The anticipation surrounding Valentine's Day is palpable — and understandable. Never have so many lovers harbored so many questions that they largely keep to themselves, even when treated to dinner at the most swank restaurant. Will he pop the question? Will she break up with me?
If it's enough to cause neurosis then we have a prognosis: For all your questions we've got answers, at least of the numerical kind. Love may not be our forte, but we love collecting stats and facts. His arrow may miss come February 14, but we like to think we always hit the mark.
Cards Exchanged: 132 Million
This statistic comes to us by way of Hallmark, a company that knows a thing or two about greeting cards. If you boil it down, that's at least one greeting card for every two people in America. They're not counting children's valentines, so the number could in fact be lower.
Famous Prison Valentines: At Least Two
There are any number of songs about lovers separated by prison bars, including the popular '60s hit "Allentown Jail." But the origin of jail mail seems to date to The Man himself, St. Valentine. According to Business News Daily, the namesake saint fell in love with his jailer's daughter, and dashed off a letter before his execution. Fast forward to 1415, when Charles Duke of Orleans wrote his wife a poem while imprisoned in the Tower of London. It's the oldest surviving Valentine known, but please: Don't give away the keys to your heart by getting locked up.
Estimated Valentine's Day Spending: $142.31 Per Person
Love is a mystery, but this projection by the National Retail Federation was carefully calculated with cold hard facts. The NRF estimates that "the average person celebrating Valentine's Day will spend $142.31 on candy, flowers, apparel, and more" this year. That's up significantly from $133.91 last year. In 2013, Valentine's Day set us back $130.97. No matter the cause for the yearly creep, there's been a noticeable rise in the Cost of Loving Index.
How Long Men Take to Decide on a Second Date: 15 Minutes
Ladies, take note if you're kicking off a V-Day romance: That cute guy across the table will spend about eight times as long watching the Big Game on his big-screen TV as he will thinking about if he wants to see you again. The 15-minute figure comes from Match.com's Happen magazine. By the way, women take four times as long (about an hour) to make their minds up.
Those Planning to Give Their Significant Other Bupkis: 1 in 3
Nothing says Valentine's Day quite like — nothing? In 2014, a British survey revealed that about a third of coupled consumers weren't planning on buying anything at all for their mate on Valentine's Day. For those men debating a move into this camp: Following through will have dire consequences on your love life (see below). And for the women: We don't blame you for having second thoughts about a guy when he says a microwave burrito makes the perfect gift.
Women Who'd End the Relationship if They Got Bupkis: 53%
And really, can you blame them? DB Squared Business Finance cites that stat as way of making its case for the power of the purchase, especially on a day when it really counts. It's not a sobering thought for most men though, as we imagine most guys get just how important it is to let their sweetie know they're special, and plan accordingly. But that said, we're curious to know how serious these ladies were about their threat.
Valentine's Marriage Proposals: About 6 Million
According to the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, that was the number of questions popped in 2013. In a way it's stacking the deck: Flowers, chocolates, corny Cupid cutouts, and the fancy meal all make for a prelude to get the desired answer. But those bearing rings on bended knee should note: 1 in 5 of marriage proposals are rejected, and, despite what you might think,many women actually don't want to be proposed to on Valentine's Day.
Facebook Users Who Prep for Valentine's a Week in Advance: About 1 in 3
As it's a social network, Facebook knows a thing or two about how those friended become more than friended. Figures from Facebook's 2013 internal data show that 36% of women and 31% of men get their act together and make it official within seven days of February 14.
Valentine's Day may last just 24 hours, but it's a super springboard for expressing love to last all year long. Too much of life lacks tenderness and heart to let your golden — or your diamond — opportunity pass by. For those planning to propose, we wish you the best. Forget the odds or the size of the rock: after all, who can take the measure of true love?