“I don’t understand why Cupid was chosen to represent Valentine’s Day. When I think about romance, the last thing on my mind is a short, chubby toddler coming at me with a weapon.” ~Author Unknown
I’ll probably get some heat from some people about this post but here it goes nevertheless. I hate Valentine’s Day. My problem is not with expressing how I feel to the people that I love. I have no issues with that whatsoever. My problem is I don’t think that I should be forced to do so on February 14. And if you don’t think we’re forced, think again.
Valentine’s Day has been transformed into a commercialized spectacle of “I love you, I love you not.” It is a day of price-gouging as we get slammed by florists, jewelry stores, and greeting card companies. (About 25 percent of all cards sent each year are valentines). They are certainly not complaining I’m sure they are enjoying every minute of it. And let’s not forget the pre-fixed over-priced restaurant dinners.
Most of us already know how inflated this day is yet we still get right back in line to get ripped off. Why? If you’re in a relationship, Valentine’s Day forces ridiculous standards as you run amok struggling to satisfy your loved one’s expectations. If you’re a man, you’re hoping she’ll be satisfied with roses and a fancy dinner. If you’re a woman and you have your period, the day is ruined. You get the point.
And let’s not forget if you’re single it’s a horrible reminder that you don’t have someone. I’ve been there and it’s not a good feeling. Valentine’s Day makes you want to call your ex and throw a pity party for yourself.
When I was in high school, students were able to buy carnations on Valentine’s Day. A red carnation meant love and pink or white meant friendship. Those with no red flowers (including myself) felt loveless and those who didn’t receive a lot of pink or white felt unpopular. There was pressure on both sides of the equation and no happy medium.
There are many theories of how Valentine’s Day came into being so let’s focus on the most popular account. It is said that February 14 was declared a day to honor St. Valentine by Pope Gelasius in 469. As the story goes, Valentine was a bishop who held secret marriage ceremonies for soldiers during the time of the Roman Emperor Claudius II, who had forbidden his soldiers to marry feeling that it would make them emotionally attached and weak.
When Claudius eventually found out, Valentine was arrested and later executed. Although it’s hard to know for sure, he is believed to have been executed on February 14, 270 AD.
So how did a day dedicated to a Catholic Martyr become a blessing for the makers of stuffed animals and chocolate candy? I’m sure whoever sent out the first valentine had the best intentions. Maybe it was an earnest attempt to bring people closer together and get them to profess their love for each other. Good intentions, I’m sure but the fact is not all is good.
Here are just a few reasons why:
1. You feel the pressure whether you are in a relationship or not:
I was a bit surprised to read that the days leading up to Valentine’s Day are popular for proposals and long-term commitments while the days following Valentine’s Day are known for break ups. This goes to show you that placing ultimatums are not good for any relationship.
If you’re in a relationship, we feel the pressure of having to “wow” our loved one and outdo everybody else.
If you’re not in a relationship, let’s face it, we hate hearing about Valentine’s Day. Feelings of depression and loneliness are rampant on February 14. Why doesn’t that surprise me?
2. Love is NOT about the gifts.
After the holidays, I walked into a Hallmark store at the local mall to see one worker boxing Christmas cards while another one stacked the shelves with Valentine’s Day cards and gifts. I hate the feeling of going from one over-commercialized holiday to another.
I’m not saying I don’t like receiving gifts. But as my mother always said, “You shouldn’t have to buy someone’s love.” All the advertising and red-lace propaganda out there leads people to think that you have to buy that in order to receive this. But it’s not about the gifts. Genuine, heartfelt love goes beyond the gifts. It’s expressed in ways that are in no way materialistic and in every way spiritual and nonphysical.
3. Romance that is forced is NOT Romance.
It’s supposed to be the most romantic day of the year yet it is anything but romantic. In my opinion, in order for romance to be real and meaningful, it must be spontaneous and natural. You shouldn’t profess your love to someone because some Hallmark card tells you to.
I am a hopeless romantic. I love surprising my husband and I love when he does the same for me. It makes me feel special and wanted. But it has to be because we both want to and not because we feel like we have to. It has to be genuine and heartfelt.
I recently read a blog which touted “…a dozen roses or a box of chocolates may be appreciated for a while, but if you really want your sweetheart to swoon, here are some Valentine’s Day gifts for all the loved ones on your list …” UGH! Let’s get real. We all need to forget the V-Day hype and realize that it’s actually very little about the spa vouchers, romantic weekend getaways, the charms or tennis bracelets or even the monogramed cushions and towels and instead all about the loving. But then again, you can do that any old day of the year.