So shoot me. I do. I love it, and not just because I’m currently in a happy relationship, which guarantees that someone is required by law to present me with chocolate on an otherwise innocuous Tuesday. I was single as a cat-engulfed Carrie Bradshaw last year at this time, and I still loved the holiday. I liked getting a card with a crisp-ass ten dollar bill from my grandmother (shots are on mémère tonight, guys!), I liked baking some cookies for friends and coworkers, I liked getting myself some discount chocolate boxes the day after. It’s pleasant to be surrounded by heart-shaped reminders to tell each other we love each other, that we are important in each other’s lives.
Perhaps the people that get so upset about Valentine’s Day are the ones who think it can only apply to a romantic partner past the age of 10, when you are forced to give a card to everyone you’ve ever come in contact with at school. If you build it up as some once-yearly survey to decide whether or not you are worthy of being loved, then yeah, it’s probably pretty depressing. But if you can stock up on cheesy cards and hearts with sayings on them, giving them out to friends and family because, hey, they are actually deserving of your affection as well — it’s actually a rather pleasant day.
And I am aware that it is an EeeEevil CooOoOrporate HooOoliday created by the Hallmark company to suck our souls out through our wallets, but so what? All holidays start somewhere, and atheists can still enjoy the Christmas season. Cadbury Eggs taste just as delicious on Easter without understanding how a bunny that incubates externally is somehow connected to Jesus rising. We can still break out the Doctor Girlfriend costume on Halloween, regardless of whether we actually feel a stronger tie to All Saint’s Day. Let’s be honest, our birthdays aren’t exactly the most hallowed event of the year, but we still celebrate them to their fullest (if we so choose). Why deny ourselves a chance to draw hearts with arrows through them and eat prix fixe meals for two at restaurants that are otherwise outrageously expensive? A holiday’s a holiday, just enjoy it for what it is.
At this point, nothing is more cliche — or more roundly depressing — than hearing the walking, talking Cathy comics trudge through the 14th talking about how much they hate Valentine’s Day. Yeah, we get it, you remember how single you are. Yeah, enjoying the love of other people in your life is just not the same, and offering your aunt a heart-shaped box of chocolate body paint would probably offer the wrong message. We get it. But does talking about how much you hate it really make you feel any better? Why can’t you take the day of love as an opportunity to simply appreciate the love you do have — send your grandmother a VDay card back, call your mom just to wish her a happy holiday and thank her for helping you with the cards for class when you were little, or take your friend out for dinner to remind them that we can still treat each other to nice, considerate, loving things — even if we don’t expect to get laid at the end of it.
Valentine’s Day is exactly what we want it to be. If we want it to be a shameful, chocolate-smeared day of self-pity and envy, it can be. If we want it to be a day that represents love and treating each other — and ourselves — to something a little special, it can be. There’s no reason to hold to some ridiculous notion of obligation to be in a happy romantic relationship to enjoy things. After all, it’s just an arbitrary day chosen to sell greeting cards, right?