You Can’t Spell Valentine’s Day Without my Middle Finger

Senior Editor: Ashlyn Richardson

Valentine’s day, also known as the bane of my existence, has come once again in all its red and pink glory. Single or not, Valentine’s day makes me bitter. It is not all the happy couples or the giant teddy bears that makes my skin crawl, rather it is the idea that treating a significant other the way they should be treated every day is reserved for an arbitrary day in February. Sappy Instagram posts flood my feed and  pictures of gifts decorated with #goals seem to haunt me for weeks after its all over.

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Anti-Valentine’s day card (Courtesy of tumblr.com)

My first issue with this “holiday” is the expectation that you suddenly must transform into the knight in shining armor you’ve failed to be every other day of the year seems incredibly empty.There is an incredible pressure to put all your energy into making a single day of the year the most romantic 24 hours of the year. That pressure is not evenly dispersed across the calendar because hey, if you buy your significant others some chocolate and take them to Chili’s you’re good, right? Men and women both think that a single evening of wining and dining is more than enough romance to keep the spark in their relationship until the next Valentine’s day. Romance is magnified and exploited in order to satisfy our desires for it without a thought to the consequences that may come about. Buzzfeed writer, Alana Massey, sums it up poetically by stating, “Holidays are the punctuation in what would otherwise be an unbearable slog through the impossible number of years most people spend on this planet. It is time to think of Valentine’s Day not as the most romantic day of the year but as the day we gather for the communal ritual of examining love…”

In addition, the commercialization of Valentine’s day takes away from the very romance it is trying so hard to emphasize because suddenly, thoughtful gifts have turned into a way to one up the next couple through glorification on social media. Blogger Paul Brunson said, “According to Dr. Gary Chapman… if you were dropped on this planet on Valentine’s Day, you would think it’s all about gifts and nothing else. Buy this, buy this, buy this, is the theme EVERYWHERE we go and that messaging impacts us psychologically. So much so, that we’re programmed to believe gifts are the single most important tool to obtain and receive love!” If your boyfriend doesn’t get you a teddybear as big as you or your girlfriend doesn’t drop $100 on a jersey of a player that’ll get traded in six months, society says you didn’t do Valentine’s day right because you can’t brag about it on social media. Love has been trivialized into a hashtag and a retweet because we have conditioned ourselves to be satisfied this way. As senior Katie Costa said, “All the love around you on Valentine’s day should remind you to love your family and friends. Its not about what you get for your boyfriend or girlfriend, its about love.”

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Cynical Valentine’s day card (courtesy of Tumblr.com)

So, the next time we all celebrate Valentine’s day, let’s keep in mind that no matter how much pressure is put on us to make it the most romantic evening of the year with gifts and glorification on social media, love is meant for everyday of the year. As Makayla Powell says, “I love my grill no matter what day it is.” Let us all learn from Powell, whether your Valentine is a grill or you know, an actual person.

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