- George Zimmerman will not be charged in domestic dispute
- Russian officials press bilateral U.S. trade deal
- Selfies at Funerals blog creator retires after Obama flub: ‘Our work here is done’
- New Obama adviser Podesta is against Keystone but will steer clear of pipeline deliberations
- 40 Australian adults, children found in ‘one of the worst accounts of incest ever made public’
- Venezuela’s Maduro calls on student ‘price vigilantes’ to hit the streets, report businesses
- Atheists smug as Hindus join Satanists to demand display at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Bow before Valkyrie, NASA’s ‘superhero robot’ entry in DARPA challenge
- 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy suspended for pretend bow-and-arrow shooting
- Tea partiers turn on Capitol Hill budget deal
The science of Valentine’s Day
Researchers attracted to facts of love
It’s the one day of the year set aside for matters of the heart, but that hasn’t stopped psychologists, economists, social scientists and even cybersecurity specialists from taking a more intellectual approach to Valentine's Day.
In fact, an academic cottage industry appears to have arisen to study the economic, cultural and even political impacts of a day nominally devoted to love.
Feb. 14 has become a favorite day to take the temperature of the larger economy, with global sugar prices, chocolate sales and lingerie fashion trends all serving as proxies. One survey has found that the deep recession and a still-shaky job market haven’t stopped consumers from purchasing Valentine's Day merchandise for that special someone.
Total spending for the holiday is projected to reach $15.7 billion, a nearly 13 percent increase from 2010, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2011 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey. In the poll of more than 8,000 consumers 18 and older, 59.8 percent of women and 56.4 percent of men said they planned to celebrate Valentine's Day.
According to the NRF, the average American spent $103 on the holiday last year, but the 2011 survey projected per capita spending at $116.21.
While the tab is going up, the purchases remain largely the same - cards and candy.
Of those polled, 52.1 percent said they planned on giving greeting cards as gifts, while 47.5 percent would head for the candy aisles and 34.3 percent to local florists. By the time Cupid has shot his last arrow, the survey projected, consumers will have spent a total of $1.1 billion on cards, $1.5 billion on candy and $1.7 billion on flowers.
On another economic front, early February marks the equivalent of the biggest selling season for drug companies peddling Viagra and other sexual-performance pills. In the week before Valentine's Day last year, more prescriptions were written for Viagra’s little blue pill than any other week of the year, according to figures compiled by the firm Wolters Kluwer Pharma Solutions.
The worst time for sales: Thanksgiving week, when families tend to travel and gather in large groups.
This year’s series included an e-card with a picture of the Constitution with the message “Obamacare, I’m all broken up over you,” as well as one featuring Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. that read “Happy Thanksgiving.”
Relationship specialists such as psychologist Diana Kirschner have spent time studying Valentine's Day’s have-nots, the singles and the unwillingly alone who will be bombarded by images of the culture’s ideals about love and togetherness in movies, magazines and offices.
“These cultural forces have created unrealistic expectations for what’s supposed to happen on this day,” Ms. Kirschner said in an interview for the American Psychological Association website. “Couples are portrayed as so much happier than singles.”
Ms. Kirschner suggested that singles get together with friends to throw a party, go out to dinner or attend a play.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
- Rand Paul: Budget deal 'shameful,' 'huge mistake'
- Tea partiers turn on Capitol Hill budget deal
- Teen thugs in D.C. run wild -- even while wearing GPS ankle bracelets
- Leon Panetta named as source of 'Zero Dark Thirty' scriptwriters information
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whisky: U.K.-born expert
- Obama's antics at Nelson Mandela tribute: Jovial conversation, handshake with Raul Castro
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- VEGAS RULES: Harry Reid pushed feds to change ruling for casino's big-money foreigners
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Interviews and show reviews from the Los Angeles punk scene past and present. Los Angeles has always been rich in punk rock talent since punk rock was born.
Buzz on Bees is a column promoting the love and life of God’s greatest pollinators on earth: The Honeybee
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
A libertarian look at breaking news and political trends by author Tom Mullen.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow