You know what I like about Valentine's Day? Cards and candy. No more than that. And that joy dissipates pretty much the instant you hit junior high and instead of giving everyone in your class a Valentine and reveling in the cute and funny cards while gorging yourself on sweets, you start having to quench emotional fires between your classmates because people didn't get Valentines from the person they wanted.
Oh yeah, and when I say 'candy,' I mean actual food, not those chalky imitation Rolaids with cheesy phrases on them which are somehow supposed to express true emotion AND be tasty. Epic fail on both counts.
Am I cynical when it comes to this holiday? You bet your cupid's diapered butt I am. Does it relate to never really having a 'good' Valentine's Day? Not really. I've had a couple good ones, none of them romantic in the traditional sense, but very good nonetheless. Is it because more than any other holiday I see it as a commercial gimmick to get people to spend ridiculous amounts of cash trying to cram all their caring for someone into one day while simultaneously making those of us without a 'special someone' to lavish these attentions on feel like utter shit for not being able to hook someone for this 'special day'? Yeah, that may be it.
Honestly, I think the best way to have Valentine's Day is the way we do it as kids: everyone gets a Valentine, even those you don't particularly like, because everyone deserves a day to feel special (or at least not left out). Everyone gets some yummy candy, because everyone deserves some now and again. We spend an hour or so reading our silly notes and giggling about Choo-choo-choosing someone to be our Valentine and spend the rest of the day sneakily trading candy beneath our desks, and then we move on with our lives.
And the people who are truly special to us? They have birthdays and bigger holidays and every days for us to make them feel special and loved. February 14th might as well be Everyone Day if it's about showing affection for people, but that's not exclusive enough for marketing purposes, so we go with the feast day of a random martyr and a set-up courtesy of the creators of chivalry and suddenly there's a toddler with a bow and arrow shooting shafted hearts at people, demanding we couple up and spend hundreds of dollars on dinner, drinks and some jewelry.
At least this day, sadly like so many more important holidays, disappears the next day and won't even be thought of again for about 340 days.