I love ‘love’. As in, I love the act of love; I love the feeling of love.
I really do. I’m a loving person who loves to love, and who loves to be loved. My definition of love, however, doesn’t include getting all worked up with materialistic expectations and participating in choreographed displays of affection one day a year, just because the greeting card industry tells me to.
It’s funny – until I was about twelve, it didn’t even register that Valentine’s Day was largely meant for couples. My parents used to give me cutesy cards, chocolates in pink, heart-shaped boxes, and other gifts that little girls go berserk over, like plush toys and the like. I assumed it was about all types of love, not just romantic love. At the age of twelve, I had my first real crush, and my friends and I delighted in distributing our Valentines to boys in our class, and gossiped incessantly about who we thought liked who (what a simple, gleeful time that was, compared to what we would experience not ten years later, when boys became “complicated”).
The first time Valentine’s Day came around while I was actually in a relationship (because how many times have some of us broken up with someone right before the blasted holiday) was – well, it probably wasn’t bad by most people’s standards – but then I’m not most people. I think I realized, right then, that I had little to no respect for the “holiday”, even resented it for placing so much pressure on people to feel like they need to participate in it.
My boyfriend at the time was madly in love with me, and wanted everything to be perfect. We tried to reserve at a number of restaurants, only to be told that they were all booked up. We finally found ourselves at a popular Italian restaurant that, in my current high-maintenance state of mind, I can only refer to as somewhere between low-end and middle-of-the-road family dining (I’m pretty sure I wasn’t thrilled with it then, either). The place was brightly lit, packed, and we were seated next to a family with 3 restless, screaming children. Fun times. We wanted to stab ourselves to death with our forks.
Oh, I almost forgot. The poor guy bought me what he thought was the perfect gift: a silver chain housing a silver, heart-shaped locket pendant….oh dear. It was sweet, but I knew immediately that I’d wear it a few times in his company, and then relegate it to a box in the back of a drawer.
Note to guys: when shopping for jewellery as a gift, if you see a heart-shaped pendant, KEEP WALKING. Do NOT answer its call. Women would never pick this stuff out for themselves. If you’ve never seen her wearing heart-shaped jewellery, it’s no coincidence. That whole storyline in the movie Titanic is full of it. Or maybe it’s not, but, hey – it’s set in 1912, for Christ’s sake.
Anyway, the evening was just such an epic let-down, and neither one of us could believe we’d gotten so worked up over it. It occurred to us that we regularly had a better time on any given night, just hanging out listening to music, or just taking a moonlit walk on the waterfront.
It always blows my mind how much importance people place on this day – this day of clichés, this day that is inundated by unimaginative things like bouquets of red roses, boxes of drug store brand chocolates, and marriage proposals (most of which I’m sure end in failed engagements or dreary marriages). I’ll be honest with you, if someone proposed to me on Valentine’s Day, I would probably throw up a little bit in my mouth.
No, I am not made of ice – I just think that, as usual, most people have missed the point. If you are supposedly in an incredible union with someone, why do you need a day marked on a calendar to show them your appreciation? I know that some people enjoy the excuse to make a fuss. I just prefer to have my guy fuss over me and bestow his appreciation upon me regularly and randomly rather than having him offer a canned, commercialized effort because he feels obliged. How many relationships have ended on February15th because a guy didn’t meet a girl’s expectations (and I am in no way endorsing these girls’ point of view)?
From what I’ve seen, those who insist on making a big deal of this ridiculous “holiday” are either new to the relationship scene or are desperately trying to pretend that their relationships are more sound than they actually are.
If you are (or have ever been) as lucky as I’ve been, you and a romantic partner have randomly lit candles and fooled around in the dark – any day of the week. You’ve gotten dressed up and hit up the town like rock stars just because. You’ve gotten drunk on champagne and made out for hours, because you are hot for each other, and you had nothing more interesting planned for that evening. If you have been lucky enough to be in a genuine, healthy relationship, then I will wager that Valentine’s Day has come around, and it has seemed redundant, if not irrelevant.
Call me an idealist: I will never settle for anything less. And neither should you.