Everyone loves to hate Valentine’s Day

The wind gives a bitter chill, the dead leaves mix with brown-gray slush. The days are short and the nights are cold and long. These portents can mean only one thing: Valentine’s Day is upon us.

It is almost fashionable nowadays to hate the sleek, commercial holiday that celebrates a trite and superficial type of romance. More than one friend involved in long-term relationships has commiserated with me about how much they hate Valentine’s Day moments before skipping off with some beau or belle. The last honest emotion involved with this wretched Hallmark holiday is being co-opted by the people with the least claim to it. Poseurs and johnnies-come-lately, the lot of them. Bah-humbug.

That isn’t to say that I have a monopoly on anti-Valentine’s Day sentiments. Far from it. In preparation for this editorial, I’ve been visiting fellow scrooges, the broken hearts and the heart-breakers to collect Worst Valentine’s Day Ever stories. Unsurprisingly, there has been no shortage of material.

My roommate told me about the year he got picked up and then discarded in favor of another guy, all in less than twenty minutes. Another friend told me about the Valentine’s prom date she dumped in order to go to the dance with his friend. And of course, there was the common sad refrain, “I don’t have a Valentine’s story. I’ve been alone every year.”

The worst of the Worst Valentine’s Day Ever came from my suitemate, who is still in mourning over his lost love. His girlfriend left him last week for another guy. That is harsh enough this time of year, but harsher still considering that he had already given her a Valentine’s gift worthy of a true romantic: he had a star named after her. Such is the plight of the lonely on Valentine’s Day-even the heavens above seem turned against us, and everything beautiful serves no purpose but to remind us of our miserable state.

But why must we be miserable? So what if most of the nation is tied up with red bows and heart shaped boxes; that does not requires us to be downcast and alone. If anything, we should enjoy our unique position as outside observers to one of the more ridiculous parts of U.S. culture. To that end, I’ve listed a few songs that help put the holiday in the proper perspective.

This is editorial is, of course, not entirely serious. Though I might relate sad stories or blithely quote dismal statistics (43 percent of marriages in the U.S. break up in the first 15 years; two-thirds of all sexually transmitted diseases occur in people under the age of 25; 20 million people in the U.S. have genital herpes right now) it is all in good fun. The pomp of the picture perfect, sickly-sweet romances sold to us by chocolatiers and greeting card companies demands some mockery, even if it takes the form of gallows humor. Nevertheless, I’ll grit my teeth and wish everyone a happy Valentine’s Day. Couples, enjoy an entire Valentine’s Weekend-though you would do well to remember the wise words of my friend Joe Branca as he counseled my suitemate: “Dude, if you’re going to buy your Valentine a star, name it ‘I love you’ or some term of endearment. At least then you can give it to someone else after she dumps you.”