If you're the type to give a shit about February 14, it's likely you fall under one of two extremes: 1) You have concrete plans, whether it's with your S.O./friends/family; or 2) you dread it as it approaches and hate it when it arrives. (For those who do not give the aforementioned shit, February 14 is Black Panther premiere day. Or the Kraken, erm, Juan Ponce Enrile's birthday. Just leaving this here.) Most unattached folks are reluctant to go out on Valentine's Day, as it's a cruel reminder of their singlehood—bro, you're still going to be single tomorrow. This capitalist pseudo-holiday isn't going to change that.
Don't get me wrong. I love love. I'm a sucker for romcom airport chase scenes, seeing old married couples at the mall (the lola with an Hermès scarf, the lolo in a Lacoste shirt), and receiving eloquent good morning texts. If there's one thing all my exes know about me, it's that I have a tendency to over-romanticize—and so many others are the same way. If there's one day that corporations could leverage the heck out of so that hopeless romantics like me can line their pockets anew, it's V-Day. A five-course meal with wine? Yes, please. A Southeast Asian getaway? I'm already there. An embarrassingly large assortment of chocolate in a tin container shaped like, big whoop, a heart? Please just take my money.
See, just like Christmas, Valentine's Day makes us all broke—more so if you're a man. According to a 2016 survey by Mastercard Consumer Purchasing Priorities, men are likely to spend 40% more than women usually do. And don't think single people are off the hook: a 2017 survey say 24% of y'all are inclined to buy yourselves a gift for V-Day. The elaborate heart displays, sales targeted to couples, and special Valentine's restaurant offerings are all a ruse to get you to spend, spend, spend. And it can be easy to go over your budget. The meal, your outfit, the main event (Are you seeing a concert? Staying at a nice hotel?), the special Valentine's gift—everything can bite you back in your love-struck ass faster than you can say “merong forever.” Remember how your 13th month pay seemed to have disappeared so quickly?
Then again, special occasions are special occasions. Minsan lang naman, eh. And the expenditure is worth it if it's for somebody you love. That we can understand and empathize with. The mindset that we don't want you to have, though, is to feel that it's absolutely necessary to do something special for Valentine's Day—or that refraining from the celebrations means you don't care. We should all try and show our loved ones the same kind of affection that we're conditioned to give them on February 14th, year-round. Love, after all, is not anchored by fleeting emotions and expensive gestures. The act of choosing to honor and cherish someone, every single day, even when it gets hard—that's true love.
(The malls are going to be packed, anyway. You'd fare better with Netflix, cheap wine, and stuffed crust pizza. Go out with your girl on February 15th, when everything is on discount and you don't have to worry about parking.)