Afternoon Inqueery

AI: Valentine’s Day

I have such a very patchy history with this pseudo-holiday.  Some years it’s something I put a lot of effort into; some it seems like a cruel joke designed to make as many people as humanly possible feel inadequate and miserable all at once.  Every year I find myself hating that there’s so much expectation built up around it.  (But today I’m at least grateful that it’s easy to post about, because I’m staring down the barrel of a very long, potentially frustrating afternoon in lab.)

How do you feel about Valentine’s Day?  How do you deal with – either by navigating or circumventing – the expectations involved?  Do you have a favorite way to spend it if/when you’re single?

The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 3pm ET.



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Dae is a chemical engineering graduate student who aspires to become a mad scientist, but is prepared to settle for being a professor. Her extracurricular academic interests are an ever-shifting list, but currently include temperament psychology, philosophy, transhumanism, and pre-modern literature. She identifies as a bisexual cis-woman, as well as a feminist, humanist, atheist, and roleplaying game enthusiast.


  1. February 14, 2013 at 3:52 pm —

    What exactly is a “fake holiday” as opposed to a “real holiday”. Every holiday has a history that’s been… fudged a bit. For example, Christmas being chosen to celebrate the birth of Christ as a replacement for… whatever Pagan holiday was being celebrated at that time. And let’s not get into the historical rewriting that was necessary to create Thanksgiving.

    My point is, every holiday is determined by culture, not by some objective standard. Even if the claim of Halmark creating the holiday to sell cards were true (and it’s not) (and this claim is usually brought up by those claiming this to be a fake holiday, even though I see you didn’t) why would that make it a fake holiday? Particularly since nearly every holiday in America these days has been co-opted by capitalism to turn us all into mindless consumers to one degree or another.

    • February 14, 2013 at 7:26 pm —

      Well, I called it a pseudo-holiday because it doesn’t get me out of work. 😉 That’s all that qualification means to me personally, and I agree with your comment about the nebulousness of the concept.

      • February 14, 2013 at 9:53 pm —

        Oh, that makes sense. 🙂

        Not exactly the same, but I have a professor who coined the term “surprise holidays” for days like Martin Luther King Day. You know for the days, where you go to the bank or the post office, and Surprise! it’s closed.

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