The Hallmark Holiday: A Defensive Case for Valentine’s Day

“It’s a Hallmark holiday”.

“It’s so American”.

“It’s an example of our capitalist overlords entering the sacred space of the couple’s bedroom”.

Is it really that time of year again?

Valentine’s Day. A day of love for some and loathe for others. A division that is alleged to truly separate the hopeless romantics from the indifferent-and-happily coupled up and the single Sally’s and Samuel’s that might even be celebrating the alternate Galentine’s Day (or, Bro-lentine’s day? Somewhere that must be thing).

It’s time we stopped annually begrudging the day of love and give Valentine’s Day the TLC it deserves.

It seems likely our parents’ generation certainly embraced the day with open arms (have you noticed a lot of your friends are born in October/November? You do the baby math).

So, what has brought us to the point at which we are now? Is it the general increase in cynicism across society, or are we simply sick of being told to feel bad about being single?

Sorry, make that ‘self-coupled’, in the words of Emma Watson.

But really, who doesn’t love a reason to spoil your significant other more decadently than usual? For you, that might mean a burrito while watching Seinfeld re-runs on the sofa. For others, it might mean a five-course meal and an extended weekend of leisure on the French Riviera.

Yes, with retailers’ excessive hijacking of the day through ridiculously marketed Valentine’s Day sales – the commercialism of it all can zap the sweetness from the day’s purpose. But then again, maybe we need to celebrate Valentine’s Day now more than ever.

At the risk of sounding like someone aged 40+, romance and courtship just isn’t what it used to be anymore. It is easier than ever to find dates or fellow single people thanks to your thumb and its ability to swipe right on a dating app. But, doesn’t it feel just a tiny bit lonely spending your night swiping?

And, the conversations often thrive for one night and you proceed to never speak again. It can be a vast, vast black hole of desperation where only the like of can be found in the annals of Tinder, Bumble and, newcomer Hinge.

While there are many success stories from those who have utilised this means of finding their potential love, it’s easy to admit it takes some of the pizzazz out of the ‘how-we-met’ story many couples past had nailed to a T.

What was once a unique tale of two individuals coming together as one can now be boiled down to a simple ‘we both swiped right.’

Retelling the story can become a well-oiled cog in the couple handbook, much like Lily and Marshall Ericson from How I Met Your Mother. Although, ending up in a successful dating app coupling-up based on them opening with “have you ever been told you look like Adrien Brody” is a success story now included on this writer’s resume.

And it is true, the day can suck and be an abomination of over-hyped expectations. You can have a boyfriend who openly says he ‘hates Valentine’s Day’ and when you buy him something, his response is ‘oh great, now I have to get you something’ and he never does.

But then, you could have a sweetheart who –  like most days – spoils you, admires you and makes you feel like a piece of delicate art hanging in the Louvre even though you’ve likely woken up for work in a baggy t-shirt and have exacerbated bed hair.

Valentine’s Day is what you make it. At its crux, it’s here to celebrate the love and affection you have for your person and an additional incentive to reflect on all the wonderful moments you have shared.

Secretly, who doesn’t wake up whilst in a relationship on February 14 hoping for something, just one little thing, that says “you’re great” or “I am so happy you are mine” or, the big one, “I love you.” You’d have to be made of stone to escape the flurry.

Image by Rachael Sharman

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