Yeah, I hope you’re doing well today — I know you have been going out on dates here or there, but I don’t think you’d be at the “celebrate Valentine’s Day” stage with anyone yet. Pretty sure you’re not going to some fancy dinner tonight and being handed a box of chocolates and bouquet of roses that you awkwardly have to drag through the rest of the evening out. I don’t think someone’s going to text you a picture of themselves holding a little paper heart. No big celebrations today. And that’s a shame. Not because you should have a significant other — because you don’t need one — but because you shouldn’t go through the day feeling like you aren’t loved. You shouldn’t let an arbitrary feeling of “who’s partnering up and who’s left being third wheel” dictate the way you go about your day. Because you are my Valentine, and I choo-choo-choose you.
What even makes someone your Valentine? I guess you could say it’s the person you go on dates with, the person that wipes spaghetti sauce off the corner of your lip and then chuckles gently before you both turn to the camera and give TWO THUMBS WAY UP FOR LOVE. For some people, it’s the person that you can love physically — the one who makes you feel wanted and desired and beautiful by running their hands all over you in a forgivingly-lit bedroom. For others, it’s that significant other that has been there for years and with whom the security of routine has become a blanket that covers and warms you both. For many, it is all three. And that’s fine. That cheesy, sexy, romantic love is all well and good, and makes us feel very alive. But let’s not trick ourselves into thinking it’s the only love that matters.
Because watching Spongebob reruns until 4 in the morning and acknowledging the fact that we’ve been enjoying these jokes — and enjoying them together — since we were 12 years old, that is love. Going for long drives where we play terrible music and sing at the top of our lungs, doing horrendous dances and laughing ourselves into tears as Juvenile beseeches us to “back that ass up,” that is love. Going out to dinner and having everything and nothing to talk about, never running out of something to add (but perfectly comfortable with shutting up and pigging out when the food comes), that is love. What we have — what we have always had — that is love. And though there is no holiday celebrating it specifically, it is just as important as the love that might end in marriage.
Best friends are rare, even more so when they last into the decades. To have someone with whom you can change and still appreciate each other for who you are is something many people will never experience. How lucky are we to have someone with whom nothing needs to be explained, nothing needs to be justified — it is just understood because, though we are as different as two people could be, we understand and accept each other fully. There are no awkward moments of judgment or ridicule, there is only admiration and laughter. How many romantic relationships will never know such smooth compatibility? How many couples will dine in silence, when the same dinner with a best friend would have been filled with inside jokes and breathless catching up?
And how ironic that often, best friends can be put on the back burner when a new, exciting romance comes along? We assume that this love will be here forever, and won’t require the tending to that our new love will. We assume the friendship is a constant, and we take it for granted. If I have ever taken you for granted, I’m sorry. You’ve been there through many romantic eras, even when I was ditching you for the emotional dinosaurs back in the early Jurassic. Thank you for your patience.
Romantic love is wonderful, it’s beautiful, it’s deserving of our attention. But so is platonic love, especially the kind that runs as deep as it often does between best friends. It’s sad that this holiday isn’t as readily used to show how much we love those whom we don’t kiss on the lips, with whom we don’t lie naked in bed. Let’s not forget there are other ways, and other reasons, to show how much we care.
Happy Valentine’s Day, you. Let’s do something special. May I suggest buying a box of chocolates, a bottle of red, and any movie even briefly featuring Armie Hammer?
I love you,