Editorial: Take off your rose-coloured glasses

I hate Valentine’s Day.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with fancy flowers, a nice dinner, or a bed scattered with rose petals.

All those romantic gestures are completely valid ways to express undying affection and devotion.

And expressing undying love once a year is a hugely profitable business. According to a 2012 CTV article, the average Canadian spends $126 every Feb. 14.

Restaurants Canada confirms Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year for sit-in diners.

The holiday provides much-needed extra income for local businesses during the harsh, hellish month of February.

Canadians are willing to shell out big bucks the name of romance. But as The Beatles sang all those years ago, money can’t buy love.

I have empirical proof. My fifth grade girlfriend and I were stuck in a largely loveless relationship. We talked once every two weeks.

Our interactions mostly consisted of her berating my weirdness, or screaming at me to stop jumping off the playground equipment while screeching like a carnivorous dinosaur.

Before every holiday that year, my mom would take me to our local Walmart.  I would pick out a cheap present: a five dollar silver necklace, a stuffed animal or a box of chocolates.

On the day of tribute, I would meet my girlfriend on the playground,   give her the gift, and we would continue to avoid each other at all costs.

It may be misguided to compare a silly playground relationship to a real, functioning adult one, but a single, simple truth remains relevant.

In any relationship, the small things matter most.

Lurking underneath every grand, sweeping romantic gesture are the minutiae – trivial details of everyday life that can either topple or build a relationship.

As Annie Dillard, an American novelist and poet wrote, “‘how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” It’s easy to lose yourself in the constant stress and blandness of the world.

Get up. Drink coffee. Catch the bus. Go to work. Come back. Dinner. Beer in front of the television, sleep… and soon, time has soundlessly slipped by.

Undying devotion isn’t proved by dropping a wallet full of cash on flowers and a fancy dinner once a year.

Undying devotion is proved by answering a simple question: can you remember why you fell in love in the first place?

If you can’t, that’s fine. People change. Relationships end.

But don’t assume that devoting one day a year to love is enough.