Well, Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, so I’m starting to see many people I follow on social media begin to polarize (and no, not because of this crazy never-ending winter). There’s the sudden uptick in flower photos, even though the ground is covered in a layer of ice. There’s red-painted fingernail selfies. There’s discussions of making cupcakes or drinking wine alone. There’s plenty of “my boyfriend/husband/fiance is so wonderful” posts, although my facebook friends seem to post that often, anyways. (While we’re on the subject, Thad – you’re great!) Anyways, I’ve seen several of the common objections pop up, and thought I’d write a little bit of my feelings in response.
1. I’m single, so Valentine’s Day sucks! This is probably the most common and the one I sympathize the most with. Society in general places an unduly huge amount of emphasis on being coupled off and often presents your relationship with that special someone as the thing that’s going to bring all meaning into your life. (Spoiler alert – it doesn’t!) I guess it was maybe just the way I was raised, but growing up, my family always did something for me for Valentine’s Day so that influenced how I saw the holiday and I started doing it in return. Whether it was my parents getting me some flowers, my grandma baking heart-shaped cutout cookies for us, or getting candy, cards or something for my friends, I always had something to look forward to. It continued into college, too, because my lovely freshman roommates also loved holidays and hosted a few really fun Valentine’s parties for friends. I don’t want to sound preachy and dismissive, but for all the Valentines Days where I didn’t have a valentine, I still tried to do something fun and to focus on the relationships I did have and that made it a lot nicer. You’re great and deserve to be happy.
2. It’s too commercial/one-size-fits-all/patriarchal/etc! Agreed…so don’t feel obligated to do something you don’t like. This is actually the first year that Thad and I are doing the traditional “fancy dinner” Valentines, even though we’ve been together for five years. Other years have included a trip to the botanical gardens, hamburgers at one of our favorite breweries, or just some quality time together watching a movie. I agree it’s silly to take part in traditions that aren’t “you”, so just make it your own. Do what you like. Don’t feel the need to spend more money than you have. Have fun with it.
3. You don’t need a special day to celebrate love because you should be showing love to your partner every day! Well, I’m not going to argue that you shouldn’t look for ways to love and help them every day. But following that logic, why celebrate birthdays, when you should just appreciate your friends or family every day? If you’re a Christian, why celebrate Christmas, when you should always be thankful about the birth of Jesus? My point is, people forget things. We get caught up in the bustle of work and chores and other obligations and aren’t always as mindful of the good things and people we have in our life as we should be. Sure, February 14th (or thereabouts) is an arbitrary date, but I’d say it’s just a good a time as any to make sure your partner feels loved and valued.
Well, what can I say? I enjoy celebrations, and I certainly think February is improved by having a holiday to focus on love, wearing red, or consuming a bunch of chocolate and wine. I hope you all have a great time if you celebrate it and still do something nice for yourself if you don’t. Either way, you should probably watch House of Cards on Netflix tomorrow and then go buy discounted chocolate.