Polarising opinion…I don’t like Valentine’s day; and contrary to popular belief it has nothing to do with my relationship status. Granted, I have spent many V days as a single woman but I also spent a few while coupled up or in “situationships” and my mind never changed about it.
It’s not that I have an issue with the holiday in itself but more with what has become of it. Like with many other holidays today, we are losing the history and meaning behind it for a more materialistic approach, Christmas anyone?
The origins of Valentine’s day are a bit murky but many believe that before Christianity reclaimed it, the Roman used to celebrate Lupercalia around February 14th. Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Remus and Romulus.
The day wasn’t associated with love until the Middle Ages. During that time in France and England, it was commonly believed that the middle of February was the beginning of birds mating season. This is where the idea that this period should be associated with romance came from.
The common practice in the old days was to write a love note or letter to your person. I don’t mind this practice, that’s actually something I do find quite endearing but we’re so far removed from it nowadays.
The one thing that also disturbs me quite a lot, although I feel like it’s slowly starting to change, is the pressure it puts on both men and women. Terms like “Galentines” day are now being used, emphasizing the fact that this day is no longer for coupled up people only and that singlehood is nothing to be ashamed of. I guess it’s a nice thing, but I still feel like we’re trying too hard, and that it ultimately defeats the purpose for me.
I don’t know how things work in same sex relationships, but in heterosexual ones there’s usually a lot of pressure on men to do the “right” thing. I have had conversations with my male friends about this day, and for some of them, February 14th is a day they dread a little.
I personally say that unless February 14th has a specific meaning for both parties involved, we shouldn’t care. If mine or their birthday is on that date then sure, we’re celebrating. If our anniversary is on that date, that’s yet another reason to celebrate… although I will probably arbitrarily pick the day before or after as our official anniversary date.
From a woman’s perspective I also feel like the way we celebrate Valentine’s day today does not help with setting up healthy and realistic expectations. I remember conversations with some of my girlfriends about Valentine’s day, and things that their partner didn’t do right were a common conversation topic. I know for a fact that some would have just lost it, if all they got was a love note. Some would even evaluate the strength of the whole relationship based on how that day went.
If you’re familiar with Gary Chapman’s “5 love languages” book you know that not everyone expects the same kind of “proof” of love nor expresses it the same way. According to him the 5 languages are: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time and Physical Touch.
My love language is quality time, so offering me things – while it’s nice – doesn’t really do much for me; but time meaningfully spent together means the world to me. Plus if we take flowers for example, I don’t get them. They are pretty and everything but they really don’t resonate with me…if anything, give me chocolates, at least I will really feel some kind of enjoyment while eating them.
We’re all unique and resonate with things differently so although I am really not a fan of Valentine’s day, as I believe it is now a little overrated, I still hope you had a fantastic celebration of love no matter what your relationship status is.