Whether you love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays that definitely makes its presence known. Heart-shaped boxes of candy and stuffed animals in various shades of pink have been highly visible on the grocery store shelves since the week after Christmas, many of your favorite treats have been given a heart-themed makeover, and the floral department is overflowing with bouquets of all shapes and sizes. You can’t deny that Valentine’s Day is approaching…even if you might want to.

Many people seem to assume that your opinion of Valentine’s Day is directly related to whether or not you are in a relationship. While that might be a contributing factor for some people, my refusal to celebrate Valentine’s Day has absolutely nothing to do with my current relationship status. It actually stems from my experiences as a grocery store cashier (a job I held for a few years right after graduating from college).

These hearts can be found on Clipart Library.

The store I worked at always made a point of opening a “Valentine’s Day Express Lane” on the holiday itself, to allow people (mostly men) who were only buying a few Valentine’s Day items to check out without having to wait in one of the regular lines. Because I was a very fast cashier, I had the privilege of being assigned to work at that station for the entirety of my eight-hour shift.

It was the attitudes of the customers who came through that check-out line that ultimately soured my appreciation for the holiday. Nearly all of the men who came through my line made comments about how their wives or girlfriends were “expecting” them to buy something, or that they had been told not to buy anything, but would “get in trouble” if they didn’t.

At the time, I remember thinking how horrible it was that a holiday meant to celebrate love and affection was nothing more than an inconvenience to people. It really bothered me that people felt like they had an obligation to express their feelings through an expensive dinner on February 14th; or a pink teddy bear, roses, or a box of overpriced (and disgusting) chocolates. The truth is, we don’t need a holiday to celebrate the love that we have for other people. We can do that every day of our lives.

So since I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, what will I be doing on February 14th? This year, I will be celebrating what I’m calling Venom-tine’s Day. I’ll be taking the opportunity to spend the day with my favorite Marvel Comics symbiote, reading some fantastic comic books and watching Venom, starring Tom Hardy.

While I will write a special Venom-tine’s Day post here on The Unapologetic Bookworm, if you’re interested in following my Venom-tine’s Day celebration as it happens, I will be posting frequent updates on Twitter throughout the day on the 14th. You can follow me on Twitter @UnapologBkworm.

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