In elementary school they made us give out those paper hearts, but they always made it clear that you had to give one to everybody whether you liked them or not. They would give us a list of names of all the people in the classroom. So, you had to go buy these things, and then you had to stay up late the night before writing people's names on hearts.
I don't know how they got away with making you do stuff like that.
Other people went to schools where they didn't make you give valentines to everyone, and got to experience the pain of rejection on this special holiday from a very early age.
In college, I broke up with my first boyfriend on Valentine's Day. It was kind of coincidental--we were talking until after midnight, the next day just happened to be February 14. But it was still a bitter irony. Ha-ha. I laughed about it all day, and then went on to go temporarily insane for the next few months while working on the school newspaper.
The year after that, things were bad in February. I was a college senior, burned out and directionless. Everywhere I went, Valentine's Day mocked me cruelly. Oh, look, the world is full of happy, heterosexual couples. Everybody loves a happy, heterosexual couple. Everyone who isn't exactly one half of a happy, heterosexual couple has no compelling reason to go on living.
And even if you happen to be part of a happy, heterosexual couple, Valentine's Day still mocks you. It mocks you with ads for diamond jewelery, with images of the "perfect" romantic evening. It gives you expectations (he'll propose! she'll finally sleep with me!) that probably won't be fulfilled, setting you up for disappointment and failure.
I realized that Valentine's Day had to be stopped. And the only way to stop it was with a party. An Anti-Valentine's Day party.
So we gathered, and played cynical music, and used a hammer to smash up those chalky candy hearts that taste like antacid, and drank way too much, and made fun of the people who actually had relationships.
The first was in 1988 and there has been one every year ever since.
Go, start an Anti-Valentine's tradition in your social group.
Or, if you don't have a social group, it's perfectly appropriate to celebrate Anti-V day ALL BY YOURSELF.