It’s Valentine’s Day. The most romantic day of the year. You’ve been excited to get home all day. Your imagination has been running wild trying to think of what your partner has planned. After you get off work, or out of class, you drive home. Your song comes on the radio and the romance of it makes you grin ear to ear. As you approach your door, you have butterflies in your stomach. You walk inside and see… your partner, on the couch playing Skyrim, eating pizza and they barely glance up from their game to say “hey”. This is an all-too-common scenario because, unfortunately, not many people care about Valentine’s Day or romance in general anymore.
Valentine’s Day has always been one of my favorite holidays. I usually go all out. I wear pink and red. I pass out Valentines to everyone I see. I pass out candy. I listen to love songs. I always try to plan something romantic for me and my boyfriend. But I’ve been hearing a lot of trash talk about Valentine’s Day for several years now and I’m sick of it. I’m sick of being the only romantic person in my relationship.
I’ve heard it all — that Valentine’s Day is sexist, that it’s stupid to show your love for someone only one day a year, that we should treat each other nicely every day and that Valentine’s Day was invented by Hallmark to sell cards.
I know that we should do nice things for our loved ones every day and that it shouldn’t take a holiday to say “I love you,” or to buy someone flowers. But unfortunately, that isn’t realistic. How do I know? Because I’m one of those girls who asks for things. I’m not passive aggressive about them. When I want flowers, or a nice date, or some chocolate, I ask for it. But I don’t usually get the results that I want. So when I actually ask for romantic things and don’t get them, how am I supposed to expect people to act cute and sweet like that all the time? Obviously it’s hard to do nice and romantic things on a regular basis. But Valentine’s Day can take some of that stress away.
Valentine’s Day and romance are not sexist. It’s not sexist to tell someone you love them or to want to feel acknowledged and appreciated. If you cook dinner every day, it’s not sexist to request that your partner make dinner for you for once. If you’re the one who usually does all that planning for a nice date, it’s not at all sexist to ask for a break to have your partner do the planning. I have done the planning for the last three years in a row. I’ve done the wooing. Now I want to be wooed. Yes, I’m an independent woman who doesn’t need a man, but I would still like to be swept off my feet. It doesn’t make you less of a man to be romantic. Let me say it louder for the people in the back: being romantic does not make you less of a man.
For those who think Valentine’s Day was invented by Hallmark, let me tell you a little story. There are a couple of origins of Valentine’s Day, one from the pagan tradition and one from the Christian tradition. In the pagan tradition, Valentine’s Day was Imbolc and it was a celebration of love because it’s the time when birds and various other animals mated, hence the phrase, “love bird.” In the Christian version, St. Valentine was, well, a saint who fell in love and was arrested so his lover would send him love letters when he was in jail, hence the holiday’s name and traditions. Valentine’s Day has been acknowledged, even celebrated, for hundreds of years. Hallmark just capitalized on that, as it does with every holiday.
If you’re single, I understand why Valentine’s Day maybe isn’t your favorite holiday. You don’t have anyone a partner and you don’t always get presents or flowers. If you’re single and you still love Valentine’s Day, I’m so happy for you. Keep it up.
But if you’re in a relationship and you don’t like Valentine’s Day for any of the above reasons, I don’t understand you. Do you know how your partner probably feels, knowing that you think it’s stupid that you’re expected to do something nice for them? It probably makes them want to browse Tinder. If you’re in a relationship and you truly care about them, you should want to do something nice for them. It shouldn’t feel like a burden. If being romantic for the person you’re in a relationship with is a massive burden, then don’t be in a relationship.
Photo Courtesy of Peggy