How Tinder changed Valentine
It is the month of February and there was no escaping the most important day of the month. Yes, Valentine’s.
With Valentine’s Day preparations gathering momentum all around us like a particularly large balloon being inflated for a children’s birthday party, there was going to be no respite from the tacky hearts, splashes of red and declarations of undying love through every medium possible for the next two weeks. Each year, the real frenzy starts a week before V-day, with each successive day being declared as Rose Day, Propose Day, Chocolate Day, Teddy Day, Promise Day, Kiss Day, Hug Day and finally the queen mother of all—Valentine’s Day.
Until recently I was only vaguely aware of the existence of Valentine’s Day, with it stirring a few memories of the time I was in college and all of us used to dress in red and wait with bated breath to see which guy would send us a Valentine’s Day card. I distinctly remember the year when about fourteen girls in my class were all delighted at having received a dozen red roses. They were all very excited until they compared notes and discovered that it was the same guy who had sent similar cards to all fourteen girls! I guess he was hedging his bets—out of the fourteen chosen ones, even if one said yes, he would be content. I don’t know if he was foolish or smart but he was crazy for sure.
Today, I see my timeline on my social media pages flooded with various days prefixed with names of various things cute, and tons of pictures of satisfied twenty-somethings and teeny boppers posing with their cherished treasures of roses, teddies and what not, declaring gratitude and happiness to be loved so much. Welcome to modern-day Valentine’s—where the worth of your love is judged by the size of the teddy bear that you have been able to gift your loved one. (What, no teddy bear? You don’t love me!)
The commercial enterprises cash in on this completely. Everything from pressure cookers to treadmills to real estate to lingerie has taken on a Valentine’s Day spin. Do you love your wife? Surprise her with a pressure cooker this Valentine. Do you love your family? Gift them the perfect home this Valentine. I am certain St. Valentine, the saint who married off lovers in secret, never envisaged the way this celebration would turn out to be one of the biggest consumer holidays. Today an estimated one billion Valentine cards are sent out each year, which is more than on any other holiday, except for Christmas. More than thirty-five million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are sold and more than two hundred and twenty million red roses are produced just for the holiday. In the US alone, about twenty billion dollars are spent on Valentine’s Day. That the day holds great
importance for those in love is corroborated by the fact that about six million couples are likely to get engaged on 14 February.
While all this expression of love via teddy bears is okay for those hopelessly in love, what about the singles who still haven’t found ‘The One’? Fret not, for the marketers, those clever people, haven’t forgotten them at all. A pub in Dublin hosted a Tinder party for singles this Valentine’s. They offered users of this dating app a free glass of champagne if they showed up at the bar and flashed their Tinder profile. Since other users of Tinder would be assembled there too, one could easily find a potential partner right there and you could be hooking up with someone on Valentine’s Day. They called it ‘Love Me Tinder’ night, a play on one of the most popular love songs on Valentine’s Day, Elvis Presley’s Love Me Tender. Most people who dedicate that song to their partner would have gone through the various stages of romance like flirting, dating, courtship and finally the declaration of love. This takes a few months at the very least. But for those at the bar, in search of love or its alias, there is no need to wait. Romance here is manufactured with a single swipe—‘I like you, you’re it, let’s hook-up, it’s Valentine’s Day’, and you have a partner within moments of meeting each other.
At the other extreme are anti-Valentine’s Day parties, such as the one hosted by a pub in Los Angeles, which had voodoo dolls, some piñata aggression-release therapy and prizes for the worst ‘got-dumped’ stories. Thus you had company if you were recently dumped, and you didn’t have to sit at home brooding.
Whether you are in love or standing on the periphery waiting to jump in, or have escaped with singes or sometimes third-degree burns, there is a Valentine’s just for you. I wouldn’t be surprised if the local vegetable seller started packing potatoes and onions in heart-shaped baskets especially for Valentine’s Day. After all, it is a splendid marketing opportunity and no true-blue salesman would let go of the chance to jump on the bandwagon and peddle his ware, laced with hearts and the promise of everlasting love.
Never mind what happens later.
The hope of finding that elusive thing is the fuel we all thrive on.
Excerpt from my Non-fiction book on relationships: Why We Love The Way We Do
Buy it HERE
pic credit: Rawpixel from Unsplash