Welcome to the most controversial, sickeningly sweet day of the year: Valentine’s Day.
Before we get started, I’d like to clear the air. While the title of this article accurately implies that I’ll spend the next five minutes of your life defending Valentine’s Day, I indeed have my particular qualms and commentary about this love-infused, classic American holiday as well. Here’s a few:
1. Stop buying those disgusting, chalky Sweethearts. Stop it. We hate them. They are the opposite of what love feels like.
2. Giant everything doesn’t mean better everything. If you buy me a box of Sweethearts as big as my body I will probably throw up all over you.
3. Can’t we just get a pizza?
4. We haven’t told each other “I love you” yet, so this is awkward.
5. Why do chocolates in the heart shaped boxes taste faintly of cardboard?
6. If you give me a greeting card that sings, we’re breaking up.
7. But really, how about that pizza?
8. Snap me that picture again of your candle-lit dinner with “the best boyfriend in the whole world<33333333.” I dare you.
Now you understand that I empathize with your cynicism. In some parts of my heart, I truly find it quite irritating to think of the ridiculous revenue increase in Wal-Mart’s sales due solely to purchases of tacky greeting cards plastered with Cupid’s bare ass.
And yet, the part of me that binge-watched all four seasons of Say Yes to the Dress last summer finds a special beauty in what some consider “The Commercial World’s Biggest Scam!”
This part of me, the part that lies by telling herself she only watches The Bachelor because “It’s like a crazy, human social experiment,” loves Valentine’s Day more than any other day in the whole world. Here’s why.
I’ve had my fair share of single Valentine’s Days and my fair share of taken ones. But my favorite Valentine’s Days are the ones I spend with my family.
Every year since I was 5 years old, my dad made Valentine’s Day about the women in his life. Valentine’s Day wasn’t about just my mother, but about my sister and I coming home from school to a box of Godiva chocolates (my dad doesn’t mess around with that cardboard crap) and a brand new stuffed animal.
One stuffed pet in particular, a doe-eyed puppy dog I creatively named Flip Flops (that was the name on the tag but I’ll deny it if you ask), still sits happily atop my extra long twin bed at Florida State University. When I look at Flip Flops, a little worn around the edges I’ll have to admit, I think of the simple gestures of kindness my dad extended on Valentine’s Day to me, my mom, my sister and my little brat of a toy poodle, Gracie, who feels entitled to any attention given to anyone in our household.
What made my Valentine’s Days special with my family was that my dad didn’t make the day about the chocolates he gave or dinners he cooked or flowers he bought, but about taking a step back from our hurried, hectic lives to tell us what we meant to him. My dad, while embracing all of the commercialized, cliché 21st century Valentine’s garbage, turned the holiday into one that celebrated our unique bond as a family. And yes, he might have even bought a few boxes of Sweethearts. We forgive him.
The point is, I’m tired of the same old cynical anti-Valentine’s Day rant from the same single friends we’ve contemplated de-friending at least once or twice throughout the duration of our Facebook friend history. You know the rant:
“I don’t believe in limiting love to one day. Love is an every day celebration! Why must you pick JUST ONE?”
Why must Christian’s pick one special day to celebrate the birth of their Savior? Why must America only have one day of thanks? Why do we need to celebrate a New Year when we’re about to have 365 days of one? Always celebrate. All the time. Never, ever, pick a day that designates celebration.
I’m sorry, but I think you’re missing the point of a holiday.
“They just want (dun dun dun) YOUR MONEY!”
They do. Everyone always wants your money. For every holiday. Ever.
“There are other ways to show your love than just by buying material things!”
There are. Do them. (No pun intended.)
All this to say, the cheesy Valentine’s boxers you buy your boyfriend this Valentine’s Day doesn’t make you a loser or sucker for buying into a commercial holiday. It means that you’ve bought into a day that reminds you that amidst a life where it’s easy to forget to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you, you still want a whole day to celebrate just them. Even if it means buying a ton of meaningless plastic-based merchandize you’ll throw away within the week.
Thanks, Dad, for teaching me to celebrate every opportunity I have to celebrate my loved ones; even if it means buying into a holiday that makes single people very aware of how single they are.
So this Valentine’s Day, stop ranting about how pissed you are that you don’t have a boo thang in your life, and celebrate the love you do have, whether it’s with a giant stuffed teddy bear from the love of your life, a hand written poem (I recommend this over the latter) or a margarita with your girls.
Because there’s a whole bunch more love in the world than just the romantic kind, and if you blink, you’ll miss it.