The Un-Romantic Valentine's Day

ByABC News via logo
February 14, 2007, 9:21 AM

Feb. 14, 2007 — -- Flowers are romantic, pretty, occasional lifesavers, and around Valentine's Day, ubiquitous.

This year, Americans will buy and send 190 million flowers for the holiday, but the blooms aren't always what they seem.

And, some are saying "Bah humbug" to the $16.9 billion business of Valentine's Day.

About 58 percent of men plan to buy their sweethearts flowers this Valentine's Day, according to the National Retail Federation. While the roses may be red, they're often fragranceless. Most of their scent has been bred out and replaced by traits that make them live longer.

"Fragrance is a trade-off with vase life, so the flower industry has been working for decades to try to create roses that will last longer in the vase," said Amy Stewart, author of "Flower Confidential."

Almost 90 percent of the country's roses come from South America, where there is wide use of pesticides. The pesticides aren't a danger to consumers, but they may be a health threat for the people who grow them.

"Even flowers that are grown here in the United States, there's quite a lot of pesticide use and some people really have a concern about that," Stewart said.

While some ponder the ethics of pricey bouquets, others would rather forget Valentine's Day altogether, and there's a set of businesses catering specifically to them.

The Web site sells a line of greeting cards for anti-Valentine's Day Americans. Crunch Gym holds special kickboxing classes for disgruntled singles.

"We are celebrating anti-Valentine's Day here at Crunch. It is a celebration of singles. For all the singles who have nowhere to go, and want to kick a little butt," said Crunch trainer Christy Nacinovich.

At Crunch, singles tape photos of their exes to punching bags and then jab, kick and box away.

"I am just thinking, 'Get out of my mind. Get out of my thoughts. You don't deserve me. You are an evil, self-centered human being, and I deserve so much better,'" said gym-goer Rory Montali.

For some, the sweat-inducing workout is the ideal way to mark Valentine's Day. Burning calories and punching out aggression can be more satisfied than therapy, flowers and all the chocolate in the world.