Almost as soon as Christmas is done, the shops fill with red and pink hearts (you never see a green one, though, do you?), and the greetings card shelves begin to groan under the weight of the thousands of purile ways that card designers have found to say "I love you", or words to that effect. That's without even getting into the Valentine cards from the family pet (if you're stupid enough to find that cute, then go ahead: knock yourselves out and waste your money).
I remember that it used to puzzle me that Valentine messages were traditionally supposed to be anonymous - I always wondered what the point of it was in that case. I mean...oh well, you know what I mean. As a kid or young man I was also very nervous of this date, as it seemed to offer little more than a new opportunity to be rejected. I have therefore sent very few valentine cards in my life (and it must be said, have never received many either - what a surprise!), and I don't really believe that my life has been any less full for it.
Unfortunately, what I'm seeing these days is an industry which exists to raise society's expectations (most explicitly, for some reason, around the male response) - which of course translates directly into the amount of effort and/or money spent on the so-called 'occasion'. What the industry is trying to do - in the best capitalist brainwashing sense - is to encourage spending. It looks like things are going well for the Valentine's Day industry this year, too - I don't recall ever seeing so much product in the stores, or seeing so many commercials on TV (or for that matter, hearing so many on the radio). I say again: Valentine cards from the family pet. Future generations will judge us, be sure of that - and I think that they will conclude that we were a total bunch of bell-ends (look it up in a British dictionary of slang).
My wife and I don't do anything special on this day. No, again: it's not some smug "We love each other enough anyway!" kind of thing - but it is a reflection that we both tell one another every single day, by word or deed, how much we mean to one another. I'm very lucky to be loved by the woman I love, and rather than go out and spend money on silly things, I prefer to simply reflect on my wonderful fortune, and appreciate that my personal wealth is something that not everyone ever finds in life.
We talk, we hug, we kiss: we do the things that truly mean something. More than that I'm not telling you. Weirdo.
I'm just very, very happy to love her, and to be loved by her: Valentine's sentiments are not confined to a single day in our year, and that's pretty darned wonderful.