The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

February 12, 2014

Valentine’s Day Kitsch Roundup 2014: How Do Fools Fall in Love?

Filed under: Holidays — Tags: , — Brian Lutz @ 7:53 am

Oh, the troubles I’ve seen…

Well, Valentine’s Day is fast approaching once again, and as always, there is one thing on the hearts and minds of men all around the globe:  Don’t screw this one up.  Yes, there are plenty of nice things you can get your significant other to show how much you care, but at the same time there are also plenty of things out there that are, to put it briefly, rather inadvisable.  And for the seventh year now, I have made note of some of the more egregious examples found on store shelves all over the area, and compiled them here, partially as a convenient excuse to make snarky comments, and partially as a “What not to do” warning for those who dare to tread into this dangerous territory.  Along this path lies heartbreak, anguish, and quite possibly even sleeping on the couch.

As usual, I present this with the disclaimer that I am by no means an expert on this subject, nor do I pretend to be.  If I was then maybe I would have figured out how to stop being single at some point in time.  Then again, my girlfriend doesn’t seem to be a big fan of the traditional Valentine’s Day stuff anyway.  A couple of years ago, our Valentine’s Day date consisted of a lunch in one of the fancy steakhouses here in Bellevue, which quite frankly didn’t really go over so well.  Last year it was dinner at IKEA followed by a visit to one of the local Go-Kart tracks.  Not surprisingly, that one went over a whole lot better.  I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that to everyone though;  somehow I get the suspicion that I’m dealing with a bit of an edge case (not that I’m complaining, mind you…)  I don’t tell this story for any particular reason, but know that everyone is different, and sometimes you’ll find that the reality of the situation is far different from what the greeting card companies might have you expect.  Anyway, without further ado, the 7th annual Sledgehammer Valentine’s Day Kitsch Roundup can be found after the jump.

Previous Valentine’s Day Kitsch Roundups:

Leading off, as usual, is the standard assortment of heart-shaped boxes of chocolate.  Not much new to report on this front, but it’s good to know that the candy makers are keeping up with all the hottest new cliches borrowed from the late 1930s.

Then again, the candy manufacturers have shown that they are perfectly capable of running much more recent cliches into the ground too.  (as for the chocolate remotes, those got covered last year.)

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Or, if they need to try to ride yet another wave of nostalgia, they can always re-recycle a few convenient  previously recycled bits of 80s and 90s nostalgia.  Nothing against the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (at least not until Michael Bay ruins them forever with the upcoming movie) but just how many times have they dragged them out of the sewers to sell yet another boatload of cheap toys by now?

I can pretty much guarantee that by the time you’ve finished off that box of chocolate, holding up the box in front of you might be the only way you’re going to be able to maintain that physique.  And while we’re at it, what the heck is going on with whatever that lady is supposed to be “wearing” on the box?

Cats and dogs are always a popular subject for this type of thing.  Now available with ridiculous googly eyes, just in case you need something freakishly unnatural for your sweethesart.

Finally, when you’re doing your Valentine’s Day shopping, don’t forget the dog.  If nothing else, you can pretty reliably count on getting a good face-licking out of the deal, which is probably more than most of these things above will get you.

Then again, for some people out there, something like this might be more appropriate.  After all, they probably spend more time with one of these than they do with actual human beings (well, actual human beings that don’t swear relentlessly at them through a tinny headset speaker from their parents’ basement anyway.)

If you happen to prefer your Valentine’s chocolate with a side of gratuitous self-aggrandizement, they’ve got you covered on that one too.  I happen to prefer my chocolate slightly less egotistical myself.

As usual, there is a large assortment of the usual noncommital grade school valentines cards to be found, complete with vague messages expressing generic sentiments that may or may not actually exist (but you had to get one for everyone in the class anyway.)  Naturally, these tend to follow the standard pop culture trends, regardless of where they may lead.

If you can’t catch pop culture (white) lightning in a bottle, sometimes you have to come up with something more generic,  And naturally, one of these days you’re just going to run out of good ideas.  I’d like to see the focus group study which determined that Valentines based on disappointingly small hamburgers was a good idea.

Other times, you begin to suspect that the card makers are just throwing whatever concept they could come up with at the wall and see if something manages to stick.  Only in this case, the wall happened to be a refrigerator.

Then again, every once in a while they manage to come up with something that’s actually interesting for as change.  I know that I probably would have been thrilled to get something like this back when I was in grade school.

If you aren’t particularly picky about the timeliness of your pop cultural references, you can always hit the thrift shop for last year’s model at a bargain bin price.  You might want to do a quick check to make sure Justin Bieber isn’t currently incarcerated before handing those ones out to the class though…

When preparing for Valentine’s Day, don’t forget to dress appropriately for the occasion.  If for some reason you happen to be a crazy cat lady, this will probably fit the bill quite nicely.

Just in case you plan on having a hot time on Valentine’s Day, perhaps one (or more) of these might be more appropriate.  Especially, if for some unknown reason (we won’t judge you much) you happen to have fallen in love with a barbeque grill.

And if you happen to have fallen in love with a cup of coffee, they have you covered on that one too.  Alas, it’s generally a love that is bound to grow cold if it is allowed to linger for too long.

In the stuffed animal department, we mostly have the same stuff as usual, only this time around they’ve added gratuitous mustaches to a lot of it, mostly because mustaches managed to end up being ridiculously trendy at some point.  Somehow I suspect that three years from now we’re going to be seeing these monkeys on the shelf wearing fezzes and Nehru jackets after some YouTube video manages to go viral.

In the ever-popular “cute-yet-impractically-large” department, we’ve got this.  This particular  one will be cute for about three days or so, right up until someone realizes that the thing is taking up half the living room, and that the structural support necessary to sustain a giant freestanding stuffed heart thingy makes it basically useless as a pillow too.

Perhaps a giant unicorn-like thing with a vaguely horn-like projection sticking out of its head would be more to her liking?  Somehow I suspect that if unicorns actusaslly existed, their horns would look something like this, which would make the whole thing just seem disappointing when compared to the unrealistic expectations set by miscellaneous fantasy fiction.  Which will probably lead to self-consciousness and all sorts of other problems down the road.

Next up on the list:  It’s Cloning Nemo, Valentine’s Day Edition.  Complete with gratuitous animatronics, as required by law.

Oh and by the way, weren’t we all supposed to be done with all the old nerd cliches, oh, about five years ago?  And when did we get the memo that we’re supposed to be taping glasses to our heads now?  I’m pretty sure I missed that one.

Seeing as how they’ve covered just about every “cute” animal they can possibly think of to make stuffed versions of already, they seem to have started moving on to some of the more obscure varieties now,  At this rate, I think we can expect to see water buffaloes with giant pink hearts on their sides sometime in the next five years.

Naturally, many people’s Valentine’s Day activities will include a number of fine alcoholic beverages.  If you’re looking to get fancy with your celebration, but not quite fancy enough to warrant actually doing the dishes afterward, why not try some of these disposable plastic champagne glasses?

If you’re looking to mix up something a little fancier, you can always try some TrendyBerry martini mix served up in a glass slipper.  Sure you’ll probably spill half the mix on the kitchen counter owing to the awkward design of the bottle, but I’m sure it’ll make for a romantic cleanup job.

Finally, after you’ve enjoyed your various beverages of variable fanciness and cleaned up the inevitable mess, it’s time to settle in for whatever other extracurricular activities may be planned for the evening,..  Just don’t forget the puppy trsining pads.  (And no, I do not have any intention of speculating on just what might be going on there, thank you very much.)

Of course, if none of those ideas work for you (and I sure hope most of them don’t,) there’s always the old stsandby of flowers to fall back on.  Of course, flowers tend to be expensive and don’t last very long, so why not try buying in bulk?  Surely one of those things has to count for at least 2 dozen real ones, right?  Anyway, as usual, have a happy and safe Valentine’s Day, and be careful out there.

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