In case the multitudes of red decorations strewn about your local drug stores haven't tipped you off, today is Valentine's Day.
There are many misconceptions about the origins of St. Valentine's day. Some say that the holiday is a Christianization of the Lupercalia, one of many Roman festivals of promiscuous sex. Others say that it comes from the founding date of the "Court of Love," a medieval French institution governing the practices of courtly love. Others claim that it's a big scam perpetrated by the chocolate, greeting card and floral industries to sell us more crap, just like "Sweetest Day" which, I think we can all agree, is a bogus hoax holiday.
Fuck you, Hallmark.
Personally, I used to be a lot more cynical about the whole deal. I've had my share of lonely Valentine's Days, awkward Valentine's Days, and then there was that Valentine's Day when I was dumped at two in the morning in a late-night pizza parlor. That kind of sucked.
For a long time I was convinced that Valentines Day was set up as a trap - not just for men, by the way, but for women too - to expose... I don't even know what. To expose the shortcomings or rampant materialism or insecurity of your significant other and probably yourself.
But at the same time, I've also had the best meal ever cooked for me by a girlfriend on Valentines Day, and I've been very lucky recently with a string of Valentines Days which were not only not-awful, but actually kind of pleasant. I can't complain that much.
So I guess my advice, in my limited capacity, would be to step back from Valentines day and, regardless of history or marketing, look at it for what it is: an excuse to take some time out of your life and tell someone you love them. In my case, that would be my beautiful and wonderful girlfriend, Katie. I believe all of womanhood owes you a debt of gratitude for your martyr-like propensity for putting up with me. I love you.