Waxing Not-So-Poetic on Valentine’s Day
I said something in a Facebook comment yesterday that, to some people, will probably seem bitter and callous, but hear me out. In short, I replied to another single friend who wanted to just skip ahead to Feb 15 that the people who “enjoy” (aka show off to everyone all of the grandiose things they’re doing) Valentine’s Day the most are the ones whose relationships are unfulfilled the rest of the year. Crazytalk, right? I beg to differ.
I’ve done the corporate Valentine’s Day with a guy I (thought I) loved. We did the overpriced prix-fixe dinner, the over-crowded movie, the outlandish gifts. It was ridiculous but oh, I was so happy to finally be one of “those girls” who wasn’t all alone on Valentine’s Day. In hindsight, I want to smack myself for falling into the trap of what Valentine’s Day “should” be. We’ve all had this notion of Valentine’s Day being such a huge to-do, and the associated pressures to perform/deliver just right, socially reinforced since we were practically babies. Remember having to buy Valentine’s for your (or your kid’s) entire class? I certainly did that for years growing up. Then as you get older, it’s all about gifts (lingerie and chocolates and diamonds are musts, according to the commercials, or “steak and blowjobs day” as championed by the guys feeling left out) and overdressed “fine dining experiences” that would be half the cost and twice the taste on any other night.
Commercialism aside, my main point was really this- if you love someone, you shouldn’t need Hallmark, Zales, and Godiva telling you when and how to celebrate. You want to show them that you love them the other 364 days of the year, not just on the holiday when everyone else is doing it because they feel like they HAVE to. Who wants to say or hear “I love you” out of a sense of obligation? Not this girl. I always felt like the most meaningful gestures were the unexpected ones- and the entire concept Valentine’s Day practically takes everything unexpected out of showing love, instead replacing it with this weird societal obligation. What happened to the small things to show your love how you feel? And big gestures are wonderful, but why does there have to be this pressure surrounding it? And, really, if you love each other, do you need the cultural reminder to demonstrate that? (While sharing it on every form of social media?) Not to mention the culture that has developed around us single people, women in particular, who are made feel awful simply because they happen to be alone on a Thursday night. Because that’s what it is (this year, anyways): a Thursday night, when people feel like they have to show affection for their loved ones on that particular day because Corporate America says so.
In my family, I get Valentines from my parents and my grandparents, and while I always appreciate the sentiment, they tell me they love me all the time, and show me through their actions– so Valentine’s Day doesn’t become some forced enactment of their feelings. Also, the cards usually have some sort of cat picture, so I think that’s a subtle reminder for me NOT to become a cat lady and spend VDay alone for the rest of my life, ha. I’m sure there are people out there who are in fulfilled, loving relationships who also go all out on Valentine’s Day… but I’d be willing to bet that they also show each other their love the other 364 days (well, most days) of the year too. Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic for wanting that, but I don’t think that’s really such an outlandish thing. And as for us singles, why do we get so down on ourselves (because, of course, we shouldn’t be single on Valentine’s Day!) instead of reminding ourselves that there are so many better things than overpriced chocolate, chalky candy hearts, and contrived actions? Why don’t we focus on loving ourselves, and the people we value, the entire year? That’s what I’m about. If the love is there, you don’t need a holiday to show it. Speaking of love, I’ll leave you with this quote, which is one of my favorites…