I vividly remember venturing into a Walgreens on Feb. 13 last year. On my way to peruse the latest metallic nail shades CoverGirl had to offer and uncover a sea-kelp face mask I needed not purchase, a sea of men sprinted by me — it left me dizzy. Their motions were hurried. Their faces held the sort of determination one may only see on the football field, or in times of war. Vehemently grabbing bouquets of roses and heart-shaped Russell Stover boxes, they made their way to checkout. Cause nothing says "I love you" like genetically altered flowers and drugstore candy.
Yes, folks, this was the eve before Valentine's Day and I just happened to find myself in the center of the waxy-petaled and artificially flavored. Pickings were slim for those in search of the perfect collection of finds that would send the right message of adoration to their lover.
It got me kinda blue. Not because I didn't have a better half to buy me unnecessary trash, but seeing those men spending their well-earned beer money on blooms that would wilt after 48 hours and high-fructose corn syrup-filled chocolates was about as depressing as any Adele album.
Also, can we talk about the random stuffed animals that are big-sellers on this holiday? When do adults ever need, or want, something that looks like it was fished out of the claw machine at Chuck E. Cheese's or redeemed after a victorious game of Whack-a-Mole at the state fair.
Let's not forget about the dinner specials rolled out by various eateries around town. If you find yourself in a committed relationship, if you're Facebook official, you get to savor overpriced sea bass over sage risotto. Instead of offering high-priced options to couples, restaurants should offer discounted meals to singles. Feverishly swiping through potentials on Tinder and suffering through family fix-ups has earned you the right to enjoy the below-market rate on snow crab legs. Heck, if restaurants really wanted to appeal to the demographic that finds themselves without a significant other, they could run a deal where commitment-phobes and dumpees savor all the garlic, and all the refined carbs, in all the forms. Inventive menu pairings shouldn't be reserved just for the boo'd up.
The mugs with mushy messages of love are also pretty infuriating. Although, I still fantasize about designing a coffee cup line with "I'm Crazy About You" splashed along the front with the images of straightjackets and pills a-plenty. I think there's a certain demographic for that sort of thing. Anyway, I digress.
A recent development that may have been a sign of the commercialization of this holiday dwindling came with the announcement that Necco's Sweethearts Conversation Hearts, for the first time in 153 years, would not be available for sale this V-Day. With the news of these chalky antacids moonlighting as candies being no more, came the public outcry. Comment sections were flooded with sad-face emojis and messages of dread. As it turns out, Brach's Confections has consistently put out its own version of the Tums-inspired treat and plans to have market shelves stocked prior to the holiday. Crisis averted. Still, I wondered why this news warranted such a strong response.
I think the upsetment spawned not from the fact that consumers wouldn't be able to get their hands on the "Be Mine" and "You're Hot" morsels, but from nostalgia slipping away faster than Matthew McConaughey's hairline in '99. Remember when Valentine's Day was just an excuse for elementary schoolers to wrap empty New Balance shoeboxes in shimmery paper and hand out Lisa Frank cards to every-dang-one. It was a simpler time — one filled with neon-shaded, doe-eyed dolphins.
The bizarre fruit kebabs of Edible Arrangements also leave a lot to be desired. When, in a day, does one think, "I know, I'd really like to consume numerous grapes, chocolate strawberries and cantaloupe cut into flowers stabbed by wooden skewers that rest on a bed of kale — perhaps stuffed into a watering can?"
I guess when it comes down to it, it's not that I dislike Valentine's Day. It's that I loathe all the cheesy, possibly lead-filled and chemically-drenched, swag associated with the holiday. In the words of Pat Benatar, "Love is a Battlefield" — and so is any drugstore the day before cupid's charade. Consider yourself warned.
Kalene McCort: 303-473-1107, email@example.com