Love Is in the Air; Make it Stop

♪Love is in the air
Everywhere I look around
Love is in the air
Every sight and every sound♪ (John Paul Young)

At no time, does this song ring more true than at Valentine’s Day. It starts; right after Christmas. You walk into any store and there are hearts everywhere, pink ones, red ones, white ones. There are balloons, flowers, pink and red stuffed animals, heart shaped chocolates, and plenty of cards. Television commercials show us the perfect place to take our love, a weekend getaway, a romantic dinner for two. On the radio, we hear commercials that remind us how nothing says love more than jewelry; a diamond is Forever, and every kiss begins with Kay. Love is in the air, every sight, and every sound!

Retailers prey on the basic human desire to love and be loved. While the retail industry looks forward to expected sales of 14 billion dollars, many people are only looking forward to the end of the Valentine season.

In 2005, an Oregon man was arrested for attempting to arrange a mass suicide on an Internet chat room. As many as 32 people planned to commit suicide while on-line on Valentine’s Day, including one woman who intended to kill her 2 small children before killing herself. While this is an extreme case of suicide gone wrong; depression, stress, and suicide attempts, are very real, and are all too common, side effects of Valentine’s Day.

Just this morning someone told me that Valentine's Day should be called Singles Awareness day, because if you’re single on that day, you are very much aware.

Picture this, an elementary school, children eating candy hearts, and cupcakes. They open their little paper bags full of valentines. They’re all talking and sharing candy, except for one little girl in the back of the room; The Cootie Girl. No one likes the cootie girl, when they do talk to her, it is only to tease and poke fun at her. The teacher has made it very clear that no one goes without on Valentines Day, so the little girl sits quietly smiling at all the cards she got from all her friends. This is a good thing, right?!

Wrong! What we are doing is telling our children that you must buy something for everyone on Valentine’s Day, and that you should expect to receive things on Valentine’s Day. This is a theme that will carry through their adult lives.
For those that are alone, on Valentine’s Day, all that love in the air just screams: “If you don’t have a valentine to buy you stuff there must be something wrong with you. After all, even The Cootie Girl gets a Valentine.”

Valentine stress and depression is not just limited to those people without someone. For those that have a loved one to spend the day with, all the retail marketing just serves to remind you of how you need to get the perfect gift, and make it better than last year’s. Faced with this stress, 38% of men actually contemplate terminating the relationship rather than deal with the stress of choosing a really good gift.

This year the average male will spend $135 on Valentines gifts, but the average female will only spend $72. The common expectation is that men must spend more. Guys, if you’re not sure how much you must spend, don’t worry, there are plenty of websites that will tell you just what is expected of you. You can’t go wrong, well, unless you just don’t have the money because you spent it all on the diamond bracelet for her at Christmas.

A holiday that started as a humble Pagan tradition of pairing single men and women together in the hopes of marriage, has become a day on which we base our own self worth. Am I worthy of receiving a gift, how much does he really love me? Am I loved at all? It is a day on which we judge the strengths of our relationships. How much do I spend on her? What if he doesn’t like it? What if it’s too much, too soon? What will she think of me?

Have any of you ever thought these things? Do you base your value on what you receive? Do you struggle with what to buy?

My plea to you is to stop supporting this day that leads many to feel like they have failed for either not having someone to spend the day with, or not having the money to spend on the loved one they have. Instead, make everyday a special one for those you love.

♪Cupid, please hear my cry, and let your arrow fly ♪ (Sam Cooke)

After Reading Mama Kat's story of her husband buying her roses on Valentine's Day, I was reminded of this speech I wrote a couple years ago. I have updated the numbers a little bit to reflect the change in our economy, but nothing else has really changed. Americans still go crazy over Valentine's Day.

Even though I didn't follow one of the Writer's Workshop prompts, many other people did. Go check 'em out at Mama's Losin' it. ♪One of these kids is doing her own thing♪

What's your spin on Valentine's day? Go over to Sprite's Keeper, and join in on the Spin Cycle.