Honestly, sometimes it seems like I don’t hear anything positive about Valentine’s Day anymore. Whether it’s hearing a rant from one of my single friends, reading about the pressures to be overly sexual on Valentine’s Day, listening to a couple stress about how much money they’re spending on presents, or zoning out during a lecture on the idiocy of the whole holiday from an anti-capitalist (thus anti-Hallmark holiday) classmate, I can’t remember the last time I heard anyone being excited about it. I mean, as someone in a long-term but long-distance relationship, I also can easily fall into the trap of hating the holiday.
It can suck, for sure. Being bitter about Valentine’s Day, at first glance, seems like the route to go down no matter who you’re planning on spending the day with.
“I’m single, so I absolutely dread seeing all the couple posts on Instagram!”
“My girlfriend is putting way too much pressure on the holiday. I have no idea how to live up to expectations of all the Valentine’s Day dates she’s seen on TV.”
“I have a thing with a guy, but we aren’t officially dating so I have no idea what to do on Valentine’s Day without making it awkward. It’s stressing me out!”
“Honestly, being in a long-distance relationship today is worse than being single. At least then you can spend the day wallowing with your other single friends — I can’t celebrate with my significant other or relate to my friends who aren’t in a relationship.”
But recently, between the ongoing pandemic, stresses of school, life in general, and surviving the ups and downs of a long-distance relationship, I’ve found it incredibly difficult to care about the holiday at all. This mindset, even though I didn’t necessarily try to even get into it, has helped. Why care about Valentine’s Day? Why even bother?
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t do a Galentine’s day, or have a romantic date with someone special. I’m not stopping you from wearing a cute red and pink outfit, or indulging in a self-bought box of chocolates either (although I would advise you to wait until February 15th to get some on-sale goodies). But February 14th should be an excuse to spend time with people you love and nothing more. Sure, it might not put you in a positive mood, but why give it the power to put you in a negative one?
Think about it: the origin of Valentine’s Day is the pagan holiday Lupercalia, which celebrated fertility and included the… intriguing tradition of stripping naked and sacrificing a dog. Nowadays, as you’ve probably heard countless times, many think Valentine’s Day is a “capitalist scam,” designed to force consumers into purchasing cheap toys and chocolates that will be forgotten about a week later. It’s not a holiday you’re forced to partake in, and it’s not a holiday especially significant (at least in the way it is celebrated in the U.S. today) in terms of religion, family gatherings, or nationality. To me, feeling sad on Valentine’s Day because you’re not spending it with the perfect partner is the same as moping around on St. Patrick’s Day because you aren’t Irish — what’s the point? Both holidays are a reason to celebrate and have fun, but if you don’t want to or don’t feel qualified then it seems silly to make it a doomsday.
I don’t mean to disqualify anyone’s feelings of loneliness or isolation come Valentine’s Day. But really, I wish that it could be spent as a day of love, and if not that, then just a normal weekday in February. When you compare how it’s treated to any other holiday, it becomes more and more ridiculous to be so down on yourself because of a single holiday that, when it comes down to it, is only 24 hours, although it seems like I’ve read and seen hundreds of posts about how it sucks already. It may sound incredibly simplistic but… just don’t worry about it? Delete social media for the day to avoid negativity (whether self-induced or shoved in your face), sleep in, use the day to catch up on schoolwork, I don’t care. If it’s not something positive you’re doing, like taking yourself out on a date, using the day as an excuse to do something completely not related to Valentine’s Day, or yes, going on a cheesy and cute date, why bother making it significant at all?
This is a rambling rant and readers probably think that I only have this perspective because I’m happily in a relationship. To which I remind them, Valentine’s Day can suck in more ways than you can imagine, including when you can’t see your partner until May and walk past countless date spots in your college town every day. But that’s not what this article is about — if I can be unbothered, so can you, and we can spend February 14th like any other Monday, together.