My partner Dutch and I were running errands in late January when Dutch asked me between stop lights if I would like flowers and a romantic dinner once a year on Valentine’s Day or if I would prefer to receive love and affection every single day. Seeing how Dutch shows affection for me by keeping the refrigerator stocked with Canadian bacon, I much prefer consistent affection over a once-a-year to-do.
Dutch was struggling with the desire to NOT give me a Valentine’s Day gift because of personal dislike for what Dutch describes as “an overly commercial holiday that gives people a pass on showing love and affection the rest of the year.”
Dutch’s friends predicted not giving me a gift would be relationship suicide. I am pleased to say those predictions were false. Dutch is just part of the 66 percent of American adults who believe “the consumerism of the holiday has ruined the romance,” as discovered by a recent Harris Poll of 2,232 American adults surveyed online between January 14 and 19.
This poll revealed that 68 percent of American adults “view the time-honored tradition of Valentine’s Day marriage proposals as cliché” with 48 percent of American adults seeing “Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to communicate more with their significant other.”
Let’s pause for a moment. Are the other 364 days of the year not “an opportunity to communicate more” with a significant other?
Dutch and I communicate every day, be it via facebook, email, text messaging, phone calls or in-person conversations. We listen to National Public Radio in the car while running errands and talk about the show’s topics. We ask each other about the books we are reading or want to read. We discuss new recipes to make together at home and which thread count of sheets is the best one to buy. When I am researching or writing, Dutch asks about my topic and listens when I answer. Dutch sends me links to websites or articles about sex-related subjects, knowing I find these hints to be helpful. I cannot imagine not communicating with Dutch every single day.
Intimacy is a form of non-verbal communication. Dutch and I make a point to kiss one another hello and good-bye and to kiss like it is the last kiss we will ever receive from the other. We attempt to hold hands when walking. This is every single day, not just once a year on Valentine’s Day.
Business2community.com reports that in 2014, Americans spent a total of $18.9 billion dollars on Valentine’s Day purchases, including anti-Valentine’s Day gifts purchased by the “Cupid can suck it” crowd. Among these purchases, the site reports that $52.2 million dollars were spent on flowers, $50 million on jewelry, $38.3 million on apparel, $18.6 million in specialty gifts, $7.2 million on movies, $7.1 million on restaurants and $1.2 million on salons and spas.
Looking at the above data, I wonder if “apparel” really means lingerie, panties, bras and boxer shorts and if “specialty gifts” means adult products such as sex toys or the increasing flood of 50 Shades sex-related products that is now widely available.
Business2community.com estimated that Americans would spend $1.7 billion dollars on candy alone for Valentine’s Day this year. Even Fido and Kitty got in on the action this year as the site predicted that Americans would spend $700 million on Valentine’s Day gifts for their pets. The actual sales figures for this year’s holiday were not available at press time.
“Since 2009, the average amount spent per person (in America) for Valentine’s Day has increased by $40 per person,” reports International Business Times. This publication reports spending at $133.91 per person in 2014, with an estimated $142.31 per person in 2015. These figures are the result of a survey of 6,375 consumers conducted from January 6 to 13, by Prosper Insights and Analytics.
Forbes magazine reports that for Valentine’s Day 2015, “the largest spending age group is predicted to be 25- to 34-year olds, who will shell out approximately $213.04 on the holiday. By contrast, 35- to 44-year olds will spend about $176.21.”
Let’s put the above figures into an easier to understand version. Minimum wage in my state is $7.25 per hour. A person working a minimum wage job would have to work 29.38 hours to earn $213.04 before taxes and 24.30 hours to earn $176.21 before taxes. That’s a whole lot of work for one day of affection.
Men typically spend more than women on Valentine’s Day gifts. In 2015, men reported they planned to spend an average of $190.53 while women planned to spend an average of $96.58 on the holiday, according to International Business Times.
I am suggesting that, from now on, we ban Valentine’s Day as the commercial money suck that it truly is, and focus more on caring for others, being kind to one another and being affectionate every day of the year. I suggest we all start by watching this commercial for life insurance from Thailand, which should move any Cupid-haters into giving a warm hug to even a well-intentioned cherub carrying poison-tipped, oops… I meant love-touched, arrows in a quiver.