Valentine’s Day. It’s a day for love and romance. A day for kisses and hugs, and wearing your heart on your sleeve. It’s a day when people to give big bouquets of flowers and giant boxes of chocolates to each other. It sounds nice in theory, but here’s the thing: I’m just not looking forward to it. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not claiming to be anti-romance. I just don’t love this holiday.
For me, Valentine’s Day falls on an arbitrary date. I love my husband just as much on February 14th as on any other day of the year. It’s not the anniversary of our wedding or our first date, and to me, it just feels like most other days of the week. While the chocolate and flower industries would like my husband to spend lots of money on me this month, I would much rather he surprise me with a treat on a random day.
The origin of this holiday doesn’t seem to have much to do with how we currently celebrate. A few years ago, VPR put out an article about the holiday’s dark origins and after reading it, I’m really not in the mood for flowers and chocolate. Without saying too much, I’ll tell you that it involved a matchmaking lottery, the martyrdom of two men named Valentine and a possible confusion of two names that sound alike (Galatin and Valentine). If nothing else, the idea of a “matchmaking lottery” doesn’t spell romance for me.
It’s not for everyone. At least, not here in the United States. In other countries, there is a greater emphasis on friendship. In Mexico, for example, they call February 14th El dia del Amor y la Amistad (the day of love and friendship). It’s an opportunity to shower your significant other with love and gifts, but it’s also an opportunity to show appreciation for your friends. Now, that’s something I can get on board with. Telling my friend Megan how much I appreciate her friendship seems much better than: “Hey, single friends! It’s that day I get to remind you that I’m in a relationship and you’re not!”
To be honest, I don’t particularly love pink. Yes, it’s totally superficial of me to judge an entire holiday based on color, but that’s how I feel. I detest that time of year when the seasonal aisle in every grocery store and drugstore overflows with gaudy, shiny hearts of all sizes. Oh, and I’ve recently discovered I’ve become one of those people that hates glitter.
It’s so commercial. This goes along with the last reason. Just after Christmas, our local stores’ seasonal shelves become packed with special, limited edition items of all types. There are Valentine’s day greeting cards available for even the most obscure of relationships. I found way more cards than I thought necessary for giving to one’s boss on this romantic holiday. To be honest, even one valentine for my boss would be one too many.
I’m a chocolate snob. I only like high quality, high cocoa content dark chocolate, and I don’t like caramel to be anywhere near it. On chocolate holidays, I just dread receiving mainstream milk chocolate. As much as I appreciate the thought behind it, it goes directly to the teacher’s lounge at work, or as my husband likes to call it, the Bermuda Triangle.
There are so many classroom rules nowadays. When I was a kid, we could give out valentines at school, give out candy, and invite whoever we wanted to a Valentine’s party. Our son is only 14 months old, and his daycare center has so many policies about holidays, parties and foods that it’s hard to remember all of them. I can only imagine how many more rules there will be when he is in kindergarten. Of course, I understand the need for inclusion and the importance of care when it comes to food allergies, but I can’t help but miss the simpler days.