Walk into any store, and it’s hard not to be barraged with hearts in reds, purples, and pinks. Turning on the television is an exercise in dodging jewelry store and floral shop advertisements. And in case you had forgotten, those facts alone will remind you that it’s February, which means…Valentine’s Day. Bleurgh.
Now, I’ll admit to having been the Ebenezer Scrooge of Valentine’s Day in the past. I’d never really been in a relationship on Valentine’s Day before, and therefore I hated it. Valentine’s Day is practically meant to mock the lonely, after all. Not that “single” necessitates being lonely, but sometimes that’s how it works out. And I’d always felt more lonely than not on Valentine’s Day. To me, the only worthwhile thing about Valentine’s Day was the chocolates…on clearance, starting February 15th. I think the lonesome, self-loathing sadness was at its worth my first year at university. It had finally sunk in that college was not the lesbian paradise that Van Wilder movies made it out to be, and that being only an hour and a half away from my parents meant that I’d be getting surprise visits. I spent all day on the 14th moping, and then on the 15th I went and got my first (and only, you naughty folk. I know you were wondering) body piercing, to remind myself that the only person’s love I need is my own. Of course, that didn’t stop me from buying my clearance chocolates later that night.
But now, I’m in a relationship! And for the first time ever in the history of me, I get to have a valentine! Mind you, I haven’t asked her yet, but I’m pretty sure she’ll say yes considering that we’ve been together for 10 months. I get to give and get presents and dress up for dinner and say cute stuff and do cute things, right?!
I’m still a Valentine’s cynic. And I hope my girlfriend doesn’t hate me for it. But I think it’s pointless to designate one consumerist day to your loved ones, whether they are romantic interests or your platonic nearest and dearest. Why not tell them how much they mean to you every day? I try not to let a day go by without telling my girlfriend that she’s beautiful – and it’s not hard, because she truly is gorgeous. I don’t tell her that because I’m trying to earn brownie points though; I tell her because I want her to know that I feel lucky to have her. And even though I some nights I hate doing it, I call my parents ever evening to tell them I love them, because I do. Even if they sometimes set my teeth on edge.
I believe that every day ought to be a celebration of love. I believe in doing little cute things as often as I can think of them, whether that’s as much as once a day or as little as once a month – but definitely more frequently than once a year. I don’t want my girlfriend, my best friend, or even my mom to feel special to me only once a year.
So I won’t be buying my girlfriend any Valentine’s Day presents. I won’t be making dinner reservations or planning any cute surprises. I’ll probably do what I do most Sunday nights – I’ll make dinner with her, and we’ll snuggle and watch a movie. It will most likely be an uneventful Sunday night. But if she ever has a bad day, I’ll run over with green tea ice cream, which is her favorite. If I feel like being gallant on Tuesday, or Wednesday, I’ll take her out to dinner. I’ll write her little love notes on the back of whatever paper I can find in her room while she’s brushing her teeth and I’ll leave them on her pillow.
I hope you all have a lovely Valentine’s Day whether you’re in a relationship or not, and whether you choose to celebrate it or not. But I challenge you all to take it one step farther. Use it as a jumping off point. Start with just one person and let them know how important they are to you. We don’t need to spend our money on frivolous junk to let our loved ones know exactly how loved they are by us. After all, I’ve got to save up for those clearance chocolates!