Ramy Zabarah, Broadside Correspondent

It’s that time of the year again, so take out your wallets and get ready for some love!

Originally cherished as a day where one could express his or her love and affection toward a companion through exchanging confectionery and picking out flowers, the Valentine’s Day we know has since been remodeled.

As any holiday approaches, we’re always reminded that sentimentality might not necessarily be at the top of everyone’s priorities. And by “everyone,” I mean businesses. Honestly, how would Martin Luther King, Jr. feel if he knew that we were using his birthday as an excuse to buy cheap furniture?

Valentine’s Day is no more innocent a holiday than any other. In fact, The United States Greeting Card Association (yes, they have an association) claims about one billion valentines are sent worldwide every year.

When Valentine’s Day was fairly young, before it met its doom in the 1800s in the form of industrialization, romantics used to write and design each other valentines and exchange baked goods.

We now have a society considerate and convenient enough to provide us with that service, so we don’t actually have to do any work.

What’s even cheesier than cutting out a paper heart, writing, “I love you,” and slipping it under her door? Buying her a heart-shaped card for $5.99 from Hallmark with the words already inscribed in it, then simply signing your name at the end.

That doesn’t say, “I love you,” it says, “I like you enough to keep you around, and the guy on the poster told me to get you this.”

Valencia Vasquez, a junior and government and international politics major here at Mason chooses to see through the commercial incentives of Valentine’s Day,

“It’s to stimulate the economy!” she says. “Valentine’s Day makes people think love is directly connected to the amount of money spent on your significant other. It’s kind of cute that there’s a day for that but I really don’t think it needs to be forced down our throats.”

Point well proven, Valencia. If I truly love my companion, why should I have to love her more one day out of the year than every other day?
Unfortunately, it’s a standard in our society for the male to spend more money than the female. The United States Greeting Card Association also states that on average, men spend twice as much money as females on Valentine’s Day.

This could be why many women enjoy this day. When asked about her feelings toward the holiday, Mason sophomore biology major Ebonie Miller simply replied, “I love the chocolate.”

While some people feel very strongly about their opinion on Valentine’s Day, others are relatively neutral. Diversity Programs and Services Program Manager Teejay Brown explains, “I don’t really think about it until someone else brings it up.

“When I do think about it though, I think it’s just another moneymaking machine in our society.” Brown says, “but I’m not all ‘bah humbug’ though. Because it is a good time to appreciate people. I will usually send cards to my mom, grandma and aunts.”

Although some people might not agree with the current intentions of this originally non-profit holiday, most people enjoy the attention, and the opportunity to express and receive love from someone else, whether it’s backed by genuine intentions or it’s society’s way of telling us to love with our hearts, and express it with cash.