Lifted from the site which sells them. Candy for those who hate Valentines Day.
Lately, I've been seeing various ads and articles leading up to the commercialism storm that is Valentine's Day. Some of the articles I see are aimed not at people who are romantically inclined and considering what to do to celebrate the holiday, but toward people who hate Valentine's Day. There are a lot of people who see it as a sadistic attempt to make single and lonely people feel bad about themselves or put them in a position to defend their solitary state.
Though I am married, and probably am one of the most deliriously happy married people on the planet (and yes, I know you are tired of reading it and I'm so incredibly obnoxious for saying it again, in my defense, this time I actually have a point in tossing this bit of information out there again), I don't celebrate Valentine's Day. The main reason for this is that my husband tells me he loves me everyday, several times a day and brings me little gifts all the time. In a good relationship, you don't need an artificial reason to show your affection for one another. So, I don't think that even happily coupled people necessarily feel Valentine's Day is a day for them. It seems to me that the holiday is really for shy people to find a framework through which to express the feelings they have trouble saying. Mind you, I'm not saying that's how it's dealt with commercially, but just rather perhaps the purist intent of it all. Every holiday has been and always will be commercially exploited and you can choose to be put off by it or do things your own way and enjoy any given holiday for the opportunities it offers you (or not).
However, I'm digressing to some extent in explaining that I think Valentine's Day has nothing to do with making single people feel bad, and that's the point to which I want to get back. A lot of the focus of the vitriol single folks have is aimed squarely at couples and deriding partnered life as a festival of petty and bitterly accepted compromises. Among the many benefits of single life that I've read are things like being able to rent the movie you want, being able to eat the last cookie in the box, and not having to ask for "permission" to go somewhere, do something, or buy something.
I mentioned these types of articles to one of my students and had a very hard time getting her to comprehend the objections being mentioned. The notion that anyone would worry about who drank the last beer in the refrigerator or what was being watched on T.V. as a drawback to being in a committed relationship was completely off the radar for her. She just couldn't fathom why anyone would care so much about such small things that they'd prefer being alone to companionship. She sees family on one side and last piece of pie on the other and thinks there's no question which is more important. In the end, she concluded that these things were of value to Western folks because they grew up in a culture which focuses on individualism.
While I believe that my student definitely is hitting at the core of why people come to value having every little thing their way, I think that for many people there's also an element of dissatisfaction in general with a relationship (or all relationships) which starts to get attached to any sort of compromise. Even though I grew up in a culture centered on individualism, I could care less who eats the last treat and my husband and I use headphones when we want to listen or watch something that the other person isn't interested in. There's no problem for us with these little issues because we've worked out the larger issues and aren't looking to power play on a micro level. One of the things I realized early on in our relationship was that there are two ways to deal with problems. One way is to hold onto the conflict and insist on standing your ground and the other is to focus your energy on the shortest path to a solution. You'd be surprised how many people will take the path of most resistance rather than a straightforward solution which requires minimal sacrifice and compromise. This way of dealing with relationships isn't one that I learned from the Japanese, but I think it's one they perhaps come by more naturally than many Western folks because theirs is not a culture which endorses willfulness as an indication of personal strength. Of course, often in Japan, this sort of compromising results in one person caving in to the other based on whoever is perceived to have the higher status so it's not exactly a healthy compromise.
Getting back to Valentines Day, one of the interesting things about opposition to this holiday is how personally people take it. Rather than get angry about it, one wonders why people don't just ignore it or any other holiday which annoys them. Most of the backlash seems to be in response to the overall trend in society toward pressuring people to couple. Apparently, busybodies who keep asking folks when they'll marry or if they've found a significant other grate on the nerves of single folks such that they are pretty much ready to explode by the time February 14 rolls around. It's ironic that Western culture supposedly embraces a variety of roles and lifestyles as having relatively equal value (within limits - they still don't exactly think househusbands are acceptable) yet some single people still feel so oppressed that they turn into snarling, defensive beasts around this time of year.