We are trudging deep in the drifts of wet February snow and a sea of red hearts. This can only mean one thing: The holiday that companies have been advertising for since the day after Christmas is upon us.
Yes, it’s almost Valentine’s Day, and about time.
It seems like most people I’ve encountered are either completely psyched for this weekend or bitterly announcing chocolate and Netflix as their only dates this Saturday. There’s rarely a soul that fills the tremendous grey area between these two extremes, and I blame it on our sex-driven culture.
Whether you will or won’t be getting intimate with your partner this Valentine’s Day, it is still a holiday that has been centered around romantic, physical love since the time of Chaucer—roughly the late 1300s. While there’s nothing strange today in telling any friend, family member, etc. that you love them, the focus is still centered on the couple.
There is nothing inherently offensive or oppressive about this idea. The trouble comes in when the sex-driven culture is setting romantic relationships on a pedestal of an ideal state of being. The idea that if you are single, you are not just single: you’re “waiting” or “in between” relationships. A person is no longer identified generally for themselves but by their lack of a partner. When this turns into dating, committed or married couples feeling guilty about enjoying Valentine’s day as an excuse to go out—or stay in—with their partner, we have a problem.
This is not to say that all singles and all couples feel the same way. But most people do tend to fit into the binary of idolizing or rejecting the holiday as a whole.
While I do feel that some individuals in our general college age group in either party do tend to pass more judgment on the people of the opposite side of the spectrum than is their due, the root of the problem has been firmly planted and perpetuated by culture. However, we do, as a society, consume so much that it’s often difficult to tell where we end and culture begins. This makes it hard to erase the stigma of Valentine’s Day.
We can make that day count just as much as any other day. If you have someone, go out and be with that person. You deserve this time set aside for you and your relationship. If you have this time for yourself, don’t treat it as a loss. You don’t deserve to be thought of as being in a state that is less than ideal.