When checking with my editor about what I was going to write about this week, she didn't give me many options.
"It's Valentine's Day," she said. "You're going to have to write about Valentine's Day."
End of discussion. That was that. OK.
I suppose it was naïve to think I could avoid it, considering this is a sex and relationship column and Valentine's Day is generally all about sex and relationships - with just a splash of consumerism. OK, maybe a little more like a tidal wave: In 2010, Canadians dropped $1.6 billion on lingerie, $5.8 billion on wine, $3 billion on jewelry and watches and $1.5 billion on chocolate. The average Canadian spends $126 on V-Day. Or, my equivalent of two week's worth of groceries.
Being that I am currently not in a relationship (at least, not one worth referencing) nor have I been in one on Valentine's Day for nearly a decade, it makes it hard to come at the topic - and the day - without seeming cynical, pessimistic and downright grouchy. In the years I've spent as the single girl on Valentine's Day, I've managed to garner a few opinions on the matter.
To me, Valentine's Day is no different than the old death and taxes cliché - completely unavoidable and entirely inevitable.
Check out the He Said argument for Valentine's Day here.
Every year, drug stores set up aisles of elaborate displays hawking pink and red crap that will eventually find its way to your "Donate to Big Brothers" pile. Bus ads peddling diamond rings will not-so-subtly ask if you've committed to your love by dropping a fraction of your salary. Flower shops turn into more happening places than an all-inclusive Cancun resort during Spring Break.
The message is clear: If you don't buy, you don't love.
But what if you're not at the receiving end of the diamonds or red and pink crap? Aside from the occasional adorable dollar store card I get from my neighbour's kid, I rarely feel the Valentine's Day love. But maybe I'm not open to it.
While I recognize the importance of a healthy economy, especially during the slower months of the year, I refuse to accept that you can, or should, put a price on love.
Forgive me for sounding like a self-help seminar, but love is the purest form of joy this life has to offer. The best part is, it's unlimited, it's totally free and it's within every one of us. (Excluding psychopaths.)
Every year when I send wishes to my mother on Mother's Day, she refutes them.
"Every day is Mother's Day for me," she says. And it's true. There is no reason not to show love when you can. I hope this sentiment catches on when it comes to Valentine's Day.
Even if you buy into the hoopla, I sincerely ask you to do me a favour. On Valentine's Day, the next day and every day after that, be sure to show your love, in some small way, without spending a penny. Because, in theory, every day should be Valentine's Day. Whether we can afford it or not.