In going through some old essays, I found this. I wrote it for Babble and now I know why I didn’t continue writing for Babble longer than just a few years. The site was about cute memes, celebrity news, and feel-good posts. Apparently, I tend toward dark.
These stats are few years old and though I’m not sure I would say things so darkly at this point in life, I’m going to repost this. It is interesting, at least.
I also can’t count because there are really only 9 things on this list.
I’m all for showing love and affection. I’m just all for doing it year round and doing it in a way that doesn’t promote weight gain, child slavery, or cheating spouses. Valentine’s Day, as ruthlessly shoved down our throats by advertising and societal expectations, carries some dark stories.
I’m not anti-Valentine’s Day but I want to love my husband and my children while making wise choices, remaining loyal, eating food that actually tastes good, and not harming others in the process. And I want to do it any day of the year without feeling ordered around by a calendar or a custom.
Here are 10 (or 9) dark things about our day of love.
Cheating. Ashley Madison, a website that helps people find other with whom to cheat, reports that the day after Valentine’s Day, the day after being let down by their partner, the day after their expectations were raised and then crushed, is their biggest day of the year.
Origins. Some say Valentine’s Day traces its roots to an ancient pagan holiday called Lupercalia, in which men stripped naked, grabbed whips, and spanked young women in hopes of increasing their fertility.
Other Origins. Others say It began as a liturgical celebration of early Christian saints, including honoring the graphic martyrdom of some. It became associated with romance in the high middle ages.
Candy hearts are terrible. They taste like painted cardboard, leave a weird powder on your fingers, and have creepy messages.
Weight gain. Candy, chocolate, dinner out, wine. There are 1400 calories in a one-pound box of chocolates.
Break-ups. Supposedly the percentage of women who would end their relationship if they received nothing for Valentine’s Day is 53%. I must fall in the other 47%.
Money. Last year Americans spent $18.6 billion dollars for Valentine’s Day. $1.9 billion on flowers and $1.6 billion on candy. Maybe that isn’t a bad thing in your opinion, but compared to the Gross National Product of Djibouti (2011), that is a lot of money. The GNP? $1.24 billion
Waste. In the two week period leading up to Valentine’s Day, American sales of gold jewelry lead to 34 million metric tons of waste.
Chocolate and child labor. In West Africa, cocoa is a commodity crop grown primarily for export. As the chocolate industry has grown over the years, so has the demand for cheap cocoa. Today, cocoa farmers barely make a living selling the beans and often resort to the use of child labor in order to keep their prices competitive…
Flowers. In a push to meet the demands of Valentine’s Day, workers have been reported to log up to 20 hours a day, at 250-300 stems per hour. According to the Victoria International Development Education Association, two-thirds of Colombian and Ecuadorian flower workers suffer from work-related health problems, including headaches, nausea, impaired vision, conjunctivitis, rashes, asthma, stillbirths, miscarriages, congenital malformations, and respiratory and neurological problems.
Happy LOVE day!
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