Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love — in theory. In actuality, the day has firmly established itself as a soulless money-grab by corporations, hell-bent on convincing you you’re an inadequate lover if you don’t drop an exorbitant amount of money on your valentine. Also, your breath probably stinks.
Love between two people is a wonderful thing. What’s not wonderful is when it gets commercialized and so denatured from its original intentions that it’s unrecognizable.
Grand gestures have a time and a place, but they feel much more authentic when born out of spontaneity. I love a huge display of affection as much as the next person, but not when it’s forced. Valentine’s Day has so deeply embedded itself into American culture as a day to splurge on your sweetie that the splurge has lost all meaning.
Wouldn’t you feel more loved if you were given flowers, chocolates, or any other traditional symbol of romance randomly — because your sweetheart thought of you and wanted to give you something — instead of your sweetheart looking at the calender and feeling pressured into giving you a gift? Not to mention, a Valentine’s Day prix fixe dinner out is going to be unnecessarily pricier than a normal Tuesday night.
I am a firm believer in giving gifts because I thought of that person, or because I want to cheer them up. While I acknowledge the cultural significance of traditions and how fun they can be, I refuse to agree that not giving your partner the perfect Valentine’s Day gift means anything at all. In the media, and especially around young people, the day has gone from a celebration of your feelings, to an additional source of revenue for Hallmark and Lindt.
Something as arbitrary as the date should not decide when and how we share affection, and it certainly shouldn’t get to capitalize on romance by violently upcharging every poor schmuck afraid of being a bad boyfriend who feels obligated to buy some roses.
Of course, Valentine’s Day isn’t all bad. In elementary school, the annual classroom swapping of punny valentines and the attached candies was a second Halloween. For both single and taken adults, Galentine’s Day (Feb. 13) is on the rise, meant to celebrate the bond between friends. For some couples, the day might be special and fun, and that’s okay! Buy your honey all the chocolates you want, but I’ll be waiting until Feb. 15, when they go on sale.