some pizza. You like to keep it casual, whether you’re dating someone or not. For you, this is just another day in February to do whatever you want.
The Hipster Casual
We know you don’t care about Valentine’s Day, just like you think that not watching Game of Thrones is a personality trait. When actually dating someone, the Hipster Casual often switches to Secretly Excited type.
The Secretly Excited
You have a boyfriend/girlfriend/partner that you love very much - great! You show them love and affection on the regular and love having a day to be especially sickeningly sweet. If your significant other is the type to be shy about receiving gifts, this is finally your excuse to pamper them (within their limits, of course). Unfortunately for you, you’re also surrounded by people who’re dying to give you lectures about how Valentine’s Day is a commercialized, capitalist invention intended to force you to buy flowers that will die and chocolates you don’t like. Fortunately, these people also have plenty of criticism for birthdays, Christmas and any other “holiday” they can imagine. Do whatever you want.
Whoever you are on Valentine’s Day, there’s no denying the fact that it’s turned into a capitalist juggernaut hell-bent on convincing the proletariat that spending money on flowers and jewelry is equivalent to happiness. Regardless, it’s a day that can be spent with an extra focus on yourself, your partner or any other special person in your life. Valentine’s Day is an oddly controversial holiday considering its minimal importance (at least compared to major religious holidays), but can still be a fun day to show a little extra love for the people you already care about.