This past weekend many people all around the world celebrated one of the most important days out there: Valentine’s Day. I place emphasis on the word important because there seems to be an excessively big misunderstanding of this word nowadays. At least that’s my opinion! I’ll come right out and say what I’m thinking: I do not see the value in Valentine’s Day. Do I feel that way because I’ve been single for eons now and I’m bitter about it? That could be a driving factor, but I remember feeling this way even when I was in a relationship. I’m a believer of that old cliche that people often say; when you’re in a loving relationship, everyday should be Valentine’s Day. No, I don’t mean that every single day a grand gesture of undying affection must be made. In fact, I feel like that’s the whole problem behind this ridiculous day. I could understand a day where secret admirers share their feelings for each other through love letters, or couples dedicate time towards a unique way to spend the day together. This is apparently a day of love after all. ALAS, that isn’t enough for our material asses. Expensive jewelry must be bought. Mother nature’s flower reserves harvested. Chocolatiers need to work overtime. Condom sales have to skyrocket out the roof (or not if y’all are wild). It evolves year after year, but 2021 brought us a special edition episode of Valentine’s Day. Time to introduce a new pandemic word: CLOUT.

It sounds like such a stupid term and as much as I’d like to say it’s yet another word uneducated millennials produced, the word and definition makes sense in this case. Clout didn’t start with V-Day. It actually began just short of a year ago when we all went into lockdown. I’ve written several times about the way social media evolved during the pandemic, but clout is a different story. Basically, people are doing the most ‘for the gram’. People like Chair Girl are the pioneers of this initiative (locally anyway). The act of putting oneself or others in danger for the sake of followers and likes is unfathomable, but it’s the world we’re living in these days. In truth, the clout began years back, but it escalated into somewhat of a norm thanks to the effects of Coronavirus. The boredom caused by not having real and tangible hobbies led to social media becoming a bigger outlet than before, which further led to the need for everyone to one-up each other on a grander scale. Now I bring this back to Valentine’s Day, where it seems like 2021 was all about the biggest, fattest, nauseating gestures ever. My whole issue is… if you are making this big ass effort for outsiders to be impressed by, does that really showcase how much you love your partner? Shouldn’t your focus be on how happy you and this person can be together on that day? Am I the crazy one?

I am so tempted to list off some of the ridiculous things I’ve seen gifted this time around, but a few of these people are close to me and I am not about to beef with anyone. Instead, I’ve complained enough and it’s time to take the moral high ground (as I usually do at some point during these written pieces). You might be wondering what my petty behind envisions as romantic since I clearly am not for the Valentine’s fever. First, I’m not petty. Second, I think Valentine’s Day is cute if you work towards it. As I mentioned before, it doesn’t mean much to me if the relationship is stale and routine for the other 364 days of the year. Partnerships require spontaneity and change in order to keep that spark alive; the spark that often goes out and leads to people cheating for the sake of excitement. Yes, that was a loaded judgement, but it wasn’t to cast shame on anyone else as much as to say I feel the Gemini in me would get bored easily. Knowing how I am, I would advise that having a monthly Valentine’s Day is healthy for the longevity of any union. And by monthly Valentine’s Day, I don’t mean all the roses and chocolate, but perhaps date night or a short trip. A day spent in bed or maybe indulge in a hobby together. The point is, when actual V-Day comes around, it will NOW make sense to go big or go home. It isn’t about the clout or the once-a-year check-in as much as it is a celebration of a year’s worth of love. See what I did there?

I can’t say that 2021, the pandemic, or clout are the only factors that have derailed Valentine’s Day these few decades. Corporations and businesses have really monopolized here, allowing people to run crazy. We have women with high expectations and men with high pressure. It really shouldn’t be that way. Let’s start with you ladies: in general, not just with this topic, learn to mellow out and not always expect big things for every occasion. You’ll be less disappointed in life if you go with the flow. Men are highly unreliable and unbelievably bad at reading signs. One of my favourite comedians, Leslie Jones, said in her stand-up special Problem Child that men shouldn’t treat every woman the same because they all like different things. You can’t wine and dine two women the same way, and this is the truth! The cliche of flowers, chocolate, and rings will not work on a girl who mostly wants your time and attention. Unless you are a lucky lady or your man is secretly gay, you will not always end up with what you want. Another point for the ladies (or perhaps both genders in the big scheme) is to not anticipate more than what you deserve. If you’re a whiney, annoying, wutless, good-for-nothing hoe, and he happens to be hard-working and loyal as hell, then you don’t deserve Pandora. You deserve a drop to the nearest curb. The reverse could be said for those scumbag guys who won’t get you a damn thing yet expect nookie at the end of the night. Blue ball him! Speaking of balls, let’s turn to the men. Listen little boys, you might be accustomed to getting through life easily since people did your homework for you, you pawn off work projects on your other colleagues, and your mommy and daddy paid for your car. In a relationship, it’s ALL YOU and no one is there to help, so stop expecting to succeed if you aren’t going to make any effort. If you want her, you need to be a man. Additionally, there is nothing wrong with being a vulnerable man if she treats you well and you think you can trust here, which is where I recommend starting to think of personal gifts and gestures you can fulfill. Make something. Write something. Do something. To summarize, don’t get caught up with what these big companies are telling you. Ladies, expect something, but do not anticipate the moon and the stars. Gentlemen, do something special for her, but don’t be afraid to be unique and attentive to her needs.

After reading all of this, can you now understand why I don’t particularly like V-Day? It isn’t really that I don’t like it outright, but more that I don’t like the current state of affairs surrounding the day. Hopefully, I didn’t come off completely insane and made some degree of sense with my recommendations. I’m not a hater, so let me say this: if you two are good to each other and to those around you, then I hope you had a great Valentine’s Day and wish you many more! (Everyone else, see the curb.)

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