I’ve been dating my boyfriend, David, for close to five years now. The winter of our freshman year in high school, he was put next to me in a class because he had been talking too much near his friend.
He started talking to me, in part, because he wanted my vocab homework. We became friends over the next few weeks, trading stories and eventually meeting in the mornings to talk before class.
Yet, I have to admit, it was a bit of a shock when on Valentine’s Day, we met up in the morning and he produced a shiny heart-shaped box of candies from his backpack.
I said no.
Evidently, that was not the end of things; a few months later we began dating anyways, and he continues to tell the development of our relationship as a heroic tale. But that lies beyond my point; I never used to like Valentine’s Day.
The next year, around age sixteen, David suggested going out to a local pizza place for heart-shaped pizzas. Again, I declined, saying I didn’t see a reason to do anything special, and I didn’t want him to have to spend the money anyways.
However, sometime in the last four years I turned into a mushy romantic. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what changed, but I suspect the way life has taken off has a role in it. David and I are both pretty consistently busy, with school, work and other responsibilities.
We do go out on weekends, and see each other often enough, but it’s difficult to really find the time to have a no-stress, special date night. That’s what I see Valentine’s as; an occasion to set aside life for a moment, and be with your partner however you choose to do that.
A common argument, and one I don’t entirely disagree with, is that Valentine’s Day doesn’t make sense because you should love your partner and spend time with them every day.
That’s true, but when life is so hectic, I think it’s nice just to have a day set aside that’s meant to be special. I plan to go out with David not because I think I need to because of a holiday, but because it’s important to me to once in a while set aside an evening where being with him is priority. Valentine’s is a good reminder to slow down and do just that.
Another thing I’ve heard against Valentine’s Day is that it’s a candy store holiday, that it’s too commercialized. And it is, but only if you make it that way for yourself.
There’s no real need to go out to a crowded fancy restaurant, or to drop your paycheck at Walgreens on an up-charged box of Fannie May. Often enough, those aren’t so much meaningful as they are what we expect Valentine’s to be. Really, the best thing you can do on Valentine’s is be thoughtful.
So, is Valentine’s Day a candy store holiday? Sure, but I don’t think that means it needs to be. Make a romantic gesture, try to make the day special, or don’t; do what you value in your relationship, and make sure to tell your partner you love them.
The views expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily those of The Torch.