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Cupid’s Cohorts

Published: Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014 10:46 a.m. CDT

I’m onto you, you crafty lot. I know what you’re up to, and I know what you’ve done. There’s no denying it. You’re the reason I’ve been seeing red every time I’ve gone grocery shopping this past month.

Red everywhere — red balloons, red hearts, red cards, red candy, red flowers. You’re the reason Valentine’s is in the air. It’s time to reveal yourselves. It’s time to fess up that somehow, somewhere, there is a Secret Society of Sheilas forcing the holiday hand into lining aisles with heart-shaped chocolates and blush sparkling wine. Thanks to you love-lusting ladies, I no longer know whether my annual winter watery eyes are caused by my allergies or the aisles of Red Hots.

I need to know how you did it. How did you get the stores to invest in Valentine’s Day six weeks before the holiday? Is there a warehouse basement harboring the bound and gagged CEOs of every major grocery and pharmacy? Or did you adopt a less violent tactic? Perhaps you blackmailed the chiefs of consumerism with evil messages scribbled onto the backs of bug-shaped cards that say “Bee Mine!” How else could you have persuaded every store to promote Valentine’s Day so early?

Furthermore, how did you Valentine Vixens trick consumers like me into accepting that every Jan. 2, I’ll find cardboard tiaras in every grocer’s dumpster and sidewalk chalk repurposed into conversational hearts found at every checkout aisle? How?! I don’t understand it. We not only accept that holiday specialty items are for sale early but also buy them! All of them! The cards. The candy. Even the pathetic Valentine’s bouquets!

Someone, please, explain to me how this Secret Society of Cupid’s Cohorts persuaded people to purchase flowers six weeks before Valentine’s Day. Folks do understand that flowers die, don’t they? So how does this make any sense? Are you planning on storing them in the closet until the morning of Feb. 14? I’m no botanist, but I don’t think that’s a sound plan. Maybe it’s just me, but giving your beloved dead flowers isn’t exactly romantic.

Don’t get me wrong, League of Lasses. I’m sure you had the purest of intentions. Beleaguered by the incessant forgetfulness of your partners and the general male lackluster engagement in the holiday of love, you concocted a plan to take back the date night. I assume the Sisterhood set forth on this creative endeavor to make it virtually impossible for your partners to claim they “forgot” Valentine’s Day. So you painted the town red. Red hearts abound! They are everywhere. Every gas station, every pharmacy, every grocery sells the same iconic chocolate boxes. Men couldn’t possibly forget Valentine’s Day if they tried. You knew that with six weeks of daily reminders, dinner reservations would once again be called in. Sweet notes scribbled. Presents purchased. Bouquets bought. You won! You did.

But it’s beginning to backfire.

With great power comes great responsibility. Once Valentine’s Day rolled out the red carpet more than a month early, other holidays began following your lead. Easter, Halloween, Arbor Day — they all have an extended rollout.

That single February night of devotion that your Group of Gals worked so hard to revive, placing us all at risk from sensory overstimulation every time we walk into a store, may now all be for naught. We are becoming immune. Worse, our partners are becoming immune. Now that every holiday has a long rollout, the six-week buildup to Valentine’s doesn’t work as a string around your finger as it once did. Our significant others are losing their Cupid consciousness and once again falling victim to male-pattern Valentine-amnesia.

I think it is time to put an end to all this malt chocolate madness. Release the CEOs from their basement bindings, and burn the blackmail. Let’s move on and let Valentine’s be what it is supposed to be: a celebration worthy of no more than a week’s worth of buildup.

I know it seems scary not to hit our partners over the head with a candy-coated hammer, but I believe this is progress. And remember that if your significant other forgets to buy you a Valentine’s Day present, you need not fret. On Feb. 15, everything will be 50 percent off, and you can treat your own darn self to twice as many chocolates in heart-shaped boxes.

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