Chocolate scams in a heart-shaped box

There is nothing romantic about Valentine’s Day. Yup, I said it. Let’s face it: you know it’s true. Take a second; brush the sequins out of your eyes, pry the rose from between your teeth, turn down the Marvin Gaye vinyl and pull Cupid’s tiny, heart-shaped arrow out of your rear. I guarantee if you look around, you will see that Valentine’s Day is just a corporate holiday, designed and orchestrated by greedy business giants for the purpose of finessing the public out of their hard-earned money. 

As the origins of Valentine’s Day are still clouded with mystery, the only thing the public can be sure of come February 14 is that Valentine’s Day is a day set aside to celebrate love. Oh, but I should add, according to the society we live in you’re celebrating wrong if it doesn’t include a “break the bank” candlelit dinner, diamond jewellery and a ridiculous amount of roses. That’s right: Valentine’s Day is simply about spending money. Companies have managed to set apart a whole month in which brainwashed people are told they must buy stuff in order to have a successful relationship. If those earrings don’t equal the down payment on an apartment, do you really value your love? 

This whole media and marketing scheme around Valentine’s Day gifts and treats is sickening. I mean, come on people, give us a break! We just barely escaped the financial trauma of the Christmas holidays! If you’re a university kid, then you can bet your bottom dollar (or bottom penny in my case) that your pockets are still only filled with used Kleenex and lint. But hey, if you want to prove your love in a way that’s meaningful in today’s society, you must somehow scrape together the money for an extravagant gift. Who cares about tuition right?  

Yes, the day we empty our accounts of copious amounts of money just to prove to our significant other that we actually do love them … Let’s be honest, everyone secretly hates it. If you claim you don’t, you’re either living in a Disney movie, you could comfortably buy a yacht, or you’re simply lying to yourself. Corporations have managed to take something so beautiful and sacred between two people and turn it into a consumerist plague, shared and spread amongst all who dare to feel for something other than a material product. 

Love is no longer a magical connection forged with another through trust, friendship, passion and affection, but an eight-way abusive relationship between you, your significant other, Pandora, Lindor, Tiffany and Co., Brantford Blooms Florist, Hallmark and last-minute Shoppers Drug Mart chocolate. Maybe instead of wasting all this time and energy running around spending to satisfy the cold and corporate ideals of love, we could, heaven forbid, spend this February 14 (a normal day just like any other day) just being present with the one we care about. 

Our society is obsessed with the culture of love. We plaster it everywhere: on billboards, on t-shirts, in music, in commercials, in paintings. It seems that no matter where you go, there is no escape from the media telling you how to feel and how to behave when it comes to love. This is ridiculous. Your feelings, emotions and relationships are yours and yours alone. They are complex and moving and as such should not be opened to dictation from something so removed as a corporation looking to make a quick buck out of sticking heart-shaped candies in a heart-shaped box.

I say it is high time we as a society stop feeding into the idea that love needs to be expressed one day a year with chocolate and diamonds. Instead, we should recognize that love deserves to be celebrated every day and most importantly, in whatever way you see fit – even if that does mean expensive jewellery and heart-shaped truffles. My point is that at the end of the day, material goods will lose value, chocolates will be eaten and cut roses will wilt. All that corporate North America pushed for you to purchase to pronounce your love will last but a week. So why buy into it? 

The celebration of love needs no calendar date and has no set price tag. So Valentine’s Day isn’t about love, it’s about how far in debt you’re willing to go for the person sitting across from you at your last-minute reservation at The Keg. But hey, if that’s how you measure love, then I’d say greedy, cold, materialistic corporate America is just the place for you! 

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