A Truly Desperate Day

Andrew Hughes
4 min readFeb 15, 2019

There’s a bit from the television show How I Met Your Mother which Barney Stinson describes the day before Valentine’s Day as Desperation Day. With his logic, he posits that women are more desperate the night before Valentine’s Day in hopes that a quick romance will blossom into something more. Therefore, it’s easier for men to get laid on Valentine’s eve because they can shoot well beyond the stars of their wildest imaginations. Barney, a serial womanizer, proudly boasts that he has never succumbed to an actual Valentine’s Day date because he sneakily leaves the lucky (or, not-so-lucky) lady before the clock strikes midnight, which is a strange homage to the equally desperate fairytale Cinderella. Barney is a narcissistic, complicated, and desperate man himself — with an all-too-easy background of father abandonment — and yet, in this particular episode, he winds up on a date, of course, set up by his ex-girlfriend, Robin. This sitcom trope isn’t particularly novel, yet did make for an interesting, if not selfish, take on the Hallmarkian holiday, which seems increasingly self-absorbed in this socially connected cultural era.

Now, I wasn’t always a downer when it came to Valentine’s Day, and I still am probably a sucker for it. I cannot lay a claim that I have never participated or will never participate again in a Valentine’s Day. Mostly, well, because when I was in kindergarten we were all kind of forced to succumb to the holiday by passing out small cards and treats to our classmates. Although at five I had no semblance of the concept of love — in fact, I likely still don’t — regardless we all gathered in our classroom and passed around Power Rangers and Princess papers to each other. Initially, we as children gravitate towards Valentine’s Day like we do for any other holiday; we’re gifted candy, praise, and an egotistical notion to have the “coolest” or “prettiest” of presents. Whether or not this is some weird, twisted psychological experiment, it works really damn well. From there on out, we are bought into the holiday even before we have sprouted our first teenage boner.

Of course, we all grow up and Valentine’s festivities mature as we do. Or really, they become cutthroat games of “Did you get a Valentine’s card from Susie?” or “Ew, you’re going to give Charlie a card?” In our teenage years, we hope that the day turns our unrequited love into a hopeful carnage of too-much-tongue kissing and possibly, just possibly, tag onto second base before being called out by the parental umpire. Surely, the hopefulness is all too…

Andrew Hughes

Writer and blogger — a mix of sports, pop culture, and sometimes about myself. Email for inquiries: andrew.hughes2012@gmail.com