If you’re a hopeless romantic, look away now. In this three-minute read, we look at why Valentine’s Day isn’t romantic at all and how you should spend it instead.
Love is in the air… and every shop window, every restaurant, down every supermarket aisle and even in petrol stations (for those partial to a wilting bunch of flowers). Yes, it’s Valentine’s Day. The ultimate ‘holiday’ designed to make you miserable.
Whether you have a significant other or you’re a smug singleton (honestly, having a bed all to yourself without someone snoring or drooling in their sleep is seriously underrated), one thing is for sure, Valentine’s Day is all hype and often no fun.
Welcome to the anti-Valentine’s guide. Where heart-shaped balloons, kiss-covered cards and calorie-laden chocolate boxes are banned.
The ancient origins of Valentine’s Day are unclear, but they may (or may not) have something to do with a Saint Valentine who was executed on or around 14 February. However, it turns out that Valentine was a popular name back then and the Catholic Church has at least three other saints known by that name. So, there’s no clear answer about who he was or what he did.
An alternative explanation goes back to the Romans, who celebrated a month of fertility around this time of year. They marked it by sacrificing goats and dogs, and then slapped women with animal hides to increase their fertility. Sounds well romantic.
The UK’s most famous poet, Geoffrey Chaucer, wrote the first ever Valentine’s Day poem called “The Parliament of Fowls” back in the 14th century. Thanks, Geoff.
Fast forward to the 20th century, and American company Hallmark began mass-producing Valentine’s cards. Last year, Brits sent approximately 145 million cards. Hope they were all recycled!
Spend, spend, spend
If you want to waste your money, there’s no better day for it. In 2022, it’s estimated that Brits spent approximately £1.37 billion on Valentine’s Day, with men spending at least £20 more than women.
For restaurants, Valentine’s Day is a cash cow. Dining rooms are packed with bored couples spending money on cheap fizz and a few rose petals. There are plenty of gift ideas to tempt you to spend, too. But as we’re in a cost-of-living crisis, is that expensive gift worth it? Or would you rather pay for a couple of extra hours of heating instead?
Thankfully, over the last few years, people have started realising the emptiness of declaring your love on just one day of the year. Forget sitting across from your other half while they pick their teeth or drone on about work; celebrate alternatives such as Galentine’s or Palentine’s (a girls’ or friends’ night out).
You’ll have more fun, you’ll have far fewer expectations, and you won’t need to find a vase for a clichéd bunch of roses.
What about you? Do you love Valentine’s Day, or does it make you cringe?