As I'm sure you're well aware, today is Valentine's Day. Of all the commercial holidays the US is fortunate enough to celebrate, VDay is notoriously the least trustworthy. Despite all the platitudes urging you to do things like "show yourself some love" whether you're single or attached, Valentine's Day, as it stands, revolves around a fantasy of coupledom that's mostly only attainable in romantic comedies or in the earliest stages of mutual infatuation. And there's almost nothing you can do to escape its clutches and stave off the inevitable feelings of disappointment that'll creep into your consciousness over the course of the day: if you try to ignore the holiday altogether, you'll find it following you everywhere you turn. You'll stumble across articles like this, see euphoric declarations of love in your news feed, your eyes will pass across VDay-themed Twitter trending topics, strangers will stride past you down the street carrying oversized bouquets of roses.
And if you decide to mark the occasion, just to appease the holiday's cruel demon overlords, neither a low-key celebration nor a fancy, festive one will match the saccharine, uncomplicated fantasies of ultimate romance parroted back to you by media outlets and overly-smug, delusional acquaintances. The problems in your relationship, which are an aspect of every relationship, will peer out at you from corners, nip at your feet under the table, cackle into your ear as you try to have a conversation.
To step back from my grounchiness, let me just say: I'll accept that some people manage to have a satisfying Febraury 14th from time to time. It just happens too rarely for a holiday that purports to be about love. Instead of allowing people to celebrate what they have, Valentine's Day too often reminds people of what they don't have and want, giving them an entire day either to wallow in it or try to flee it.
But if anyone genuinely wants Valentine's Day (besides elementary school kids) to stick around, it's brands. It's a good excuse for companies to promote themselves and package it as a love letter. And that's really the core of the holiday, its true essence, so that's maybe what we should be celebrating. Good VDay ads, like Kate Spade's pitch-perfect "b mine" online campaign (selections pictured here) or Google's VDay-themed Doodle (video below). These companies are your true Valentines, so enjoy their gifts.