By Sarah Rovinsky
Too many people know Valentine’s Day to be a commercial maneuver to sell chocolate and jewelry in which we are forced to participate in, otherwise, we become the Grinch of February 14. Should we be lucky enough to have a special someone to share this day with, and choose to ignore it, you’re just a thoughtless meanie.
The issue then becomes what and how much of an effort you should make, which of course is stressful. If you make too big of an effort, you’re basic and cheesy. On the other hand, if you are outdone by your partner, you look bad. If you don’t even have a date on V-Day, you feel like a loser! It should be understood that being single on February 14 is no different from being single on the 13th or 15th. Still, it’s hard to remain collected when cheap boxes of chocolates and gooey professions of love are constantly taunting you. Thus, this dreaded day becomes one of over-hyped disappointment and unnecessary stress rather than love.
Beyond all this, I dislike Valentine’s Day because it reduces something as beautiful, as complex, as love into obligatory, thoughtless gestures. In my opinion, the most romantic gifts are when a person gets you something only they could have known to get for you. A gift ideally demonstrates sincerity and genuine affections, which are never done out of obligation or the ease of Walmart’s holiday section. Buying an expensive necklace or any gift on Valentine’s Day doesn’t compensate for being a lazy boyfriend or girlfriend, just like saying, “I love you,” isn’t the same as acting in a loving, respectful way.
If you’re alone this Valentine’s Day, be thankful you’re not involved in the silly stress of it and snag all the chocolate deals on the 15th. If you’re with someone, be creative and thoughtful. A good start would be to turn off your devices and be fully present. Don’t just hear what they have to say: listen. In an ideal relationship, every day is one of love. Rather than using Valentine’s Day to make up for shortcomings, let’s use it to remind ourselves of all the subtle ways we can show that we love and respect the other.