Charlene Fang: Why Valentine's Day is the least romantic day of the year

Charlene Fang: Why Valentine's Day is the least romantic day of the year

Is it romantic to follow the masses and declare our love on February 14? Or are we being bullied by the greeting card cartel?

I’m going to put it out there now … I dislike Valentine's Day intensely.

And yes, before you ask, I am single, but this is not the reason.

Every year, round about the start of February, I see normally sane people flipping out and turning unnecessary emotional cartwheels all because society has mandated that individuals without a valentine are lesser beings unworthy of the universe’s supply of oxygen.

Not true. Think about it. Is it normal to be romantic on command, as if you are a performing puppy?

Humans are sentient beings and, unlike Fido, we can choose not to obey the rules. That makes us better. That and opposable thumbs.

Also, let's not forget that the origin of Valentine's Day involves one Saint Valentine, who was persecuted and executed ... hardly romantic, unless you're Henry VIII.

I’ve stood by and watched a number of pre-V Day psychotic episodes -- and a couple of clever ones -- and find it all rather amusing. 

The socially oppressed rushing to nail down a Valentine: “She’s stalked her ex, really? But she’s free –- and it’s already Friday -- and I don’t want to be eating alone on Monday.” 

The morally abstract contorting their moral code all for a pre-packed/pre-heated four-course set meal over candlelight: “Yes, I know he’s lying to me about that racy MMS, but he promised to take me out for Valentine’s Day, and the restaurant I’ve booked can give us a fairy-lit gazebo.”

The soppy romantics burning precious brain cells to come up with an original -- some might say cheesy -- gesture for their significant other: “What do you mean there is a waiting list to buy a constellation? OK, what about black orchids?”

The creatively challenged resorting to the cheesiest gestures known to mankind: “Why can’t I get this smoked salmon to form a heart shape!?!”

The lame-o's who truly buy into Valentine's Day, complete with a bouquet of long stemmed de-thorned red roses: “Why wouldn’t you want to be proposed to on Valentine’s? I realize it might be a bit impersonal as we’re in a room full of people, but … won’t she think it’s terribly romantic?”

The sly foxes who plan on skirting round the overpriced roses and dinner by celebrating on another day: “I’ve already told her we’re celebrating, but on Valentine's Day according to the lunar calendar.”

The jerks and/or misers plotting a breakup: “Well, I’ve been unsure of him/her for a while now, so why not break the news the day before, or maybe the morning of? After all I haven’t made a booking for anywhere.”

The Valentine's Day scrooge who spends the day moaning about why its a waste of money and time (yes, my category): "God, one more bouquet? Do you know how many starving children could have eaten if the money was donated to charity?"

You get the picture.

The rub I have with Valentine’s Day is that if it is a celebration of love, the gesture should be something sincere and true, and not pre-planned, mass manufactured and overly commercialized.

If your other half gets in a tizzy because you didn’t follow the rules and pony up for the chocolates, poetry and overpriced (often yucky) meal, well, it says something about your relationship, doesn’t it?

The only time overtly romantic Valentine’s Day gestures are bearable is when it’s puppy love, i.e., reserved for those 18 and under. It’s cute then. No self-respecting adult should be indulging in such a silly childish affair.

End of the day, as one of my very clued-in girlfriends quipped, "Valentine's, why wait?"

For the record, she’s not spending the day with her other half, but taking her recently widowed father to an Eric Clapton concert.

Now that’s love.

The opinions of this commentary are solely those of Charlene Fang.

In between sunning herself in the Caribbean, Bali and other exotic locales, Charlene Fang keeps her feet (and fingers) grounded as the managing editor of She blames her wanderlust on the years spent working as the editor of CNNGo Singapore and Time Out Singapore. Her ramblings have also been published by the likes of Travel+Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, Wallpaper*, ELLE and The Australian.

Read more about Charlene Fang