Every year, the clichés return, and with them, the best-sellers for the February holiday in your grocery store: the heart-shaped boxes of candy, the stuffed animals protruding hearts, that tiny baby with the bow and arrows, and, of course, the dozens and dozens of flower bouquets. Everywhere you look, you see the happy couples madly in love, totally engrossed in the fact that this is their “special day.”
Speaking as someone who has been both in relationships and single on Valentine’s Day, I believe the holiday is pointless. Sure, it’s great for everyone who is in a happy relationship, but what about people who are not? Why would we have a day to celebrate all of the people who have been lucky enough to find someone to spend their lives with and leave others in the shadows, watching in sadness and/or envy?
And what’s wrong with being alone? If you don’t have a love in your life, that should be celebrated too, because every person is beautiful and deserves just as much happiness as everyone else. Instead of breaking out the gallon of ice cream or going to the bar, grab your friends, find a rom-com and celebrate that you’re NOT in a relationship; you’re free to flirt and laugh and live your life without having to please anyone else except for yourself.
Those who are in relationships don’t have it easy either. This holiday puts too much pressure on them. They feel they have to find “the perfect gift” to make their significant other happy. So they spend money on fancy dinners, trinkets, and candies in the hope that what they do is good enough, that they’ve accomplished something in trying to impress their special someone. Like the 1958 song by Connie Francis begs, “I’m in love and it’s a crying shame…stupid Cupid, stop picking on me.”
But what’s the true reason behind this holiday? While there is no clear origin to the holiday, one of the theories concerns third century Rome. There was a man named Valentine and in the time era, Emperor Claudius II banned marriage for potential soldiers. Valentine would secretly marry young couples in love. When he was discovered, the future saint was martyred.
Basically, the celebration has become the product of a commercialized society. We’ve perverted the concept of true love to be everything it’s not. Being in love with someone is about being yourself, not having to go out of your way to impress another. Sure, it’s wonderful to do something special for the one you care about, but why does our society focus so much on celebrating this on ONE day? If people truly love each other, they should celebrate their bond EVERY day, not hype up everything they are and everything they’re not into a sappy card and a plea for reiteration of the fact that they’re not alone.