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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

BERKENWALD: V-day: The holiday everyone loves to hate

Published: February 11, 2005
Section: Arts, Etc.

Yep. Its that time of year again. Flip-flops are pink, lollipops are heart-shaped and cute slogans are floating in the air. Valentines Day, or V-day, as we seem to be calling it nowadays, is upon us full force.

V-day is not the easiest of holidays to deal with. Although it has semi-religious origins, it has become so secular that no American can escape its wrath. I have found that people respond to this holiday in drastically different ways, and therefore, I have taken the liberty of making huge over-generalizations and lumping everyone into five categories.

First, the Cardgivers. You know the type. These are the happy people, who, single or otherwise, are sure to send cute valentines to just about everyone they know. These cards are either handmade or store-bought with little cartoons and awful love-puns. The cards usually come with some sort of heart-shaped candy. Just remember, even though its nice to get a heart saying Be Mine, a real friend gives chocolate.

The second type are the Haters. Essentially, the Haters hate the commercialized expression of love that is our modern V-day. They hate the color pink, they hate the shape of a heart, and they hate chalky word-hearts. They hate smiles. They hate love. They hate happiness and sunlight. Haters are most easily spotted scoffing at all other categories, especially the third- the Mooshy Lovebirds.

Mooshy Lovebirds have wonderful boyfriends and lovely girlfriends, and they wont let you forget it! They insist on making every affectionate gesture a public display. It is not uncommon for Mooshy Lovebirds to compete with other Mooshy Lovebirds over whose gifts were the most expensive. Common exchanges include: roses, teddy bears, chocolates, new clothes, new shoes, expensive dinners, limo rides, champagne, hotel stays, concert tickets and new cars. Mooshy Lovebirds are also prone to making lavish surprise serenades in very public places, just to make sure everyone knows just how happy they are.

On the other side of the coin lie the Lonelies. Without the anger of the Haters, the Lonelies are single people who have lost all hope. To them, V-day is only a reminder of their failures and the probability that they will spend the rest of their lives alone in solitary desperation. Yes, the Lonelies hate V-day, but are more likely to stay in their rooms and cry, than to tell you about it.

Last but not least, are the Cynics. These are easily spotted by their use of the word Hallmark Holiday in everyday speech. They view V-day as a symbol of all that is evil in todays consumerism nightmare. It is just an excuse to trick hardworking Americans into spending money on pleasant cards and other nice, thoughtful, appreciated gifts that that they were tricked into buying! V-day also hurts children workers in Cambodian sweatshops and pollutes our environment. V-day is despicable in their eyes, and they dont mind telling you about it. Especially if you are a Cardgiver, you poor deluded fool.

Phew. Now that I have finished my entirely offensive gross generalizations, I have to wonder where I fit in. Unfortunately, though I take the liberty to lump everyone else into stereotypes, I cannot comfortably do it for myself. Unfortunately, I know myself too well.
I think if I had to create a sixth category for myself, it would the Failures. I am a V-day failure. Why? Mostly because Im too much of a space cadet to remember it. When I am single, I barely notice its passing. When I am in a relationship I get confused. Am I supposed to do something? Or something?

The worst part is that whenever someone says Happy V-day to me, I always assume that V-day stands for Venereal Disease Day. I think you can understand how this can get a bit awkward.

But regardless of my failure, Valentines Day does not have to be experienced in any of the stereotypical ways I described. Instead of letting the holiday depress you, be creative. Find a meaning for the day that is agreeable to you. Celebrate it (or not) in whatever way makes you happy, and take care not to annoy everybody else.

So, happy Venereal Disease Day folks! And if this magical day brings you somewhere special, always remember: herpes is for life.