Valentine’s Day: As you like it

14 Feb

Valentine’s Day. A phrase that strikes both fear and joy into the hearts of singletons and couples worldwide.

February 14th is a day fueled by expectations. Florists, restaurants, card shops and chocolatiers expect to be heinously busy.  Single people expect romantic surprises while couples expect a fancy meal at a fancy restaurant. The pessimists among us expect disappointment and the optimists expect a firework display and a trip to Paris.

If single people are not pleasantly surprised by a mysterious Valentine’s Day card, it is naturally assumed that they will spend the rest of the day moping around in a super-emotional, over-sensitive state in which every ensuing event in that day somehow alerts them to their relationship status. (Which was probably the same on February 13th, but society wants them to be especially upset about it on the 14th.)

In reality, it might just be the case that some single people are happy as they are. Perhaps they weren’t expecting a Valentine’s card and they don’t need to be told that they are ‘still fabulous’ if they don’t receive one. Single people become V-Day victims all too often by being wrapped in a condescendingly fabulous feather boa.

Valentine’s Day also manages to cause problems for couples. Sometimes it serves as a painful reminder for couples experiencing a rough patch, or for those separated by distance. In other ways, Valentines Day creates problems purely for the sake of Valentine’s Day.

Hint: don’t say you don’t want anything for Valentine’s Day if you really would like something for Valentine’s Day. That is, effectively, lying, and your partner is not a mind reader.

Of course V-Day is a joyous occasion for many people. It can be a welcome opportunity to tell a love interest how you feel or a good excuse for couples to spend some quality-time together. There’s nothing wrong with writing a heartfelt message or planning a romantic gesture for someone you care about when the opportunity arises. It’s the one day of the year to get away with a cheeky PDA and make your significant other feel truly special and loved.

But Valentine’s Day will only cause upset if people spend the whole day looking around at what other people have. Loved-up couples post pictures of extravagant bouquets of flowers on Facebook and announce how spoiled they have been the entire day. This heinous V-Day crime starts the detestable chain of comments in which Facebook friends compare gifts and Valentine’s Day activities in some sort of wild Western affection showdown. #blessed #loved #blessedandloved

Surely this misses the whole point of Valentine’s Day. The tacky overspill of cards, presents, flowers, teddy bears and chocolates begin to replace simple, meaningful, and affectionate gestures. Some people spend so much time scrolling through Facebook and Twitter news feeds fussing over what everyone else has that they forget to appreciate what they have in their own lives.

Whether you’re single or taken, how you experience Valentine’s Day should not be dictated by convention, because everyone is different. If you love it, celebrate it, and if you loathe it, don’t. And if Valentine’s Day 2014 doesn’t go your way, there’s always another 320 days left in the year for you to celebrate romance.

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