Get A Grip: Poll respondents lukewarm on Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day.

Time to bust out the hearts and flowers and celebrate love.

In honor of the big day I've taken an informal poll asking participants for thoughts about this jour d'amour.

Because my poll is far from scientific, I've taken the liberty to generalize the results.

Before I started my poll I had to refresh my memory.

What is Valentine's Day anyway? Who was St.

Valentine?

According to my research, the Catholic Church recognizes three St.

Valentine's.

There are several stories linking St.

Valentine to romance.

According to one legend, a Roman emperor thought single young men made the best warriors so he outlawed marriage.

But a priest named Valentine flouted the decree and secretly married young lovers.

For his efforts he was sentenced to death.

In about 498 A.D.

Pope Gelasius declared Feb.

14 as St.

Valentine's Day.

The day was apparently chosen to coincide with a pagan ritual celebrating spring and fertility.

Over the years Feb.

14 has become a day in which lovers exchange notes and gifts.

Despite its romantic history, the appeal of Valentine's Day seems to be fading.

The overwhelming response to my question about Valentine's Day was indifference.

From all ages, men and women single and paired seem largely indifferent to a day that inspires floods of advertising and generates millions in candy and flower sales.

I spoke with one friend -- a self-confessed 'sap' who is now very much in love and became engaged in a highly romantic interlude just two weeks ago – who surprised me with his response.

If anyone was into gushy, force-fed romance, I figured it would be him.

Wrong.

"Honestly, I think its another commercialized holiday where florists jack up their prices and another day to express your feelings to your significant other that you should say every day and not just on Valentine's Day, he said.

"In general, a lot of pressure is put on men to give their wife or girlfriend a great, romantic day.

I think the female gender tends to appreciate this day much more than men.

I really could live without the day."

What? This from a sap?

But his feelings were echoed by other men who said they felt obligated to come home on Feb.

14 with a handful of flowers or some other token of love.

Not that there's anything wrong with tokens of love, they said.

But making it an obligation seemed to rob some of the sentiment from the gift.

As for women appreciating the day more than men, that was mostly false too.

My single woman friends said Valentine's Day is either meaningless to them or that the flurry of advertising makes them feel lonely and less important than someone who is part of a couple.

One well-educated, professionally successful, attractive single woman friend said she hated the day.

Why? It makes her feel like a failure because she's not married.

The married ones were again largely indifferent.

In contrast to the jaded or hurt feelings of adults, the only demographic in my poll to express any excitement over the holiday was kids.

They had taken the time to write and send out multiple Valentine cards and looked forward to school day parties.

I remember those parties well.

Choosing Valentines for school was almost as important as picking out your lunchbox at the beginning of the year.

Holly Hobby or Barbie? Star Wars or Spider Man? And then you wrote out Valentines to each kid in class and a few other special friends.

Everyone went home with a pile of love notes that day.

I think the kids (as kids usually do) have developed a better system than the adults for Valentine's Day.

Instead of focusing on wild romance and on one, single Valentine, I think it would be a better day if we expanded our focus.

Let more people know that they are loved, whether or not you're married or in a committed relationship.

If you are then great, that person deserves special notice.

But as my friend said, these are feelings you should express every day.

And flowers are much more special if you get them "just because" rather than "just because it's Valentine's Day."