There’s just so much going on around Valentine’s Day that is happy and joyous and really over-the-top, almost (no, actually downright) annoying that I just have to say something. Call me the Ebenezer Scrooge of Valentine’s Day. Do it! Maybe I’ll be visited by the ghosts of Valentine’s past, present and future and wake with a changed outlook. It simply can’t hurt.
Clearly, if you haven’t figured it out, there is one holiday that disturbs me and it is Valentine’s Day. Or, maybe it is just that I’ve been all out sick from some death-seeking stomach virus this week and my outlook on everything right now is slightly disturbed. Whatever the case might be, I’m currently annoyed by all the happy clappy surrounding Valentine’s Day.
The significance of Valentines Day as a holiday eludes me. I’ve just never gotten the real significance of days like this. Random days, seemingly stuck on a calendar with no real historical or religious significance…at least, not that one could detect without doing a Google search. It really seems like a big ploy to make men feel guilty so women can get presents. Men do this so they can get or keep something else. At best they do it to stay out of the doghouse. I hate being manipulated and I feel like Valentine’s is one great big marketing manipulation. I dislike this aspect of Valentine’s Day.
Because such a big deal is made of the day, it is difficult to ignore it. I’d like to. I can’t. Just on Facebook alone, I see apps for my phone just in time for Valentine’s Day, invites to romantic dinner events (for two, for a lot of money usually), singles get together events promoting the promise of “finding a date in time for Valentine’s Day” and status message updates encouraging you to update your profile image with a picture of you and your partner and tell how long you’ve been together.
Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love. Not a bad idea, but every day should be a day to celebrate love. Further, this day, in my opinion, more than any of the holidays (except maybe Christmas or Thanksgiving), serves to point out the haves and the have nots. Those who have a lover, a partner, a spouse and those, who even if it is by choice, do not. Somehow, that’s just never felt good to me, even when I was in a relationship. My experience has been mostly that the holiday was celebrated because the guy felt obligated to do something so he could avoid the relational doghouse rather than because he really wanted to. Not a good time for anyone, especially me, because I really work hard not to put relational pressure on the people I care about.
A Fun Day
But, in spite of my Scroogist tendencies, Valentine’s can be a very fun and (dare I say it?) meaningful day as well.
Have you ever given one of those prepackaged Valentine’s Day cards to your teenager, just for fun with a Charms Blow Pop or a bag of Skittles attached?
Have you ever been the focus of someone’s thought and attention so much so that the person booked you for Valentine’s Day weeks in advance before you were even really thinking of the two of you as a couple?
Have you ever passed up a date on Valentine’s Day, to go out to dinner with another very good dear single friend you hadn’t seen in a while?
Ever been in a classroom of elementary school children on Valentine’s Day? Ever seen the sparkle in the eyes as the children (yes, even the boys) open up a card that says something silly but affirming on it? Have you ever been the recipient of those Valentines, written in a childish scrawl, unashamedly declaring love for a teacher, a mom, a dad, a best friend?
Young children don’t care about how their affections will be received. It never occurs to them that their love won’t be valued and received. They just love and they just show it. Simply. Matter of factly. Joyously. Without reservation.
Another Day To Say, “I Love You”
Valentine’s Day, definitely annoys me on some levels. I don’t like the pressure that seems to be implied in the day. I definitely hate the marketing craze surrounding it. I don’t like the way it separates and divides the loved from the unloved, so to speak.
On the other hand, it isn’t just about the hearts and candy and flowers, either, or the presence or absence of a romantic interest in one’s life. I get that.
I have given the tacky Valentines to my teenage children and gotten hugs and praise in response. I have passed up dates to go out with a single friend instead and had the best time of my life with some of the warmest memories attached. I’ve had someone want to be with me so much that he made sure I was free weeks in advance for that special day. I have for the last 15 years watched elementary children open valentines, squeal and blush and give their teacher love notes and I’ve cherished every moment.
Maybe that’s the part of Valentine’s Day that I need to focus more on. Because, in spite of all the bad press or potential discomfort that a day like Valentine’s can create, it is still just another day. Another day of life. Another day to love. Another day to say so. Another day to make a special moment for a special someone or maybe a few special young someones, somewhere. A rose by any other name, right?
So, what do you think of Valentine’s Day? Is it friend or foe? What makes it so for you?