I hate Valentine’s Day. I have nothing against St. Valentine, but man, it must suck to have your feast day appropriated by the Spawns of Satan. By which I mean, of course, jewelry stores.
I hate jewelry stores. They (along with their partners in crime, the commemorative holiday card stores) have turned Valentine’s Day into something that would have the real St. Valentine rolling over in his grave. The reason the stores appropriated V-day is that it’s strategically positioned in the calendar. Think about the progression. First, your wallet takes a huge hit on Christmas. After it starts to heal up from the bloody reaming it’s received, now the jewelry stores have pushed another holiday where they can expect you to fork out another huge wad of cash for your girl on Valentine’s. All that money for a little tiny rock that several Africans probably died for. (At least that’s what the movie Blood Diamond teaches us.) But if there’s anything I hate more than jewelry stores, it’s the jewelry store commercials on TV. I know you’ve seen them. They’re all the exact same thing: girl sitting around when her guy walks up to her and pops up with a box. Girl gets a huge look of surprise (fake of course, since the girl damn near well EXPECTS the jewelry on Valentine’s) and then hugs her guy and kisses him, or some such.
Jewelry store commercials suck because they pander to the most ridiculous expectations in women.
They plant the subliminal message that if Your Guy is not spending a Large Percentage of his Monthly Paycheck for you on a Non-Holiday, then he must be Total Scum. Even the capital letters are included in the subliminal message, trust me. I can think of no other holiday or occasion where it becomes socially acceptable for a woman to become angry if her guy doesn’t buy her something, but the reverse is not true. See, with Christmas and birthdays and such, of course, the buying and giving goes both ways.
Which brings us to the point about lopsidedness. Valentine’s Day and the jewelry stores have programmed women to expect jewelry from their guy, but What does the guy get? You don’t see any commercials where the girl surprises her guy with a diamond-studded watch or anything. “That’s cause guys don’t care for frivolous shiny rocks,” you point out. Good point! Well, I don’t know about you, but I haven’t seen too many “Hey ladies! Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to buy your guy a new high-def TV!” Best Buy commercials lately.
There is of course that even-faker holiday, Steak and Blowjob Day, which is supposedly on March 14. Some guys proclaim that guys should get this holiday in return for V-day, the theory being, women get all this stuff on V-day, so a month later it should be all about the guy, and they get to eat a nice juicy steak and get some head. It sounds nice in theory, but that doesn’t even come close to being equal. How much does an average steak cost? $15-25? Even a really nice steak doesn’t cost much more. And a BJ? According to Dan Savage, sex and love advice columnist of Savage Love, oral should be accepted and provided routinely in any healthy relationship, by both sides. (As an aside, see his take on V-day in an interview on the Onion AV Club.) So according to him, it’s something that should already be expected on a constant basis in a healthy relationship, not just on any “special” day.
$15 steak vs. ridiculously expensive piece of jewelry. I see some disparity here. Now, how do Asians do it?
In Japan, things are done differently. On V-day in Japan, girls AND ONLY GIRLS are supposed to give something (usually chocolates) to their guys, as well as their male coworkers and bosses and such. Since you’re supposed to give them to everybody, the chocolates usually have no more significance than those little Valentine cards you gave to everybody in your class in elementary school. Then, as a complement, March 14th is White Day. This is where the guys return the favor and give something white – such as maybe white chocolate – to the girls. (Never mind that the more clever guys have started giving other white things… like lacy lingerie.)
Chocolate vs. white chocolate is much more even than jewelry vs. steak, if you ask me.
Asians take it even further, and in Korea they celebrate Black Day, on April 14th. This is a day where guys who don’t have girlfriends gather around and eat jajyungmyun, a noodle dish with black bean sauce. I guess it is meant to be an official hey-please-feel-sorry-for-us-single-guys-too day, but it does sort of sound like a glorified sausagefest holiday, now that I think about it.
The moral of the story is that jewelry stores suck. If you are a girl under their sway, or worse, a guy who’s been living with such for so long that you even expect it of yourself to fork out that kind of cash, please, get help now. Find an Asian buddy to explain the economics to you. (Why an Asian buddy? Cause they’re good at math, of course.) If on the other hand you are a girl who has not been brainwashed by the jewelry store commercials and does not expect several hundred dollars worth of glittery stuff for V-day, I congratulate you; you receive the BAM Seal of Approval. Now, what say you and I go somewhere nice for Valentine’s tonight?