St Valentine’s is here again and you can run, but you cannot hide. Completely.
This celebration was introduced to us Northern consumers when I was a kid. Considering that showing any emotion requires a Herculean effort from any Nordic, suggesting that we should parade our romantic feelings in public just because Hallmark had a special card for it was supposed to be a tall order, but here we are, adding pink hearts to our Facebook profile photos like we were born to do it (don’t get me wrong, I like Valentine’s: Easter chocolates appear in shops immediately after the last heart-shaped crap has been cleared back to storage-rooms where it belongs. For me Valentine’s marks the beginning of my relationship with Lindt’s golden chocolate bunnies, so really it is something to look forward to each year).
So, the festival of tat hits us again tomorrow. I see with my mind’s eye the current slow processions of men, sweating in their winter-coats, making their slow and desperately last-minute ways towards the various women’s underwear departments to do what is expected of them: to purchase something bold, something see-through, something polyester and something bijou (and also very likely fuchsia) for the woman (or women, come to think of it) of their lives.
If we are to believe the marketing departments of, well, pretty much any company that manufactures stuff, Valentine’s is the party of heterosexual couples in which the man is expected to buy extremely tasteless (and, again, pink) things for the lady of his life to demonstrate his undying love. Therefore the men should not be accused for falling for the crazy paraphernalia – they are told to do so. The whole Universe goes insanely patriarchal before Valentine’s and tries to convince us that it is the man’s job to get his woman some sparkly baubles mid-February.
There’s also a thing called the Galentine’s Day, which the Parks and Recreation – people came up with a couple of years back. It’s basically celebrating Valentine’s with your girlfriends as an “up yours” at the couple-obsessed society. I’m lukewarm to the idea, although I don’t understand why the actual Valentine’s should merit
such any spin-off – in a relationship or not, why should we find more ways to acknowledge the presence of this festivity?
Not everybody is in a relationship and not everybody has girlfriends (I wonder if Galentine’s can also be celebrated with male friends?) to invite over for a pyjama-party with pancakes and bubbles (I’m sensing that Galentine’s is becoming exactly as cookie-cutter manufactured-a-product as the original it intends to satirize). As regards organising a Galentine’s party – well, I can only speak for myself, but even if I were to invite people to come sit around my living room in their nightgowns and munch Pringles tomorrow evening, I know my friends, and they most likely would send me to have my head checked, and also they would not come.
So the morale of this shaky story is the following:
Don’t wait for people to buy you nice things. Buy them yourself. Also when it’s not Valentine’s, but especially when it is. The more fabulous, the better.
Don’t feel like you must have your friends in their nightdresses snacking on hummus and crudités in your home tomorrow, just because some comediennes are saying it’s the new black. Even if the comediennes in question admittedly are very cool.