When you think about it, Valentine’s Day is a really weird holiday. While its actual history is debated, it’s generally understood that V-Day was originally a violent occasion, with at least a couple of saints martyred. But now it’s an international symbol of romance, with corresponding high expectations.
Stereotypically, women are understood to be the true Valentine’s Day obsessives (although I will say that I am a woman and I could not give a f***). But what do men think? Is it annoying? Is there too much pressure? Or are they total softies who love the holiday as much as anyone else? I talked to some dudes, most of whom were generally in favor of celebrating.
Many men I spoke to like the romance, but definitely feel the pressure. Mike, a 24-year-old film executive from New York, loves the holiday, but is always nervous about what to buy girlfriends. “I really do enjoy Valentine’s Day, although I can’t say I don’t feel a bit of pressure regarding the gift-giving angle of it,” he said. “It’s less serious than a birthday or anniversary, but nevertheless, you don’t want your gift to feel like an afterthought.”
“That being said,” he continued. “The idea of dedicating an otherwise random day to pure romance is totally beautiful to me, Hallmark be damned.” Awwwwww.
Damon, a 25-year-old producer from Los Angeles, had interesting thoughts on the usefulness of V-Day. “Valentine's Day is really great to suss out any relationships that are on the cusp,” he said. “And as much as I hate the romance industrial complex, I don't think there's anything inherently bad about going out of your way to give someone a lil’ bit of extra lovin.”
And Steven, a 25-year-old writer in New York, had an extra romantic take on the holiday. “I actually like Valentine's Day because it falls on the same day as my anniversary with my boyfriend,” he said. “#TwoBirdsOneStone.”
Peter, a 28-year-old musician from Chicago, isn’t a fan of the holiday, but likes to be there for his girlfriend. “Valentine's Day, like most holidays, is a corporate ploy,” he said. “That doesn't mean there's any shame in buying into it. It's become a tradition, and there's something to be said for that. I personally think Valentine's Day is ridiculous, but I have a partner who enjoys it. And it's generally more appealing to women it seems. So I go along with it. It's like, if you love someone and they want to buy into the tradition, then just do it.”
But what if you’re single? Henry, a 26-year-old artist based in Brooklyn, doesn’t care about the holiday. “I've been single for years and don't feel any pressure to ask someone on a Valentine’s date or anything,” he said. “Even when I was in a relationship I didn't take it seriously, and I don't think my girlfriend cared either. But two years ago I went on a blind Valentine’s date and totally fell in love, so maybe there is something in the air.”
So, in conclusion? It seems like while the holiday might not be enormously popular with men, they’re happy to join in on the romance to make their partners happy. And if you’re worried about corporate Hallmark greed? Just make a handmade card. Trust me, the ladies will love it.
(Photo: Steve Prezant/Getty Images)
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