February 14th used to be a day to celebrate love. A day of card sending, of flower picking, of chocolate eating, of romantic gestures, of flying babies who arbitrarily shoot nubile tweens, teens and young adults with hormone-dipped arrows, of bloody sacrifices to Roman gods of agriculture, of Chicagoan mobsters massacring each other, of war-hungry emperors and secret illegal marriages, and of teddy bear giving… I almost forgot about teddy bears.
It seems strange to rant about the culture of my own generation, but I think someone my age needs to stand up for good old V-Day. Of course you all have heard it said that Valentine’s day is nothing more than a Hallmark holiday, and to some extent that is true. February 14th has been over-commercialized to an absurd degree, especially in the last decade or two. In fact, it seems as though my generation… the “Millennials”, are all but fed up with Valentine’s day. We feel pressured into spending our money on things like flowers and diamonds… and teddy bears, and we just don’t think this pressure is fair. We feel that the media is telling us how to put a price on our love and we should just be able to love each other every day for free.
“Valentine’s Day is a multi-million dollar industry”
“The media destroyed Valentine’s Day”
“I love my wife/girlfriend the other 364 days a year… why should Valentines’s Day be so special?”
I’m sure you have heard these things said before. Probably not direct quotes, but the essence is there right?. Now, I agree with all of these statements, at least on some level, but I am going to play a little devil’s advocate… wait… Cupid’s advocate.. yeah that’s better.
First off, let’s all back off the media, as well as the card manufactures, jewelers, restaurateurs, and flower shops for a second. They are simply supplying the demand that We have created. Maybe it is just because I plan on having a career in marketing one day, but I firmly believe the media and commerce are reflections of society and not the other way around. I also think that blaming the Valentine’s Day merch’ vendors, like Hallmark and Kay Jewelers, is nothing but a testament to how irrational of consumers We actually are. They are not forcing us to buy these things, they are simply giving us what we want. Maybe it’s our obsessive need to one-up each other, but there seems to be a somewhat competitive nature to V-day. We are competing against other couples to see who gets the best or most thoughtful gift for their Valentine and it has turned us all off to the true meaning of the holiday. I guess my point here is that we should stop blaming the media and Hallmark for ruining Valentine’s day, when we clearly did it ourselves.
Secondly, I am sick of the “I love my girlfriend every day so February 14th isn’t anything special” thing. IT’S A HOLIDAY… BRO… For the Christian’s in the crowd, you acknowledge every day, or at least you are supposed to, that Jesus Christ died for your sins. He is just as dead and his death is just as significant today as it was on Monday and maybe even last Thursday, right? Well allow me to introduce you to Good Friday. The single day you all celebrate and honor his martyrdom. Also what exactly is good about him being crucified? The name of the holiday just doesn’t make sense to me, but I’ll get back to the point. Just because you have one day a year where you actively commemorate the death of your lord and savior, doesn’t mean you forget about him and the other 364 days you don’t appreciate his sacrifice. This is the same case for Valentine’s day. We may love our lovers every single day, and that’s great, but is it so wrong to have one day a year that we go out of our way to express this to one another?
It doesn’t matter which Valentine’s Day origin you choose to go with, there are tons of them. Maybe you want to honor a Priest named Valentine illegally marrying people in direct defiance of Emperor Claudius II, who forbid marriage because single men made better soldiers. Maybe you want to commemorate the Pagan fertility festival, Lupercalia, where basically a bunch of Romans met in a cave and murdered a goat and a dog and then proceeded to smear blood on all the crops and women. I’m not sure why you would choose that one, but hey it’s an option. Either way, Valentine’s Day today does not have to be a religious thing, it doesn’t have to be a lucrative greeting-card opportunity, it doesn’t have to be a big ordeal, and hell, you don’t even have to have someone to call your Valentine. You don’t need reservations at a five star restaurant, just write “I love you” on the bathroom mirror when you’re done taking shower or something. It doesn’t matter how you celebrate V-Day, but don’t let some money or a weird hatred towards Hallmark cause you to lose sight of how important love really is.
This Valentine’s Day let’s all take a break from being cynical and simply set aside a day to celebrate the power of love.