Valentine's Day is ultimately what you make of it. Still, that's easier said than done when a holiday patently designed to celebrate relationships places pressure on couples to do something while overtly excluding those who can't (or won't) participate. Case in point: This week, Apple's App Store and Google Play were flooded by an influx of cheap Valentine's Day-themed applications that feel haphazardly thrown together with the purpose of eeking every last penny out of this lovey-dovey time of year. And even worse is that many of them are being included on other publications' round-ups for "Best Valentine's Day Applications." Don't be fooled — most of them are pretty terrible. Here, in no particular order, are some of the worst offenders found on lists far and wide (and one really great app worth downloading):
This app purports to help you plan fun, adventurous dates for your better half by selecting a basic set of criteria like "effort" and "price." For example: Selecting "minimal effort" and "free" — you romantic cheapskate, you — suggests ideas like "dancing in the dark" underneath some strung-up Christmas lights. It's like we don't even know each other anymore. Price: 99 cents for the iPhone
Logging onto OK Cupid on Valentine's Day is quite possibly the most depraved thing you can do to yourself if you're looking for love. It isn't that the service itself is bad. It's just that like with virtually any dating app, you're going to end up horribly disappointed by the results 98 percent of the time. Tonight, at least, close OK Cupid, order take-out, and live to fight another day. Price: Free for iPhone and Android
This table-booking app was on everyone's list for some reason. I guess it could be helpful for scavenging a last minute place for Valentine's Day dinner, but let's be real here: All the restaurants actually worth going to were booked weeks ago, and what you're left with are stressed-out, overworked servers who are going to rush you through your meal so that the couple with an 8:00 pm reservation can be put through the same spin cycle. Stay in. Maybe cook something. Or perhaps fire up Seamless. (Maybe Seamless is the best Valentine's Day app?) Price: Free for iPhone and Android
Love & Romance Collection
Do your insides melt when you read quotes about love? Do you like quotes about love written in cheesy fonts with hearts everywhere? Well, if you're one of those people, this app is probably for you. Ostensibly, all it does is beam corny love notes directly to your lover's phone, because Googling "quotes from the Notebook" and sending an iMessage was obviously too much of a burden for you in the first place. Price: Free for iPhone and Android
Kiss Me Thru the Phone
Ha ha, did you know Soulja Boy had an app? Me neither. Snap a selfie, decorate it with some clipart (kisses, hearts, etc.), and send it to your significant other. Grand romantic gesture: Still very much alive. Price: $1.99 for the iPhone.
Instead of buying a thoughtful, personal gift for the person you cherish most, perhaps send them a digital gift card over Facebook. Because nothing says "I love you" like $12 to spend at H&M. Price: Free for iPhone and Android
BONUS: A really good Valentine's Day app
Okay, Valentine's Day isn't all bad. If you're in a dedicated, loving relationship, try downloading Couple (formerly called Pair). Basically, it's a two-person social network for you and your partner that has fun little things like a "thumb kiss" feature (it's exactly what it sounds like), photos and video messages, and an all-important "thinking of you" ticker that, well, communicates exactly that when you have nothing else to say. (I'm serious. It's pretty cool.) Price: Free for iPhone and Android
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- Sorry, GOP, tax cuts don't pay for themselves
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- Pope Francis' American problem
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Are there dogs in heaven? Let's hope not.
- Hey, bosses: Stop giving bonuses to your employees
- This week I learned your coin toss odds are better than you think, and more
- Cuba should beware of Westerners bearing gifts
Subscribe to the Week