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.
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?