I just read a survey which revealed that people in the age group of 30 to 44 are the least likely to celebrate Valentine’s Day. I am 43 and, based on my current frame of mind, I can tell you that this statistic is on the money. In fact, the only reason I even know Valentine’s Day is on like Donkey Kong is because I am under some stress to come up with 600 words about it for your reading pleasure. Otherwise, the occasion would pass without incident. But here I am now, knee-deep in statistics about a day that is ostensibly about the celebration of love, with no intention whatsoever of actually celebrating it myself.
According to the survey, it appears that the reason people my age are unlikely to be rushing about breathlessly buying flowers and cards in red envelopes is because most of them have kids under the age of 18. This made perfect sense to me. Kids are a buzzkill. Except, I don’t have any. So why wasn’t I in the least bit interested in the mushy madness of February 14? I mined through a bunch of other unreliable online data sources to see if anything excused a childless, married woman from enjoying Valentine’s Day but found nothing.
Could it be that I think it’s corny when adults celebrate it? Perhaps. I have always thought of it as one of those things that is cute on a college student but extremely embarrassing the year you graduate. Which is probably why all V Day-related paraphernalia should come with an expiry message that reads ‘Cease and desist if 21 years or older’. Or, could it be because I am married to a man whose reaction to Valentine’s Day is like his reaction to my birthday and our anniversary — amnesia.
Was my hate coming from a place of bitterness because I didn’t have romance in my own life? Possibly. The more I thought about it, the more I realised that while the aforementioned reasons are both contenders, the real reason I don’t have any interest in Valentine’s Day is probably the exact same reason I don’t have kids: laziness.
I don’t celebrate V Day because it seems like one big fat schlep. To start with, there are gifts to be bought and wrapped. And while the buying of the gift is a giant time suck in itself, the wrapping takes wasted effort to a new high. It’s like making a bed — what’s the point? You will be back in there making a mess in no time. And you can’t stop at a gift, you have to buy a card or two, flowers, chocolates, the works. And then, after all of that, you have to get dressed up and go out to eat dinner in a place that is too fancy for you. Valentine’s Day requires more planning and organising than a rocket launch, and I like to wing it.
Look, here is a fact the survey didn’t bother to report: Valentine’s Day is just like any other day, except on this one you can legitimately buy love. It’s the one day a girl, or boy, doesn’t have to feel slutty exchanging sex for presents. After all it has been sanctioned by a chubby angel, a Saint, and a gift industry (wrapping included) that won’t let up.
Radhika Vaz is an award-winning comedian whose book Unladylike, A Memoir is available in stores and online. She tweets as @radvaz.