For as long as I remember there has been something or other to boycott. A large portion of my childhood was spent devoid of grapes and iceberg lettuce (the former more of a loss than the latter.) Later there were brands and corporations to eschew. Targets of boycotts, like leggings, go in an out of fashion. The longest boycott I ever participated in was my militant boycott of Valentine’s Day. That’s right; that little pudgy cupid-y holiday filled with cardboard hearts, flowers and candy. “Why?”, you ask. What kind of horrid trauma was bestowed upon me to render me so devoid of romance and “Be Mine” tenderness?
There is no childhood Valentine humiliation to divulge. My brown paper bag Valentine mailbox was as full as anyone’s. I received the same sized heart shape chocolate box from my parents as did my siblings. But I also went to an American high school. Some time between graduation and freshman year of college it dawned on me that Valentine’s Day might not be all hearts and flowers for some people. Specifically, for single people. And my solidarity was born. I protested the holiday (silently, I did not take to the streets) as a popularity contest with harsh fall-out. Those that benefited (excluding the flower and candy industry) already knew they were beloved. The people who sat at their desks watching the delivery person pass them by, could have lived without the reminder.
Then something strange occurred. I realized that not one person was benefiting from my stance. I stopped kidding myself that denying myself would in some way make anyone feel better. Suddenly the holiday, placed strategically in the middle of the darkest most dismal season, made all the sense in the world. What could be more joyous and hopeful than a celebration of love in the middle of February? I lifted the moratorium, and marched myself to the card store. I now not only accept the annual romantic gift and dining, I gleefully encourage it. Life is short and any opportunity to express love and affection should be embraced. Romance should not be confused with a grape or a head of lettuce.