Many of people hate Valentine’s Day—and I’m sure there are plenty of reasons.
Here are some you may have heard:
“It’s a Hallmark-created holiday to fuel the economy.”
“I don’t need a holiday to tell my honey how much I love him. I love him every day.”
“It’s a holiday to make us single people feel bad.”
“It’s too much pressure and it all falls on the guy—why isn’t there a reciprocated holiday for the guy where he gets steak and a blow job?”
And from the Jews in my life, I’ve even heard this one:
“I don’t celebrate because it’s a holiday based on Saint Valentine.” (Yes this is usually the same group that doesn’t celebrate Halloween. Why? Because Halloween stems from All Hallows Eve, which is the evening before All Saints Day, a Christian Celebration.)
Here’s my take on it.
Our culture has created many Hallmark holidays. The same people who use that excuse for Valentine’s Day have no problem celebrating Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. You should be an equal opportunity Hallmark-holiday hater.
No, you don’t need a holiday to tell your darlings how much you love them. Of course you should tell them every day—or any moment you feel it. But I think the deeper meaning of the holiday (if you can use deeper and Valentine’s in the same sentence without a giggle) is to take a time out to celebrate the love in your life. It’s just a cultural justification to do some PDA (public displays of affection.) Why not use the excuse to make out in public, indulge in a great meal and remember to have sex (for those of you who need a reminder?).
Appropriately, Hallmark’s Valentine’s Day commercials hit it right on the head this year. “It’s not for saying I love you. It’s for saying I love us. I love who we are together.” Their tag line is “Life is a Special Occasion.”
And truly, it is. There is so much ugliness, war, and sickness in the world that if Hallmark wants to lead everyone in a love fest for a day—why not? What’s a little love spreading going to hurt?
It’s like New Year’s Eve—for couples. A reason to party legitimately. Or St. Patrick’s Day, for that matter, celebrated by Irish and non-Irish drunks alike. (Incidentally there are Thanksgiving haters too. Should you give thanks one day a year?)
But the argument that it’s a holiday designed to make singles feel bad is like saying that women who don’t have children (too young, too old, don’t want them, lost them…) should hate Mother’s Day.
The argument that it falls on the man is somewhat annoying. It’s true that society deems it slightly more of the male responsibility, but that is our society’s tribute to traditional courting—and it rarely shows its proud head anymore. It’s an ode to the way things used to be, perhaps cliché romance, but romance nonetheless. But a man doesn’t have to fall into the teddy bears, roses, and chocolates trap just like he doesn’t have to buy into the tie cliché for Father’s Day.
In terms of a reciprocal holiday, there is Steak and BJ Day. I would wish for all the men out there that they find a lover that thinks a steak and a blow job is their idea of a good time too. (Well, maybe not the steak—there are way too many women vegetarians nowadays but they still have to eat their man’s meat.)
But I agree that it’s become too commercial. Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day—all of it. Is Hallmark setting your calendar for love declarations? Show your honey how much you love them in February, your mother in March, your father in June?
Am I celebrating? No, not really … but mostly because he thinks it’s a Hallmark holiday, and he doesn’t need a holiday to tell me he loves me; he loves me every day.
(Yet every year—even though we don’t celebrate—he comes home with something.)
Happy Valentine’s Day—to the Lovers and the Haters.
To my lover, my partner, my best friend—I promise a life of nights filled with broken dishes. I love you every day.
AMENDMENT: He came home with flowers.