Yes, I’m the lone millennial with a boyfriend who despises Valentine’s Day just as much as your typical wine-o, cat loving lady. We all know the reasons why V-day sucks, specifically following 5th grade when you no longer have class parties and community distribution of cards and candy. But, I’m going to push the envelope on why people, my generation specifically, hates celebrating the infamous day of love.
I don’t think it has anything to do with the big business manipulation or the commercialization and exploitation of a seemingly useless holiday. No, instead, I think us generation Y’ers dislike the holiday because of the expectations we associate with it. We know that your girlfriend is going to frame the perfect Insta picture of your stupid Walmart teddy bear and processed chocolate. We know that you’re going to be tagging your partner in a mushy, sentimental Facebook tribute, because there’s really not another platform more important that Facebook.
We know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that your stupid Snapchat story will be over 40 seconds of your wonderful life, filled with dollar store balloons, dying flowers, and cheap jewelry. Why? Because it’s the National Day of Expectations.
I can remember in high school being so dead-set on my idea of what a perfect Valentine’s Day was. I got my fair share of flowers, candy, and stuffed animals, so I wasn’t “bitter” about my experiences. However, I would say that pressure from society fueled my gift-getting, as well as my gift-giving. I didn’t want to spend my hard earned tanning salon dollars on a bottle of cologne or a jumbo size container of cheese balls (I had a boyfriend who loved those damned things). I didn’t do it because I was so enamored by someone or because my love for them was so overflowing, I did it because society told me that it’s what is expected. And I also know that they didn’t want to spend their hard earned Arby’s dollars on my stupid daisies and zirconium jewelry, either.
If the expectation portion of this holiday isn’t made apparent enough by the isles dedicated to Valentine’s garb and cutsey decorations everywhere, then it’s certainly made apparent on social media come February 14th. The expectation to show off your useless, meaningless gift to the world of social media goons, that don’t actually care, takes over. The expectation to RECEIVE something from your significant other, only because society fuels your hope. The expectation to be the best girlfriend/boyfriend compared to your friends, because if anyone knows how to exploit love, it’s you!
All jokes and cynicism aside, my generation is swarmed by social media expectations daily. These expectations, though they are ridiculous, have taken over a holiday that used to celebrate love, and replaced it with a holiday that expects some sort of reward/gift for showing love. Why on Earth doesn’t anyone deserve something for being kind, loving, and thoughtful the other 364 days a year? Instead, we romanticize the idea that we are actually celebrating love, and not falling victim to economic bullying. We want to fool ourselves into thinking this lovely, celebratory day will remind others of the joy they bring into our lives. We don’t want to recognize that we’ve forgotten the true meaning of gratitude and replaced it with expectations.
So, all in all, my generation hates Valentine’s Day and it’s our own doing. I have a wonderful, loving boyfriend who also hates Valentine’s Day, but mostly because he’s highly cynical, so we won’t be celebrating this year. Instead, we want to spend the day celebrating each other, not our love. We didn’t have to work to fall in love, it just happened, and I don’t need a gift to validate it, either. But, what we do have to work at is making sure the other feels important, 365 days a year. I challenge you to replace the societal expectations of Valentine’s Day with your own holiday this year. Create a day that no one else has the luxury of sharing besides you and your partner. Let’s stop hating the holiday we actually loved in grade school, and remember the most important lesson Valentine’s Day can give us: the candy will be SO cheap on February 15th! Now THAT is something you deserve.