No chocolate for you!

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No chocolate for you!

Welcome to No-Valentine’s-Day land. Here, you don’t have to lose any sleep over whether you have to get (or not get) someone a damned box of chocolates.

Here, Tiger Woods means zilch. George Clooney doesn’t ring a bell. It’s the perfect place for anyone burned by love - whether it was at the high school dance or your latest black tie affair.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not against expressing love and affection to a doll or a Bruce Lee action figure. Those last forever. But what’s all the ballyhoo about buying a substance that melts away for someone that may not be around the next morning? It’s the wrong message to send anyway.

Buying a few pieces of dried squid is probably better in terms of getting the message of eternal love across. Try chewing it. It takes an eternity! A gift like this is also cheaper. You are bound to shell out the same amount of money for the standard chocolate gift box as it would cost you to buy a whole pack of dried squid.

Here is an interesting nugget per the almighty Wikipedia: “The U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately one billion valentines are sent each year, making the day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year, behind Christmas. The association estimates that, in the U.S., men spend on average TWICE as much money as women.” (The emphasis is mine.)

Whoa, wait a minute! Where is gender equality when you really need it? This is a worrisome trait and may be the source of all relationship problems. Ever wonder why women complain that their guy has “changed” because he’s not spending the same amount of money (and effort) after 750 dates as he did on the first? It all starts here.

Luckily, this year’s Valentine’s Day falls on the country’s most celebrated holiday - Chinese Lunar New Year, which is on Sunday. Thanks to that happy turn of events, the Valentine fuss will be somewhat diluted - but legions of men and women will still suffer.

Interestingly, in Korea someone has decided that Valentine’s Day is when women express their love by giving candy and gifts to the love in their life. For the men, there is White Day, which falls on March 14.

Korea has another practice not found anywhere else in the world. Here, a plain wedding band is given when a couple gets engaged and an engagement ring with a diamond is given as a wedding ring. While not everyone follows these unwritten rules, as you can see, some clever marketing person has pulled a Jedi mind trick and poisoned our relationships with commercial schmaltz.

It’s up to us to break away from these evil habits and make our own rules instead of getting stressed out when it’s really much ado about nothing.

Take me for example. I am smart enough to effectively ignore White Day and I am working in secret to banish Valentine’s Day, too. From the moment I start dating someone I make sure it’s clear that, for me, these two “holidays” do not exist. I hear some ifs and buts for the first couple of years but the bickering pretty much stops after that. In exchange, I am asked to make up for it on other occasions, which I am more than happy to do.

So come this Valentine’s Day, if you haven’t already committed yourself to buying chocolate, try hugging your loved ones just a tad stronger instead. Call a friend you haven’t seen since your last reunion and say hello. Write a letter to your parents. Or send one to our armed forces, who don’t even get a day off on Armed Forces Day, which used to be a national holiday. Let them know you appreciate what they are doing. These are actions that speak louder than chocolate.

By Brian Lee []
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