What can researchers tell us about the thrills and heartaches of Valentine's Day? More than you might think
Valentine's Day: The modern holiday that unnerves men and leaves women worried about being disappointed — at least according to recent polls and research. Here are seven studies that shed light on some of the pitfalls of Feb. 14, and offer hope to those determined to celebrate:
1. Men don't hate Valentine's Day. They fear it
In a recent survey by dating service It's Just Lunch, one-third of men said they purposely avoid getting in relationships between Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day. Why? Fear of "perceived threats to their egos and wallets," suggests It's Just Lunch spokeswoman Jacquie Brownridge.
2. Ladies, men will disappoint you
What do women want on Valentine's Day? More than 75 percent would love a handwritten love note or poem, according to the Lindt Lindor "Code of Modern Chivalry" report. Sadly, only half of men will oblige, with some trying to pass off somebody else's poem as their own. Meanwhile, more than 20 percent of men will opt for a text-message valentine, and about 10 percent will go with email.
3. Old-fashioned cards are still popular
At least in Great Britain, where 64 percent of Britons say a card or letter is the best way to say "I love you" on Feb. 14, according to Royal Mail. E-cards only got 7 percent of the vote, behind a phone call (8 percent), but ahead of a text message (6 percent), and email or a social-networking posting (5 percent).
4. It's a good day for Viagra
In 2010, more Viagra was prescribed in the week before Feb. 14 than any other week of the year, according to Wolters Kluwer Pharma Solutions. (The "lowest-use" week of the year is Thanksgiving week.) Valentine's Day sex is "kind of like birthday sex or Christmas sex," says Indiana University sex researcher Debby Herbenick, to MSNBC.com. "This is an opportunity that only comes up occasionally and [men] want to be prepared."
5. It's a big day for divorce, too
Divorce filings have spiked about 40 percent around Feb. 14 over the past two years, according to Avvo.com data reported by the New York Post. Some of the timing is due to "Delayed New Year's Resoluters," says L.A.-based divorce lawyer Kelly Chang to the Post, who are "moving forward on their resolution to be single, just a month late." The others, though, are "'Waiting to Exhalers,' who, depending on the actions of their spouses on Valentine's Day, will either reconcile or file for divorce."
6. Lovers will spend, spend, spend
Some 70 million Americans, or a third of consumers, will eat out at a restaurant Monday night, according to the National Restaurant Association. Only Mother's Day is more popular for dining out. The National Retail Federation also expects a banner year, with Americans spending a projected $15.7 billion this Feb. 14, or $116.21 per person, a bump of 11 percent from last year.
7. It's not too late to find a date
If you don't have a date for tonight, don't fret. Brain researcher Stephanie Ortigue and her team at Syracuse University say it's the brain, not the heart, that is responsible for love — and the process is fast. It takes about a fifth of a second to fall in love, she says. There's still plenty of time to find that special someone.
~ The Week