Before anyone asks… no, I don’t hate love. I think love is a wonderful and empowering emotion, and I think being in a loving relationship is a beautiful experience.
But I absolutely HATE Valentine’s day. I know, hate is a strong word.
I also know my opinion is probably an unpopular one, especially around this time of year, but I stand by it. Listen, I don’t hate Valentine’s day because I’m single, or because I hate getting flowers and candy from people I love, and I definitely don't hate Valentine’s day because I have been scorned one too many times before.
The opposite of the above list is true! Let me explain.
First, I enjoy being single. Plus, if you happen to know me you know I barely have time to breathe – let alone time for a relationship.
Secondly, my love language is receiving gifts – this doesn’t mean I am materialistic. It means I love things like notes, and little things which say “I was thinking of you” like flowers, or jewelry.
A holiday when gifts of this nature are part of it should be right up my alley, and yet it’s not.
Thirdly, even though I have had serious relationships which hurt me, a woman scorned isn’t exactly my style. When I was in a relationship, I didn’t want to have a traditional Valentine’s day.
I wanted something personal, unique and special. This may lead some to ask why Valentine’s day? The holiday of love tends to fall last on my list when it comes to ranking my favorite holidays.
I hate Valentine’s day because it seems like it is more heavily commercialized than other holidays.
I mean, for example, as soon as Christmas is over the stores go straight to Valentine’s day. This isn’t an unfamiliar phenomenon in America where stores jump from one thing to another in an attempt to be ahead of the curve.
Valentine's day feels different to me. This is because most other holidays aren’t fueled by high expectations and possible guilt.
What I mean by this is, one doesn’t get people they love Christmas presents because it's what they should do. A lot of people can’t afford Christmas presents, and shaming them for not being able to get someone a present for Christmas would be an un-Christmasy thing to do.
Alternatively, if one’s significant other didn’t get them something for Valentine’s day it would probably be a different experience.
I think this is because giving people something on Valentine’s day has been engrained into our society. Let’s think about this though… those of us who went to public grade school probably had a Valentine’s day party where everyone in your class brought us a Valentine.
Thus, reinforcing this idea that on Valentine’s day giving people you like something is just what you do, especially for people you love. Personally, I used to give the store-bought Valentine’s cards to my best friends, and the ones I liked least to the people I didn’t like as much, like some sort of archaic ranking system.
So, in a way, this idea of giving Valentines is as natural as eating jelly beans on Easter and drinking beer on St. Patrick’s Day for those over 21. What kind of weird validation system is this holiday?
I also hate Valentine’s day because I think it is a glorified popularity contest.
Think about it, rarely do Valentine’s day festivities happen in one’s private space. Even if it does it isn’t long before someone takes a photo and takes that private expression of love and makes it a public post so people can like, and comment on how awesome you or your significant other is.
It’s like a public contest of whose significant other loves them more, and shows it in the best way?
I think this puts a lot of pressure on whoever is getting the gifts, whether it's one member of the couple or both. Of course, everyone wants their significant other to like it the most, but is it worth it if they don’t Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat how awesome the gift, and by extension how awesome the person who gave it to them, is?
Maybe I have just watched too many people put obscene amounts of time, effort, and stress into this holiday because they think it's what they must do regardless of it’s what they really want to do.
Don’t get me wrong, I am happy for all the couples out there, I really am.
I hope Valentine's day is everything everyone wants it to be for them. Time consuming archaic rituals, popularity contests, commercialization and all… that's the tea from this Valentine’s Day cynic to WU.
Edited by Adam White, Wesley Tabor, Jason Morrison