Love is society’s bait for consumerism


Jose Soto, Staff Reporter

Shortly before I began working on this column, I checked my bank account balance.  Now, I sit here writing with a smile on my face from corner to corner.  Why?  Because I won’t be wasting those extra $300 on buying unnecessary and romanticized purchases.  My wallet won’t take a blow either from lavish entrees and hesitantly wrapped expensive presents, and fortunately, neither will my character.

I know what you’re thinking. I’m either cynical or bitter—from an overwhelming heartbreak, or just jealous that, as life would have it, I am single.  Last year, while I was in a previous relationship, we were too early in our involvement to go full throttle, having only been together for some weeks.  We simply settled for drinks at a local bar.  That’s the extent of my experience with Valentine’s Day.  The truth is, I’ve never really had a Valentine and I’d like to keep it that way.

That’s not to say I’m not a romantic person or don’t believe in love.  I simply believe that one does not need a specific day to express love for others.  When I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with someone romantically, I’ve taken any opportunity to communicate that ardor.  There’s no need for an allocated date for expressing my love for anyone, and more importantly, I don’t believe in the capitalistic notion that I must put my debit card through a swiping binge to showcase that I am capable of human emotion.

I’ll pass on the extensive wait times at restaurants, the overpriced hotel room package deals, the boxed array of diabetes-inducing candies and the generic, mushy card.  The overwhelming hype for this holiday has become the commercialization of love.

I’m sure it’s great for the economy, but it’s unfortunate for our values.  We are expected to shower our loved ones with gifts and treats, a mere two months after Christmas, as if we didn’t have enough expenses already!

What makes matters worse, is that certain items and purchases are directly expected such as, flowers, chocolates, candy and champagne. Even the female undergarment industry has managed to insert themselves into the mix. We are expected to purchase these particular things to demonstrate our love for our special someone.

Aren’t we entitled to make our own decisions as consumers? Don’t we have the right to politely decline to buy anything at all? By society’s standards, refraining to do so will get you dubbed degrading terms.  Either you’re broke, cheap, a jerk and even pronouns that are not publishable—unless you’re Javier (read his column in last week’s issue). You’re screwed if you do, and screwed if you don’t.

Shouldn’t every given day be Valentine’s Day? And shouldn’t any gift be considered worthy enough to showcase love? We all struggle to find substantial love and I understand the celebration of such love.

I commend those who take any opportunity to shower their loved ones with signs of their affections. However, we shouldn’t around for the calendar to showcase our ability to love, and perhaps most importantly, we shouldn’t allow society to hook us into consumerism with the love being the bait.

Jose Soto may be reached at [email protected]