5 Emotional Stages Of Seeing Valentine's Day Displays In Stores — In January

You still haven’t had time to even put away your holiday decorations yet when you walk into the store, and BAM! There are Valentine’s Day displays aggressively taking up shelf space for as far as the eye can see. Pink foil-wrapped chocolate roses and heart-shaped boxes are flanked by teddy bears singing "My Girl," and elephants with "Too Cute!" embroidered on their fuzzy white tummies. You check your phone to make sure you haven't stumbled into a wormhole in the space-time continuum, and realize no, you’re not wrong. Despite the daunting overload of red and pink, it’s still only January, and Valentine’s Day has no business being all up in your face like this. There are five distinct emotional stages of seeing Valentine's Day displays in stores in January, and they start with utter shock and proceed through a gauntlet of conflicted feelings.

I sort of feel about Valentine's Day the same way I feel about drinking pink cocktails. I consider myself an educated feminist, but when it comes time to order myself a beverage, if it's pink, I'll probably drink it. And such is the plight of most rational people when it comes to the jackhammer of courtly love that bores a new heart-shaped hole in our fragile brains every January, and continues through the slow trickling of saccharine Facebook posts that lasts a few days past Valentine's Day.

Here are the emotional stages of seeing Valentine's Day displays in stores... even though it's only January.

1. Shock

It’s something akin to running into your mom’s best friend at a hungover brunch, wearing sunglasses while your shirt is on inside out and last night’s mascara is smeared everywhere it isn’t supposed to be. Like, what are you even doing here, teddy bear? There are a scant six weeks before this should be a thing. Please get out of my face until Feb. 1 at the absolute earliest.

2. Stockholm Syndrome

I like chocolate, and that paper garland made out of hearts sure would look cute draped along my curtain rods. Would you just look at these special edition bottles of pink champagne? Only $49.99! I’ll just forego the extra guac for the rest of the year, and it will basically pay for itself. What if my person doesn’t remember Valentine’s Day — or worse, remembers but doesn’t acknowledge it at all? I’ll just buy these four boxes of candy just in case.

3. Anger

Valentine’s Day is a tool, invented by the patriarchy, to absolve heterosexual men of the need to create spontaneous romance the other 364 days of the year. Upheld by the candy lobby (yes, that’s a real thing) and perpetuated on social media, Valentine’s Day has been hijacked from its roots as a feast celebrating a saint jailed for performing illegal wedding ceremonies. Let’s all collectively sip that pink champagne, and simmer on the fact that Saint Valentine was a hero for upholding the principle of marriage equality. Love = Love. CHOCOLATE IS NOT LOVE. #Hillary2016

4. Resignation

Maybe this whole thing is a stupid corporate sham destined to disappoint hoards of people, single or otherwise. I’ll probably make some dinner reservations someplace cute, or make a romantic candlelit dinner at home. You won’t catch me dead with a pink stuffed animal or a frilly card though. Gross.

5. Procrastination

Why am I even worrying about this in the first place? There are still weeks to go before Feb. 14 gets here and... wait, it's already February? Valentine’s Day is tomorrow? Well, good thing Papa John’s has those heart-shaped pizzas.

Images: Twentieth Century Fox Television; Giphy (5)