With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I have found myself pondering over my feelings on romance, love and relationships.
Generally, I consider myself a bit of a closet romantic. I love small gestures of affection, like a gentle kiss good morning. I love to receive my favourite flowers for my birthday, or to have my favourite song sang to me, just to make me smile. Equally, I love to give surprise gifts, just because they made me think of someone. I love to send a message to say I have booked a table at their favourite restaurant. Romance is not lost on me.
However, whilst searching through the rows and rows of Valentine’s cards, I surprised myself, (even more than usual!). I found myself practically gagging on the inside, and heaving in disgust at how mushy and excessively “soppy” the words on these cards were. I scoffed as I read “I love you to the moon and the stars. I love you with every piece of my being.” I outwardly cringed at how “gross” these cards were. Not only that, but I then went on to talk to various friends about how wretched Valentine’s cards are.
Amongst these conversations with my friends, I noticed something which I find really interesting. Every single one of them spoke about how “cheesy” or “corny” Valentine’s Day is. Each of them spoke about how they don’t “do” Valentine’s Day with their partners. They all spoke of how they “don’t need a specified day to say I Love You.” Many of them commented that it has no meaning to receive a gift simply because society dictates that gifts must be exchanged. In some conversations, it almost felt as though we were competing to prove we were the most anti-valentine’s day!
Now, reflecting on this, I have surprised myself. Why do I feel this way about those romantic words I read? And why is it that me and my friends all felt obligated in some way to prove to one another that we do not consider Valentine’s Day to be a “big deal”? When did it become the norm to avoid a holiday which is all about celebrating and confessing love, in favour of fighting to prove how unromantic and not-in-need-of-love we are? Why has this happened?
Why do so many feel disgusted by the sight of a couple sharing a kiss at the train station, or a couple who say “I love you” 1000 times before hanging up the phone? Are we so convinced that anything that appears “excessively” romantic cannot possibly be sincere?
The truth is, it is easy to argue that we shouldn’t need a specific day to celebrate our love for each other. It is a valid argument in deed-we absolutely should show and express our love to each other every day. But let us think about this properly. We celebrate so many other occasions and holidays on one specific day of the year, and yet this does not mean we only care about those things once a year either. We celebrate Birthdays once a year, but that doesn’t mean we do not appreciate a person being with us all of the other days that year too. We celebrate Wedding Anniversaries, and yet we are grateful for our marriage every other day of the year as well. We celebrate various religious festivals once a year, and yet we still worship/pray/love our God(s) all of the other days.
Is it really such a negative thing that we dedicate one day a year, where we ignore the daily grind and stress, put aside our usual work/kid/money related rants, and instead dedicate that whole day to showing someone how much we love them. Why does this have to be a bad thing? Why do we have to be so “modern” and “trendy” about it?! Sure, we don’t need to follow all of the commercial side of it. We don’t have to buy hugs gifts, send balloon bouquets, or go out for expensive meals. But would it be so bad that we spent the day consciously thinking of the things that make our loved ones smile? Or showing gratitude for the things they do that make us smile? Why should we feel embarrassed or silly for surprising our loved one when they get home on 14th February with their favourite meal, served at the table with some candles? Or a home baked cake in their favourite flavour? Would it really be such a bad thing if we went a little old-school and made a mix-tape/CD/Playlist of all their favourite songs? Or even all of the songs that make us think of them? Would it truly be so very disgusting and repulsive if we wrote a little love note on a post-it, and sneak it into their lunch box/work bag? Or even left it on the fridge for them to see when they go to get the milk out? Why do we all feel so awkward about these things? Why does society keep encouraging us not to be seen to enjoy and celebrate each other? Someone always wants to tell us we are “conforming”, or “under the thumb” etc. Why can’t we just be in love and happy?
I am not suggesting for a second that we only do these things on this one day. I just think perhaps we feel strangely obliged to NOT celebrate this occasion. Does that make sense?!
The way I see it, now that I really think about it, is that this day is totally dedicated to love. And truly, nothing is more beautiful, important or sincere as love. And however small we decide to celebrate this day of love, wouldn’t it be nice to see those most important people in our lives spend the day feeling even more loved and appreciated than usual?
So, in light of this, I have made a decision. I will no longer try to keep up with the trendy people who boycott Valentine’s Day. Love is a beautiful thing, and romance is one of the ways we can demonstrate and celebrate our love for each other. And whilst I am still unlikely to be choosing a card with so many metaphors and similes that it takes me back to Year 4 Literacy lessons, I absolutely will be spending the day letting my inner romantic out to play for the day.
Have a wonderful day all!