valentines day: what it is

I have always been sort of confused in my brain about how I feel about Valentine’s Day. As a kid I loved making big heart envelopes out of construction paper, to hold all the be-my-valentine notes we all had to make for each other. But then as a teenager it just highlighted my singleness and triggered my angsty melancholia.

Sophomore year of college was the first time I actually had a Valentine on the Day, and I had no idea what I was supposed to get for this guy – all I’d ever heard about is how the lady gets flowers and chocolates. Can I be that girl or am I supposed to give him something? After he gave me a vase without any flowers in it, the day before Valentine’s Day (tossed it in my lap in the car, to be more precise), I figured I was in the clear to not do anything special for him.

When I studied abroad in South Africa (maties vir alteid!), they approached it in a different way, it was less about romantic love and more about friendship. Everyone wishes everyone a Happy Valentines Day, you just do nice things for each other and that’s that (that was my impression in Stellenbosch anyway, actual South Africans are welcome to dispute this!). I do still love sending goofy valentines to my friends (if only loving to do that would translate into actually getting around to doing that).

But I still wrestle with my feelings about this holiday, as it relates to romantic relationships. Despite my efforts to beat out my self-centeredness, this is pretty much what it looks like in my brain.

The yellow section looks small and weak but you can’t tell it’s weighted differently because it’s my better, stronger, more mature self. In my big-girl pants, this is more like where I stand.

Still when I think about it, it’s really a silly holiday for hallmark and candy companies (et al.) to exploit. But then so what? Is it such a bad thing to have an excuse to shower loved ones with hearts and kisses?

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5 Responses to valentines day: what it is

  1. Jenn says:

    bahahahaha this is my brain 100%.

    Except my mature side is not so mature.

  2. Sharon says:

    I used to be all, “Valentine’s Day is just a made-up Hallmark holiday! I refuse to participate!” But now… eh, we get to dress up and give each other gifts (I usually opt to give Dear Hubs a board game) and eat fancy food? Sign me up!

  3. kahlia says:

    I love the graphs–especially the little angry face in the first one!

    I used to avoid it, and told all my high school and college boyfriends that it was made up and I wasn’t interested. But then I started dating (and subsequently married) the most sensitive guy ever and it makes him happy to celebrate sappy things, like Valentine’s Day. So now we go out to dinner (not exactly dressed up, but at least “a little cute”) & occasionally give each other a little something (the first year I got him a heart-shaped candle; last year he got me a little bag of heart-shaped candies). It makes me happy to see him all excited, so it’s worth it. And like you said, why not take advantage of an excuse to be nice to each?

  4. Jo says:

    YES.

    And also, LMAO.

    When I am on my game, I send Valentines to family and close girlfriends, and my ideal self would be really good about this. This year I will not and that just has to be okay.

    My V-Day experiences would actually make a humorous blog post so I will maybe do that. But I like the stupid cheesy stuff that you do with 2 year olds, not the nice clothes-sex-chocolates stuff. (I like sex and chocolates and nice clothes, just not on V Day). I love the heart shaped pancakes and the construction paper cards.

  5. Lauren says:

    AHHH!!! hahahahahaha. Yes. Yes. Yes. When I was in college all before valentines day people used to write huge love graffitti in chalk all over the quad. It used to make me want to puke. Even when I was in a relationship. And I’ve said a milllllion times “lets not do gifts, it’s dumb”… but if I don’t even get a card and maybe some walgreens candy, I’m totally going to pout. I can’t help it. <— loser.

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