Valentine’s Day (AKA “Me, Myself, and I Day”)
By Jennifer Johnson
Like any holiday we break out the decorations for weeks leading up to it with the proper symbols. Often preparing by planning events, or changing out our mindset –adapting to whatever values this holiday preaches.
Whether it be ghosts, goblins, and scarecrows for Halloween -or stars and stripes for Fourth of July, Valentine’s Day is no different. But why do so many people despise this holiday that is dedicated to the one thing we has humans lust after more than anything?
First off, it usually just reminds people that after they didn’t get their kiss under the mistletoe at the Christmas party, or at the stroke of midnight New Year’s Eve, that once again they’re alone.
Second, I have just never really understood the point of Valentine’s Day –we dedicate one whole day to love, where we try and out-do our friends and those of us who don’t have anyone to out-do still manage to turn it into a competition.
Originally it’s celebrating St. Valentine.
We have ‘anti-Valentine’s’ day parties and still celebrate the holiday without a significant other –most of the time turning it into a pity-party of ‘poor me, I don’t have anyone to celebrate with.’
While others look at the bright side focusing on loving themselves more –mostly doing this by using it as an excuse to buy themselves presents and generally again creating the holiday about a personal message.
What I am getting at is how can a holiday that is supposed to be dedicated to showing your loved one how much you care turn into a day of self-absorption?
Bragging about the gift you got your s.o. or even bragging that you aren’t into the holiday at all. In the end this time of ‘love’ is turned into a love of self, not a love of love.
I’ve never been a fan of this holiday mostly because I remember in elementary school we had to make enough valentines for everyone in the class, or we couldn’t bring them at all. Now why would I want to give a valentine to the girl who told me I couldn’t sit with her at lunch? Why would I want to receive one from the boys that told me girls can’t play soccer with them at recess because all they do is cry?
It’s a day to make money, it’s a day to show off, it’s a day for people who think that a grand romantic gesture is a dozen roses –when really all someone wants is a foot-rub at the end of the day, or to be told ‘that color green looks nice on you.’
We romanticize love when really love isn’t about buying or receiving expensive gifts, it’s the little sticky note left on someone’s vanity mirror, wishing them a good day. Or coming out to find someone shoveled your car out while you were inside sleeping.
I <3 V-Day
By Madison Friend
I think most who know me would call me a cynic (on a generous day). The only thing about Valentine’s Day that excites me is buying the heart-shaped candy, which always has a better filling-to-chocolate ratio (more chocolate, please) than your run-of-the-mill bar. I’m principally opposed to the idea of anything but a blank greeting card (have an original thought, please). I thought my little sister might have lost her mind a few nights ago when I overheard her yelling at her boyfriend for not yet having made reservations for dinner on Sunday night.
I want to make it clear I don’t understand the hype before I say that, as far as calendar dates go, Feb. 14 isn’t actually all that bad.
My point, as a historical non-participant preparing to defend Valentine’s Day, is simple – don’t be a Debbie Downer. Don’t rain on anyone’s parade. Don’t let your cynicism or loneliness or general superior intelligence (because everyone who disdains Valentine’s Day finds a certain validatory comfort in doing so – it’s an easy way to snub romanticism and position yourself as a true 21st century pragmatist) ruin it for everybody else.
It’s easy to sneer at sincerity. It’s easy for the more cynical (or single) among us to point out that this commercial monstrosity we call a holiday began as a Pagan ritual wherein men slapped women with animal carcasses, and only once it was adequately romanticized by Chaucer and Shakespeare did the greeting card industry exercise its opportunist muscles to turn it into a nearly-20-billion dollar a year venture. With those facts in place, it’s easy to condemn the whole ritual for its cheesy, overwrought appeals to our basest insecurities and desires. From there, it only makes sense to deride those who are naive enough to be sucked in.
But maybe – just maybe – it doesn’t matter how this crazy thing got started. The origins of Valentine’s Day are muddled, to say the least – the Catholic church recognizes three different St. Valentine’s, all martyred on Feb. 14 of different years by various heartless rulers. Maybe this is the rare occasion on which something’s present doesn’t hinge on the details of its past. Maybe what matters is that Valentine’s Day, for all its perceived insincerity, actually means something to a lot of people.
Let’s forget, for a minute, those employed by Hallmark and Russel Stover (we know it’s good for them) or how happy we all are on the 15th when heart-shaped chocolates arbitrarily become uncool and start selling for 60% off the ticket price. Let’s set aside our disdain for the commercial, our self-congratulatory pity for the naive, our presumptions and pretensions, and consider instead the people that genuinely look forward to and enjoy Valentine’s Day and, quite honestly, have no reason not to.
Think of my little sister baking a heart-shaped cake from scratch and buying a new dress to wear to dinner tonight with her boyfriend, or my father bringing flowers and chocolate to my mom in her hospital room, and ask yourself – why do I hate this, again?