In high school, when I was in my first “official” relationship, I took my first Valentine’s Day way too seriously. I distinctly remember spending hours in my parent’s kitchen baking and decorating three different kinds of heart-shaped cookies and I agonized over what to buy as a gift. It was a massive amount of effort spent on an 18-year old dude that I’d never even said “I love you” to. It was also a lot of work for a holiday I’ve never really cared about past the elementary school class valentine exchanges (and even then, it all came down to candy and decorating my card box more than anything else).
Throughout college, I was single every Valentine’s Day and rather than feeling bitter, I always saw it as an opportunity to buy half price chocolate the next day. While I had my lonely moments like anyone else does when single winters grew long, for the most part I liked being single when I wasn’t stressing myself out over boys that weren’t worth my time. So I didn’t get worked up about being alone on a holiday that I generally think is vastly overrated.
This year, I’m head over heels in love with a man I’m serious about (and the sentiment is mutual). This year is our first Valentine’s Day together, so conventional sentiment says I should be thrilled at the opportunity to celebrate on Feb. 14. Honestly though, it feels like any other day of the year to me. Don’t get me wrong; if Valentine’s Day is your favorite holiday or just one you get excited about, I think that’s great. It just doesn’t do it for me.
I don’t understand why in the world we get all worked up about showing how much we love one another on this specific day. Love shouldn’t just be attached to a holiday. If you truly love someone, shouldn’t you already be showing them how much you care every other day of the year? And since when did a giant stuffed bear or a box of chocolates become synonymous with love? What grown adult needs that crap? I eat enough dessert food on a normal day already. As far as I’m concerned, I really don’t need a designated day for it.
Also, can we talk for a second about the fact that historically, Valentine’s Day was a fertility festival? Literally, around A.D. 270 people celebrated by sacrificing goats for fertility and arranging relationships between the city’s bachelors and young women, with the hopes of it ending in marriage. I don’t know about you, but nothing about that screams romance to me. During the Middle Ages, it shifted to more of the romantic holiday we know it as today, and moved from Feb. 15 to Feb. 14 since it was the beginning of birds’ mating season.
If the point of Valentine’s Day is showing your love for someone else, then we really don’t need a commercialized day to do so. We should be showing our love every day through the little things that are meaningful to our relationships—whether that’s taking an extra turn at the dishes to daily hugs and kisses. Figure out your love languages and show you care in a way that will resonate with your partner.
So maybe I’m a bit jaded, because my boyfriend regularly surprises me with random flowers, and not a day goes by where he isn’t telling or showing me how much he loves me (and vice versa). But neither of us feel the need to buy each other random gifts we don’t really need for a holiday we think is overrated, so we just aren’t going to.
I’ll take any excuse to spend time together and eat good food, so we do have a dinner reservation at my favorite restaurant on Valentine’s Day, but that’s the extent we’ll be celebrating. We don’t need a Hallmark holiday to appreciate one another, so we’re not really going to observe one. Instead, we’ll keep doing what we’re doing—it seems to be working pretty well.