Leber: What saint invented candy hearts?

I hate Valentine's Day.

First, there are those candy hearts: The ones that say things like "Be Mine" and "True Love," and in the romantic parlance of our time, "Tweet Me." They're nauseating, and not in a philosophical sense. They just taste hideous. They're the candy corn of Valentine's Day.

Second, it's a capitalistic crock. Does anyone really need a cheap, stuffed monkey sporting a T-shirt reading "I'm Bananas Over You" or 17 pounds of heart-shaped marshmallow candy?

Third, and this is just me, but thanks to Eve Ensler and my Northeastern liberal arts college feminism degree, I feel guilty if I don't go listen to women talk about their lady business every V-Day. I have enough guilt in my life, thank you.

Fourth, our kindergarten mentality never quite escapes us, does it? Remember sitting next to your little construction paper-decorated shoebox, trying not to cry because Maggie or Milly or Molly or Mae was getting more dime-store Peanuts valentines? It's no different at 25 or 35, only now we wish impetigo on the overly affectio nate couples if we're single and secretly compare our romantic plans to those of others if we're coupled.

Fifth, it would probably be frowned upon to walk up to a man dressed in a red tie and pink shirt to match his date's red dress and invite him to join girls' night out. Because I know I'm not the only one who's looked at those poor saps and groaned in pity.

It's all just too much pressure. Too much emphasis. Too much guilt. And gender political correctness aside -- I'm the girl here -- the pressure really isn't even on me (which, of course, I feel guilty about). Truly, God help my poor boyfriend, who has to contend with the crazy likes of me, or all you others out there who have the same burdens. You have my condolences.

Because what I hate most about Valentine's Day is the fact that I actually find myself buying into the whole thing. I love flowers, sweet cards, surprises, romantic nights out and home cooked meals in, and I can't stand myself for feeling more than a little disappointed if those things don't coincide with Feb. 14, for one reason or another. Particularly because in all reasonableness, I'd much rather get roses on a random Tuesday than on some day decreed by a Roman martyr, Hallmark and a fat baby who plays with sharp objects while flying around in his diaper.

Because while it may be entirely true that in this often head-spinning, on-the-go, cranky, crabby, litigious, critical, snarky, hypocritical, frustrating culture of ours, we do actually need a day to be set aside for love (of all varieties), it's just sort of depressing that we do.

Those candy hearts, however, those really are just disgusting.

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