Annie Abramczyk ’18

February. The bleakest month of the year that fogs the brain with a haze of liminal confusion between the holiday winter season and the budding of spring. And so the makers of the calendar year with, in an attempt to aggrandize their monetary power (and probably a contract deal with Hallmark, Kay Jewelers, and Hershey’s), conjured up the holiday: Valentine’s Day.

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Draped in shades of pink and connotations of love, this holiday sweeps Americans off their feet. Walk into any drugstore, grocery store, or mall, and the panic of Valentine’s Day is evident in the abundant advertisements for that special someone. Enter any lower school class at Tower Hill, and find charming paper bags decorated with pink paper, cut out hearts, and names written in glitter glue, being filled with candy, notes and chocolates. We can all remember the excitement of Valentine’s Day in lower school– receiving dozens of heart shaped lollipops, fun-dips, and pink-colored tinfoil-wrapped hershey kisses. But, how is it that a second-grader gets more action on Valentine’s day than the average adult?

So, what changed? How did the colloquial word of love written on the back of a sweetheart box in a colored sharpie with your name on it turn into a dreaded day, showcased on your Instagram feed once a year, putting your name to shame? Instead of showing affection through a generic piece of candy or a card, modern teenage culture has developed a love aversion. It has increasingly become a popular culture sensation to undermine the idea of love entirely. Leaving one to question: does Valentine’s Day teach us to measure our worth in sweets? In roses? In cards?

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When did the sweethearts become so bitter? Is it wrong to get so hopelessly romantic around the season of love? Apart from the obnoxious TV commercials selling overpriced and commercially-manufactured diamonds rings, the cards with generic ways to say “I love you”, and the memes of self-deprecating social media bloggers thanking their relationship with pizza for being eternal, I wonder: is it wrong to still believe that there is more to Valentine’s Day than just cheap chocolates? Like all things, have humans contaminated the idea of romance for capitalistic purposes? Bouquets of red roses, skivvies, velvet dresses, and romantic dinners under the moonlight of a pre-fixed menu, are not, in this particular case, helping that cause. It’s a full on Monet: from far away it looks good, but up close all those little dots are just blurry and migraine-inducing.

We are all left asking, where is the love? That is the question brewing in the minds of every hopeless romantic. Well, to be honest, I don’t know… and I doubt really anyone does. And nobody really wants to go down that road. Blame it on modern culture, or capitalist culture, or the faulty vagueness of the English language and its colloquial flaws inherent in the word love compared to other languages, but that will not change anything about this sticky situation. And what seems like a leggy introduction to the real answers embedded in this article, I happen to know a thing or two about braving Valentine’s Day, regardless of your relationship status.

Dos Dont’s
Perfume (please apply responsibly)

There is nothing worse than someone saturated so much in perfume or cologne you can’t even breathe. However, applied properly (which very few people understand how to do), it can be incredibly effective. If you aren’t a huge perfume or cologne wearer, it is really simple to learn how:

  1. Pick a scent that is user-friendly. Fun fact: vanilla is scientifically proven to be appealing to all humans.
  2. Spray perfume and twirl through it. Using the excess perfume on the nozzle, dab it on your wrists and behind your ear on your neck

Be Afraid to Go All Natural

Yes, everyone is beautiful, fine. But makeup, a shower, a nice hair blow out, and deodorant never hurt. In fact, all of the above help you feel more confident about yourself. Confidence is key.

Red Lipstick

I get it, red lipstick is a smoky, bold way to show another, more colorful side of yourself– especially on a red-themed day like Valentine’s Day. But, speaking from experience, it smears, sticks, and stains everything. Even the anti-smudge products are satanic versions of makeup– considering that they dry out your lips like the Sahara Desert. It only looks good on models and actors in romantic movies for a reason people–you don’t want that on your mouth and neither will anyone else.
Saving Money on Gifts

Teddy bears holding plush hearts, candy, or anything that can be bought at a store that also sells shampoo should tell you no. Although red roses and chocolate-covered strawberries are the classic staple of Valentine’s Day, anyone would rather receive something predictable rather than tacky.

 

So, when you open your Vogue.com or crack open a recent issue of “Allure”, even the less-glamourous (but guilty-addiction) “US Weekly” or “People,” the overwhelming smell or sample Marc Jacobs perfume will not be nearly as potent as the overwhelming plethora of Valentine’s Day “hacks”. The common denominator in each edition? For every article about how to plan the perfect date night, there is an article for strategic coping mechanisms for singles. Nevertheless, among all of the picturesque photos of couples exchanging rings and gifts, the whole vibe is totally butchered with the single’s lament.

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No, we are not shedding sympathy tears on behalf the lonely–it’s just early-onset allergies. Which is a good thing because everything gets so much better in the spring. Trading a pollen-induced sinus infection for a dose of fresh air, new clothing lines, and fashion week, is a small price to pay at the end of the bleak mid-winter. And if you aren’t already plagued by spring fever here are a few contaminants:

  1. Almost summer
  2. Spring sports
  3. Fresh food
  4. Being tan
  5. Almost summer