Valentine’s Day. Singles Awareness Day. That day your hard earned pay check vanishes. Whatever you call it, the day of love will soon be upon us. And with it come heaps of societal pressure, whether you are in a relationship or not.
If you are in a relationship, society demands you pull out your wallet, throw money at an overpriced steak dinner and buy copious amounts of flowers, chocolate, teddy bears or whatever HEB is selling for your significant other. And of course don’t forget to wear your sexy underwear for a “special” night of pleasure that painfully reminds both parties why you stopped having sex. If you’re single then society mocks and bullies you: “Hey did you forget you were single and lonely? No? Well here, let us remind you that you’ll be all alone this weekend. You’re welcome.” Thanks a lot Valentine’s Day. You asshole. Just when we were starting to think those late night Netflix binges with our ice cream were acceptable.
As mid-February begins to roll around we notice the changes with grim acceptance. Love isn’t really in the air more than any other time of year, although crying and congestion sure are. Allergies, how romantic. We see our local stores filled with flowers and treats for our significant others and we worry to ourselves what we’ll pull together for that special night. People are quick to clamor on and on about the stupidity of Valentine’s Day and its consumerist tendencies; “Valentine’s Day is just an excuse to make us spend money to tell our partners how we already feel about them.” You may be thinking that this editorial will be a scathing critique of Valentine’s Day and the superimposed importance society has given it. But then you’d also probably be taking the above humor to not be sarcastic at all.
Sure, Valentine’s Day can be a money pit. Restaurants inflate the price of their regular steaks and corporations sell us hard candy and boxes of chocolate we’ll likely never even finish. But this isn’t a problem unique to Valentine’s Day. Just look at every other American holiday in existence. Easter? The only time of the year people actually buy Peeps. Thanksgiving? Who needs some useless decorative gourds? And that’s not even mentioning the big offenders. Valentine’s Day can be a big headache for lots of people. Spending money you don’t have just to impress your partner, struggling to think of meaningful gifts or jumping through hoops to get the last reservation at your local expensive restaurant can be taxing. But the concept of spending a day doing all you can to show someone you care isn’t a bad thing; hell it sounds like a pretty good deal to us. We get it, you shouldn’t need a day to show someone you love that you, well, love them. But we shouldn’t need a day to appreciate our mothers or our fathers. Yet we don’t hear everyone griping about those holidays. Sure, we may not need a day to be extra kind or loving to our significant others but there isn’t any harm in it either. At least not to the fault of the holiday itself.
Valentine’s Day shouldn’t stress you out. If you are in a meaningful relationship then just ignore the noise and overpriced candy and just do what you always do–show your partner that you care about them however you can. If you can’t cough up the extra dough for an expensive dinner then don’t. If you can then go ahead. Some people like chocolate and flowers or whatever cliches the holiday brings. That’s fine. But if you don’t then just ignore them; do your own thing and have a good time. If you’re single then so be it. Spend the day with someone you love anyways, friends, family or otherwise. Valentine’s Day can be stressful and headache inducing. But it doesn’t have to be and it shouldn’t. At the end of the day is Valentine’s Day a bit consumeristic? You bet. But complaining about how much you hate Valentine’s Day doesn’t do anyone any good.
Valentine’s Day is simply a holiday where we get to show all those around us how much we love them; take away all the bells and whistles and that seems like a pretty damn good day to us.