You hate Valentine’s Day. It may even be your least favorite holiday. Even when you protest and say, “No! Valentine’s Day is a day of love! I can’t hate it!” I know you do. You might even say you’re just indifferent to it because you don’t have a significant other or maybe you do but neither of you make a big deal about the holiday. No matter your excuse, you do hate Valentine’s Day, and I’m here to tell you why.
#1: Valentine’s Day warrants high expectations.
No one wants just a simple “Valentine.” You want ALL the candy. And ALL the cards. And when you’re older, you want a new diamond ring or a bouquet of roses or another cheesy “I ‘woof’ you” stuffed puppy chewing on a heart. If you’re not into material things, Valentine’s Day still encourages couples to express their undying love for each other in an original song or skywriting or a post-it note covered car.
I personally experienced this for the first time in 6th grade. I had my first real boyfriend and I made him a card for Valentine’s. It was sweet and dorky—expected from an 11 year old—but I felt like it was appropriate for the holiday. I don’t quite know what he was expecting. In fact, I think he may have even forgotten February 14th was a holiday at all. I didn’t bother me that he didn’t get me anything for Valentine’s Day, but when he realized I had made him a card and he had completely forgotten, HIS expectations for the holiday went through the roof. The next day I came to school to balloons, a heart shaped plastic container of candy, a stuffed animal, a fancy hallmark card expressing his eternal love, and a rose. Well, it was a fabric rose, but he said, “it would never die like our love.” It was overwhelming and embarrassing, and that was the first time I realized that something so simple as “love” or “like” or “affection” could be ruined by the expectations of this horrifying holiday.
#2: Valentine’s Day reminds us more of heartbreak than any lovey-dovey feelings.
If you’re single on Valentine’s Day, you have the opportunity to visit a “Bitter Mixer” and mourn your singleness. Sounds glorious, doesn’t it? If you’re in a relationship though, it doesn’t spare you from the heart pains of Valentine’s Day. This is because you’ve surely spent at least one Valentine’s Day alone, and everything in the media tells you that this is wrong.
During my freshman year of college, my high school sweetheart broke up with me at 11:30 on February 13th because he hadn’t “gotten me a Valentine’s present.” This was, of course, just an immature excuse to break up with me. Looking back now, it was all for the best, but it happened at the worst possible moment. I didn’t expect him to get me anything—we were three hours away from one another—but the WORST “gift” you could give your girlfriend is a break-up. Every Valentine’s Day after that, whether I have a boyfriend or a crush, THAT is the one I remember. Of course, I still celebrate in all of its silliness, but there’s always that creeping feeling of disappointment at the back of my mind.
#3: Valentine’s Day is expensive (for no reason).
It started with candy, cards, and flowers—overall not that expensive, but with time it has morphed into a wallet-munching monster. The jewelry commercials starting mid-January take the cake for over-the-top, cheesy “love.” Yes, an expensive diamond will DEFINITELY prove to me that you love me.
My brother made this mistake. While a senior in high school and having a difficult time with his girlfriend of two years, he bought her a beautiful heart-shaped diamond promise ring for Valentine’s Day. (She was a bit of a high-maintenance girl coming from a lot more money than my brother and I do so I think her “expectations” were already a little too high.) Even though he didn’t have a job with a consistent income or a real “promise” that they would stay together, he bought her this ring. She broke-up with him in mid-March. And she’s never given him the ring back. He had hoped to return it and get the money back (who knows what he had to do in order to get the money in the first place). In the end, it was all just a sad situation that could have been avoided if we didn’t believe Valentine’s Day can somehow “save” relationships.
#4: Valentine’s Day insinuates that “showing your affection” should be reserved for one day a year.
Why can’t we make every day Valentine’s Day? That way no man will ever forget Valentine’s Day again. It’s preposterous to think that we should hold all of our little sweet gifts of affection for a made-up holiday. If you want to write a song to your love, why can’t you? If you want to make your boyfriend a woven wristband to symbolize your feelings, why not? Why is it silly to do these little gestures of love during the year, but sweet and acceptable on Valentine’s Day? I would much rather find a bouquet of roses or a box of chocolate on a random Tuesday in July when I’ve been having a terrible week than EXPECT to find it’s equivalent in mid-February and even be offended if these tokens of affection were not present or worse, FORGOTTEN.
#5: Valentine’s Day can effectively shame both single people and those in relationships.
You know what one of the worst things that you could have going on during Valentine’s Day? A break-up makes you bitter, but what about if you’re in a rough patch in a relationship? You’re surrounded by sickeningly cute couples and red hearts and candy and every media source telling you that you should be “so in love,” but right now, you can’t stand the way he chews his food or the way she always says “um” before every single sentence. It’s not an unnatural or worrisome part of a relationship, we all have those days or months where we just can’t stand the other person. Most of us, come out of it. Some of us break up because of it. But on Valentine’s Day, you are shamed for having any feeling for your significant other besides unadulterated affection. For single people, it comes from a similar vein, you are somehow less worthy of love because no one wants you to “be their Valentine” on this particular day. It is thus mind-boggling that a day devoted to love could turn into a shaming experience because you don’t meet the “Valentine’s Day” standards.
So do you believe me now? Don’t you hate Valentine’s Day? It doesn’t mean you can’t participate in the silliness if you have a significant other or the bitterness if you’re single—it’s a fun part of being human and living in a First World Country—but maybe you don’t have to take it so seriously. If the chocolate isn’t exactly right, or if the roses have wilted just a little, I bet your significant other won’t mind. I bet when it comes down to it, being with your loved one or being free and single with your friends and completely forgetting about a made up, greeting card holiday might make for the BEST Valentine’s Day you’ve had yet.