Nine years ago I was working at a Missouri newspaper, and was asked to interview some people around town for one of those standard feature stories on Valentine's Day. I've never been a fan of Valentine's Day myself; I don't think it's a coincidence that it, and many other holidays, became gift-giving rituals in the last few decades, when everyone was urged to spend.
So I tried to be a little more balanced than the usual articles I saw. I observed that there were actually three saints named Valentine, and sources disagree on which one supposedly inspired the holiday. I not only interviewed local people who were making elaborate plans -- one man was buying his girlfriend a bouquet of flowers whose names began with the first letter of the girlfriend's name -- but also a man who said he didn't observe it.
"I try to be nice to her every day, not just on this one day," [he] said.
Finally, I called Kalle Lasn of Adbusters magazine to talk about why Valentine's Day has become so massive in recent years -- the biggest card holiday of the year, passing Mother's Day and Christmas. We talked about how people used to observe holidays in a much more personal and modest way before the energy window, and how even our idea of romantic love is a product of the consumerist age.
Unfortunately, that last part was probably pushing it, and was cut for publication.