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Lane: Valentine’s Day the right way

BY JOE LANE | FEBRUARY 13, 2014 5:00 AM

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Valentine’s Day is a holiday that fills countless hearts with joy every year. However, there are millions of others across the country who still have to go through the tragic ordeal of getting dressed up, buying presents, and spending impressive amounts of money on Feb. 14.

All jokes aside, according to CNN, on Valentine’s Day 2013, Americans spent approximately $1.6 billion (with a b) on candy and an additional $1.9 billion on flowers to aid in professing their love for a significant other. The average American will spend just over $130 Friday — a far cry from the single bag of candy I (and by I, I mean my mother) purchased to distribute into the bags of my fellow fourth-grade classmates back in the day.

With staggering dollar amounts such as these, it got me thinking; maybe, just maybe, having a date on the most romantic holiday of the year isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

The most obvious advantage of being dateless on Valentine’s Day is the immense financial benefit. Even if I did decide to gorge on a romantic meal for two and heart-shaped chocolates for myself (which I very well may) there is no possible way that I could come even close to that $130 figure.

Despite my primary expenses in college being relatively inexpensive Panchero’s burritos and packs of ramen, I’m not really looking to drop $130 on a single day no matter what the occasion — especially if I’m dining alone.

Not only does not having a date on Valentine’s Day save me from myself, financially, but it also allows me to don sweatpants and a crewneck rather than a button down and a tie as I stare at my true love, Netflix.

While the couples of the world are out enjoying each other’s company and fighting for reservations at some fancy new restaurant, I’ll enjoy “The Office” and “Breaking Bad” from the comfort of my futon. Of course, Valentine’s Day happens to fall on a Friday this year, so that plan may be adjusted a bit, but the notion still applies.

I understand, that my feelings about Valentine’s Day could easily be confused for cynicism about my love life and jealousy of the devoted couples walking the streets of Iowa City. But let me assure you, these feelings are quite the opposite of cynicism.

I am quite impressed by those people in relationships on Valentine’s Day, gazing into each other’s eyes as they dine on food too fancy for any other day of the year, exclaiming how marvelous their time together has been thus far.

Sarcastic though it may seem, the previous paragraph is uttered with the utmost of sincerity.

Yes, I’m sure it is wonderful to spend Valentine’s Day with your significant other, but I’m disappointed in Valentine’s Day. Why should we have only one day a year devoted to recognizing love?

Not only that, but why must love manifest itself in the form of such material gifts as diamonds and chocolate?

So perhaps I’m not saying that it’s better to be single on Valentine’s Day, but rather, we ought to do away with Valentine’s Day as we know it altogether and, instead, disperse (and expand) the spontaneous acts of love common to Valentine’s Day throughout the rest of the year.

And save Friday for the things that really matter — burritos, velour loungewear, and Netflix.


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