February 11, 2010

It's Valentine's Day, People, Chill Out!

So, I've been reading a few articles, one in particular which stands out in my mind (but I can't find it now, of course), which were all about how people think Valentine's Day is an invented holiday.

And in these articles, girls claimed they didn't need to be rescued, and boys claimed they didn't need to be restricted to one day a year to show their love. People claimed that buying gifts was a silly tradition that people couldn't afford to do, that going out to dinner was too expensive, that people feel put on the spot, that they can't live up to the hype, that single people felt left out, etc., etc., etc.

Basically, V-Day is the end of the world, and we're all gonna die from over-exposure to love-themed greeting cards.

Look, people,
1) I was a single person, and it was fun--I bought fancy chocolates at a discount, got myself a faboo movie, and enjoyed my day. Buck up, bitches.
2) It doesn't have to be a big production. The husband and I have reservations at White Castle for the third year in a row (where they do candle light and table service on V-Day). Nobody has to cook, nobody has to drop $130 on a meal, and nobody goes home without having enjoyed a chicken ring or several. Once some strangers even accidentally set their food on fire. How's that for an exciting night on the town?
3) Nobody rescued me. How does Valentine's Day equal rescue, exactly? What are they rescuing you from?
4) You can make your own card if it is that big of a deal to you. Stick it to the man and his invented holiday designed to sell greeting cards. Or, if you're not that creative or don't have that kind of time, buy one and shut up. They cost like three bucks. Consider it a contribution to all the other times you suck at the last minute and Hallmark comes through for you and your lack of planning.
5) Don't buy gifts if you don't want to/can't afford to. Or set a spending limit. My husband and I give gifts. Will we always? I don't know. But it's fun for now. If it's not fun for you, don't do it. If your significant other wants gifts, consider this. If your significant other is happy, you will also be happy. You know this to be true. You also know that protesting Valentine's Day is not going to be an acceptable excuse to show up empty handed.
6) Buy flowers some other day. Flowers are ridiculously expensive on Valentine's Day. Under no circumstances would I expect anyone to send them to me at this time of year. Yet, when do you usually see them on co-workers' desks?

Does the above list sound materialistic? Well, that's because the people who are like, "Oh, woe is me; I don't need one day to show my love" are A) full of crap and B) missing the point.

They are full of crap because the real truth is that they don't do Valentine's Day every day. They want an excuse not to do Valentine's Day ANY day. But they can't say, "I'm a cheap-ass bastard who doesn't want to spend $100 on a special day out to make someone feel warm and fuzzy" because then they look like a cheap-ass bastard. So instead, they say a lot of stuff about how it's too commercialized and too expensive and how they're against it on principle, and blah blah blah.

And what's probably worse than the fact that they are full of crap is that they are missing the point. The point now, regardless of the holiday's roots, which according to history.com are mysterious and uncertain, is to have a special day where you celebrate (in addition to usual, run-of-the-mill love) romance--which is like love, only different because it has to do with showing signs of your love through actions which are outside of yourself. It's about wooing and trying to impress each other like you did in the beginning. It's about reminding each other what good people you are (in case you forgot somewhere between deciding where to spend the holidays or fixing the car/stove/water heater/insert appliance here). And in some sense, I think it's about making sacrifices for each other and doing things that are out-of-the-ordinary and special to show your love in a way you might not always remember to do. Frankly, I look forward to it every year as a chance to recharge our batteries. It's not like we don't do special things for each other all year or that we don't have romance--we just like every excuse to have more.

And if you're single, instead of showing romance to a partner, you can show your love with actions by sending cards to people and letting them know that they are loved. You can bake a friend cookies. You can even buy fancy chocolates and celebrate your love of your freedom if you like.

I would like to submit that Valentine's Day is the one day of the year when we try to be the lovers we wish we could be (or could afford to be) the rest of the year. We don't often do candlelight dinner, and when we do it's special. One of those special days is Valentine's Day. And we try to do sweet little things for each other, like make dinner or send love notes or bring home flowers every once in awhile or even (gasp) put on something sexy just for someone else, but in case we get comfortable and forget, Valentine's Day is there to remind us once a year of what we would like to be in our relationships (and I would argue, our friendships): generous, giving, kind, thoughtful, spontaneous, loving, selfless, and romantic. It's a day that reminds us that true love involves making someone else feel it.

So come on people. It's just a little holiday that lets us do something special for each other once a year. And if you were "already showing your love all year," then it wouldn't be a big deal to do it once more.

But if you aren't, which I suspect is more likely the case (because who amongst us is perfect), then jump on the bandwagon just this once and be someone's Valentine.

Posted by LoWriter at 07:37 PM | Comments (2)