My current view of Valentine’s Day is that it’s not a holiday worth making a big deal about, because as the cliché goes, you should make it a point to be loving every day. It’s still fun to participate. But it took me a while to get here due to the other cliché that’s just as annoying as people who are over-the-top about the day. It’s one I’ve been guilty of for most of my adult life thus far—going out of my way to be a V-Day cynic.
There was the Valentine’s Day when I was 16 and didn’t have a boyfriend, but it was the first time I really cared because all of my friends were boo’d up, and this was the first year that I didn’t have a guaranteed Valentine exchange (other than my mom). Said friends all came to school flaunting their balloons, flowers and chocolate, and I pretended that I thought it was cute, but secretly gave the jealous side eye. I found myself in a store that same day after school and a grown man walked in with some flowers and balloons for someone. Before he left he asked me, “Where your Valentine?” After I told him I didn’t have one, he said, “Aw, if I were your age, I’d be your Valentine.”
That comment made me feel better. The following V-Days were blurs, but fast-forward to my junior year in college. There was a guy that I’d been seeing (read: we’d hang out here and there, but he really wasn’t that into me.) I got him a V-Day card, just to be nice. It was a goofy card with some kind of cartoon on the cover and an inside joke about being anti-Valentine’s Day. I thought it would be cute without being too extra.
He avoided me that day, and actually made it a point to say he was going to the movies with some friends on some “anti-Valentine’s Day ish” (his words, not mine). We were part of the same group of friends, so it hurt when he hit me with the, “I’m doing X, Y and Z,” followed by the pregnant pause that translates into: “I’m silent ’cause you ain’t invited.” Eventually another girl in the crew invited me—hours after he told me about his plans—because she thought it would be cute if I came. I declined… and that’s when my certified Valentine’s Day cynicism was born.
On one of my last Valentine’s Days as a single woman a few years ago, I went to see a horror movie called Teeth. It was about a woman who had teeth in her vagina and… you know where this is going, I hope. I made a big deal about being a rebel and going to see this movie without a date because I was “bucking the system.”
The following year, my very last single V-Day, I just pampered myself with a manicure and pedicure because single women should pamper themselves on Valentine’s Day. This is the most important day for single women to be proud of themselves for being single and secure and not lonely.
(Please read the sarcastic tone in that last bit.)
Starrene 2013 isn’t averse to Valentine’s Day with the help of Mr. Rocque, who has made it pleasant because he’s into sweet surprises. We do simple things like card exchanges, cute photo collages, video serenades and the like, and it’s nice. We express our love for each other every day, but not with physical tokens of appreciation—which is what V-Day gives us to look forward to.
But I get it either way. Cynics hate that the concept of having a Valentine is born more out of insecurity than love. The V-Day over-enthusiasts are the people that advertising and marketing campaigns speak to, the people who care what other people think about when they’re caught without a date or a gift from a significant other.
Then you have the people who make a point of hating the day and waving their single flag because they “don’t care,” but really they do care about what people are thinking about them seemingly being lonely, otherwise they wouldn’t announce their disdain for the day every chance they get.
Neither sentiment is healthy, so finding a happy medium is ideal. If you don’t like it then just don’t celebrate it, but don’t announce with a blow horn every five seconds that it’s not your thing. And if you’re into it, then be into it within reason. Don’t go broke trying to buy your boo an iPad or [insert lavish gift here].
Just live your life and be happy every day. Or at the very least, find Valentine alternatives like your sister, cousin, niece, nephew, or somebody who loves you back, even if it’s you.
Do you believe in Valentine’s Day, or is it just Hallmark hype? Sound off below!
Mr. and Mrs. Rocque are the couple formerly known as Anslem Samuel and Starrene Rhett, Chicago-based journalists who found love in between bylines. Follow the newlyweds’ musings of a marriage in progress here, on Twitter and via their joint blog.