Originally wrote this piece as part of dyingread‘s Valentine’s Day series, but posting it here for your reading pleasure, as well!
Valentine’s Day, one of the most simultaneously loved and hated holidays across the world, is here. And what does it bring with it? Flowers, chocolates, cliché Hallmark cards… What it doesn’t bring with it is love, the very thing that Valentine’s Day traditionally stands for.
Having been (lucky enough to have been!) in a relationship for the past few Valentine’s Days (including this one), I might have a slightly distorted view of the whole holiday. This time of year, roses are everywhere, candy grams are sold by almost every group on campus and every single “fancyish” restaurant is booked for Feb. 14. And I’ll be honest, I buy into it every year; I go to a nice dinner, smile happily upon receiving my bouquet of roses and settle down for the night while cuddling and watching a cute movie. So why exactly do I think Valentine’s Day is a phony, and that it doesn’t remain true to form at all?
Over the years, Feb. 14 has turned into a large farce, one where there is an “ideal” set of things to do (go stargazing, take a walk, have a candlelight dinner, etc.) not just for couples, but for singles, as well. I’m not saying doing anything of those things is silly; it’s silly that these things are confined to one day of the year, where people can’t even go to Disneyland without a significant other without feeling awkward. Valentine’s Day should be a celebration of love, not merely a celebration of gift giving or spending extra snuggle time together. Sure, those actions can certainly be a display of love, but that one day out of the entire year should mean more for two people’s relationship than any other day is simply absurd.
Love is something that should be seen and manifested every day. Just ask a person in love about his/her significant other, and you’ll instantly see a smile light up the person’s face. Just ask a mother about her son or daughter on the other side of the country, and you’ll see her face soften with nostalgia and memories. Just ask a 7-year-old about his Golden Lab Genki, and you’ll see his eyes grow large and excited as he rambles on about his favorite pet.
Love is not just an expression in a Hallmark card, a sentiment shared in a dozen roses or a fine steak dinner of $200. Love is not just about Valentine’s Day, and Valentine’s Day is not the only time for love. Valentine’s Day should be a day for everybody to feel comfortable, for everybody to embrace the loved ones in their lives, whether they be parents, children, friends, pets or stuffed animals. Valentine’s Day should not be a day of exclusivity, nor should it be the one day to show people how much we love them.
So poo on flowers, holiday cards and candlelit dinners (in theory, not in actuality, of course..), and yes to hugs, kisses and smiles all around. Happy Valentine’s Day to all, and to all a good day.