Point/Counterpoint: Valentine’s Day
February 16, 2018
Every day should be time to celebrate the special relationships we share
It is one thing to be obliterated by love, but it is another thing to dismantle its beauty for the preservation of American candy brands and floralists one day of the year.
Nearly every gesture of love I have made has come with no substantial monetary price tag. Whether they took the form of a handwritten letter or a CD burned with mild-mannered “love” songs, these simple emotional expressions garnered no insane press coverage and did not offer me any sort of elite reputation. They also were not arbitrary motions that a calendar date assigned me to complete. Instead, I drew inspiration from my own feelings and gave sincerely, waiting not for Feb. 14 to express myself.
Valentine’s Day, like many other celebrated holidays, has strayed far from its original intent. While it began as a celebration of earnest love in the 14th century, this holiday has evolved into a despotic demand for an unencumbered stream of flowers and confectionaries, devoted by one half-hearted lover to an equally-bored taker.
The materialistic aspects of Valentine’s Day are evident in grocery store aisles, where Mars products wrapped in a faux-rose tint appear from all angles, miniature cards inscribed with wicked puns are sold in bulk, and heart-shaped balloons bloom over a display of unsettlingly arranged flowers. Scenes like this expose the conditioned craving people have for objects that look like love, no matter if they were lazily paid for the night of the 13th. Twelve new moons later, the paradigm is repeated.
Even for those that acknowledge the level of insincerity visible in these last-minute pickups called “presents,” there is room for criticism. Expensive Valentine’s presents may appear more glamorous, but their gilded looks mischievously mask the often selfish motives of their givers. One who spends a Croesus amount of money on a gift fails to express their intangible love for the other person, yet succeeds in advertising their wealth to the recipient and to the outsiders who may encounter the gift. This is not to say that expensive presents may not be given- they may. However, they must come from a place of sincere love and come with an earnest declaration of said love, free of charge. A six-figure Clé de Cartier is nothing but a Casio if it is given only because Feb. 14 said to.
The degree of corruption that has overtaken Valentine’s Day can only be backpedalled one way: delete it. As a society, we must collectively decide to stop celebrating the holiday and instead make the time to show our affections throughout the whole year. Even ironic spins on the day, like “Galentine’s Day,” should not be limited to a predetermined date on the calendar. Instead, we must celebrate romantic love, platonic love, and self-love from New Year’s day to its inevitable eve.
Day focused on human connection adds appreciation to any relationship
The time of the year when heart-shaped candy takes to the shelves is upon us yet again and we are faced with a crucial decision: do we embrace the season of love and buy all the big teddy bears we can carry, or do we cross our arms and scowl at the cupids and the sweetheart candies?
It is easy to be bitter about Valentine’s Day. Especially if you are single, just getting out of a relationship, or just have a grudge against love. But this traditionally cheesy holiday can be about so much more than those in romantic relationships. It can be broadened, with many alternate methods of celebrations.
Valentine’s Day can be about celebrating the close friends we have. As councilwoman Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation once explained, “My girlfriends and I leave our husbands and boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it breakfast style. Ladies celebrating ladies.” This “Galentine’s Day,” as she calls it, is a day of celebrating the love in friendships.
What’s so bad about getting together with the girls and ripping apart bags of discounted pink and red chocolate hearts? Absolutely nothing. Heart shaped pizza and Chik-fil-A tins of chicken nuggets are not just for those in each other’s Twitter bios. Grab your ladies or boys, and get yourself some chicken nuggets.
And for many, Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to send a card to the cutie in your math class under the geiz of celebrating the season of love. Fast forward 15 years and you could find yourself married with two kids. Who knows? The power of a punny card on a day set aside for love is unrivaled.
Valentine’s Day can also be about self-love. Take yourself to the movies. Take yourself out to get your favorite coffee and dinner. Because after all, the most important love we have and will ever have is the one looking back at us in the mirror.
Valentine’s Day does not have to have a price tag either. Gestures of love can be extremely inexpensive or free. It does not even cost a penny to make a playlist for that special someone in your life. Make cookies in the shape of hearts. Low budget, delicious, and it’s that something extra that Valentine’s Day allows.
Yes, it is important to celebrate love in its entirety throughout the calendar year. But life can get busy. Things fall through the cracks and they are forgotten. Valentine’s Day was never implemented to limit the expression of love. Its implementation is to remind us that the loves in our lives deserve appreciation. Be it self love, platonic love, or romantic love. Whether you are planning to go on a dinner date for one, two, or twelve, there is no need to be anything but celebratory during this season of love.