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Sex + Relationships

I Hate Valentines Day, But I Don’t Hate Love

This is my first V-Day in college that I’ll be celebrating single, (ironically also my last), and I’ve never been so excited. I don’t like Valentine’s Day, the only time it was ever worth celebrating for me was back in elementary school where everyone bought the same three boxes of Valentine’s, the ones with temporary tattoos, the ones with stickers, and the ones that came with lollipops- and everyone in class decorated their own DIY ‘mailbox’, exchanged the little paper cards and ate PTA snacks while watching “Be My Valentine Charlie Brown.” I know how cynical it sounds for me to say “I hate valentine’s day” but keep in mind it’s not because I hate love, I just hate all the expectations.

For instance, did you know Americans spent $20.7 billion on Valentine’s Day in 2019? According to the NRF (National Retail Federation) that’s ~$200 a person, which for the 39.7 million Americans living in poverty is a scary number. Regardless of if they have the available money to celebrate or not, the expectation is there. As a society, we have built up Valentine’s Day into this penultimate expression of love. It carries the weight of “if you can’t spend time with me/take me out/buy me a gift on Valentine’s Day, do you even really love me?” It’s worse when you’re in a relationship with someone who has that disposable income, where $200 on a date and gift is nothing. It changes the expectation into that expression of being ‘uncaring’ when the problem really is existing in a different tax bracket. It takes the focus off of the actual feelings and commitments couples make to each other, and places all of the importance on a price tag. 

I know some people truly use the day as a way to appreciate their partners and celebrate their feelings but the vast majority of people are essentially peer-pressured into spending a gratuitous amount of money on what is at its core, a nothing holiday. We aren’t celebrating catholic martyrs, we aren’t celebrating love or relationships, we aren’t celebrating anything- because there is nothing to celebrate within a made-up holiday.  That’s what I hate- the unending nothingness that somehow compels an entire nation to spend money they don’t have, or else risk being seen as a bad partner, that encourages people to plaster on fake smiles and declare fake sentiments just to make sure their partner and the world wide web know how great of a partner they are. 

Jenna Boyer

Kutztown '20

Writer, Advocate, Tattoo Enthusiast, Occasional Actor, Full-Time Nerd.
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