Valentine’ Day: The Ideals vs Realities

We all grow up seeing Valentine’s Day in the certain way it is advertised. As a day where your significant other and you go out of your way to show each other how much you care for the other. This sets up certain expectations on what Valentine’s Day should and should not be. I interviewed individuals to see what their Valentine’s Day was like and how normal, everyday people viewed this day. Whether they went all out to live up to the hype or they had other views about it. Let’s call these individuals Jack, Sara, Ryan, Nora, and Karoline. Some of those interviewed were single, in a relationship, or married and their ages ranged from 21-36 years old. These individuals differed in many ways from background to whether they are in college or out.

I asked them a total of six questions and received a variety of responses. I was surprised by just how many of them did not have the stereotypical Valentine’s Day and many of them looked at the holiday as another day to show how much they cared as opposed to the one day they go all out. The first question I asked them was: What does Valentine’s Day mean to you?

The responses I received went like this:

Sarah: “It’s a holiday celebrating romantic love. Even though it’s commercialized I have always enjoyed celebrating it.”

Karoline: “To be able to spend time with loved ones. Whether it be family or friends.”

Jack: “It doesn’t man much to me kinda worthless. People feel you have to do something nice 1 day. When you should treat your partner like that everyday.”

Nora: “I would have to say a time to share your appreciation and love for someone.”

Ryan: “Well I think it can be a very special holiday but I think it can also be an excuse in the sense that some people decide that THAT’s the day they get to be all lovey when I think one should be like that every day. They shouldn’t have to wait for a holiday.”

One of the main themes of the response of these individuals was that it could be special if that is what you wanted but it should not just be the one day to show how you feel. And that is something that can be missed on this special day.

The second question I asked the group was: How did you spend your valentine’s Day? The responses I received were along the same answers. Individuals who either spent it with their family or spent what little time they could with their loved one after school or work. While as kids we view Valentine’s Day as something special and all consuming, the reality is we fit what time we can when we can outside of our obligations. This is one reason why it can be important to show your loved one how you feel outside of this one day.

As for the third question, it went as such: What is the most important aspect of Valentine’s Day for you? The answer was almost unanimous. To spend the day with the people you care about.

The fourth questions I asked the group was: What is the best Valentine’s Day you can remember? The answers went like this:

Sarah: “In high school the FFA sold different colored carnations for Valentine’s Day for a dollar each and they were delivered during homeroom. My freshmen year I got a few different ones from friends. It was a memorable day.”

Karoline: “Hmm… When Josh and I were living in Del Rio and he got out of work earlier then me and he decorated our entire apartment with Valentine’s stuff and cooked us a home cook meal and then we just watched tv together on the couch. Something simple but it meant a lot.”

Jack: “I would say today seeing how happy mom and dad were made it great.”

Nora: “The best Valentine’s Day I can remember was when my ex-boyfriend surprised me with a series of books I had been wanting. He went out of the ordinary for my gift and I still have those books to this day.”

Ryan: “Last years. I received a very meaningful gift and was genuinely surprised because it was completely unexpected.”

The majority of responses, if not all, consisted of small gestures which were the most meaningful. Instead of expecting this great celebration, sometimes it is the small moments that we remember the most. The fifth question to the group was based off the previous and it was: What’s the worst one you remember? The responses were either not having a bad Valentine’s Day that they could recall or it being a day they lost someone important. Though there was a response such as this:

Ryan: “I think this was like 2 or 3 years ago but I met with a guy that I liked for a lunch date and I though it was going well (he bought me a flower btw) until he mentioned his boyfriend and a lot of conspiracy theories about the Illuminati and Beyonce lol. It was so bad lol.”

This can show that even if you have a pretty bad Valentine’s Day it is not the end of the world. It can be something you can look bad and simply laugh at. And finally the question to end the interview one was: What do you think Valentine’s Day could be without?



The responses were almost similar. Without the clichés, engagements, and expectations. While this can be what we grow up expecting, this interview shows how Valentine’s Day, while special, is about more than who can do it better.