Valentine’s Day: Breaking it down to a science

theweal-opinionsValentine’s Day – few people really look forward to it. If you are in a relationship, expectations often go unmet. If you are single, the day serves as a harsh reminder of how single you are.

Either way, the day arrives and regardless of how hard you pretend not to care, there is a sense of relief when it ends.

“It’s just a bunch of commercial crap,” you find yourself saying to others.

Or, if you are in a relationship and trying to manage your expectations the mantra becomes: “Our love is expressed all year round.”

Whichever coping mechanism you use to get through the day is acceptable, because we are all in the same boat. Perhaps placing Valentine’s Day and its pressures under the microscope will help to shed some light on why so many dislike this special ocassion.

Commercial pressure is an obvious one. The media shows happy couples enjoying Valentine’s Day romantically with gift-giving, like it is some sort of sex-based aftershock from Christmas.

We live in a society that capitalizes on anything it can. One study reveals that Canadian consumers spend an average $144 million on Valentine’s Day confections – 10 per cent said to be for self-consumption, a surprisingly low amount.

But let’s dig even deeper than the commercial layer – we know how to hate on that already.

There might be some fundamental biology behind the discomfort associated with what Valentine’s Day stands for.

For the most part, being single is no biggie when you are eating toast over the sink and moving into your tenth consecutive episode of Fresh Prince on Netflix. But when happy couples surround you, a little cloud follows you, raining down feelings of longing, or worse – inadequacy.

According to E.O. Wilson, father of the discipline of sociobiology, the desire to be in a relationship stems purely from genetic drive.

We all have it engrained to partner up and make babies for no reason other than to pass on our genetics. All of the other feelings—companionship, lust and even love—are only in place to facilitate our fundamental needs to reproduce.

Even if kids are not in your life plan, you are still manipulated by an underlying theme of evolutionary tactics. Sound harsh? It kind of is, especially considering rom-coms account for such a huge slice of our movie industry.

On the flip side, if you are in a relationship, it is hard to know what to realistically anticipate on Feb. 14. Lining up expectations and walking away happy seems to be a lofty goal for most.

The book “Sex at Dawn,” by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha, describes that our modern view of relationships in North America is so skewed from what it should be that true fulfillment from that “special someone” is an unrealistic farce.

Monogamy, according to them, is legitimately not in our nature.

As such, it might be interpreted that most people in long-term monogamous relationships are secretly unhappy. If one is struggling to find fulfillment from their partner to begin with, what is Valentine’s Day but a candle to this secret unhappiness?

It is a bleak picture to paint, but should you chose to adopt the ideals of Wilson, Ryan and Jetha, you might be further inclined to treat yourself to roses on Valentine’s Day, or even better, just stop caring all together.

What it really all comes down to is that Valentine’s Day will only be as dissapointing as you let it be.

Once you sift through all of the societal and commercial pressures of the day, Valentine’s Day is not that big of a deal.

So pick up a box or four of heart-shaped edibles, order some good take out, and hunker down with a beloved companion.

Yes, Netflix counts.

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