As a day meant to celebrate love and adoration for significant others, it’s become almost cool to hate Valentine’s Day. “Anti-Valentine’s Day” trends have emerged, from parties to cards to an Anti-Valentine’s playlist on Spotify with over 50,000 followers and counting. Ariana Grande recently got an Anti-Valentine’s manicure, Hooters will give you a free plate of wings for shredding a photo of your ex and a group of men protested this week against Valentine’s Day in Tokyo, Japan. So, where is all this hate coming from?
There are a few reasons I’ve noticed as to why people dislike the holiday, and they’re all pretty silly. These three convictions seem to be the basis for Valentine’s Day hate: here’s why I can’t agree with them.
Firstly, and perhaps the most nonsensical, comes this overly optimistic critique of Valentine’s Day, which I hear too often: why have a holiday celebrating something we should be doing every day? Coming from someone who forgets why she walked into a room half the time — yeah, it’d be a miracle if I remembered to show my loved ones how important they are to me every single day. The pink highlighter heart around February 14 on my calendar serves as a nudge in the right direction. It’s a day where modern symbols of love, in the form of heart-shaped pizzas and festive Snapchat Filters, can be easily accessed and given to someone who may need reminding.
Second: people believe Valentine’s Day is a consumerist holiday created by retailers hoping our pockets have been replenished after the Christmas season. Admittedly, this one isn’t altogether wrong. The tradition of surprising your significant other with gifts or going out to dinner certainly makes Valentine’s Day expensive, although there are several restaurants offering discounts for the holiday. However, no one said Valentine’s Day is about expensive gifts or lavish dates. It’s just about love. Remembering the true nature of the holiday might make some couples more inclined to happily celebrate, rather than quiver under the weight of high, pricey expectations. Thoughtful gifts are usually more appreciated than expensive ones, anyway, so it isn’t necessary to buy giant diamonds or chocolate strawberries. Telling your significant other how much you appreciate them should be gift enough.
The last reason most people seem to hate Valentine’s Day is simply that it sucks to be single. Okay, okay, I understand an initial sense of bitterness for past loves gone awry, but rather than wallowing in the throes of heartache, why can’t people look at Valentine’s Day as a beacon of hope? Stop looking at honeymoon-phasing couples with jealousy and uncalled for rage. People being happy in relationships is something to celebrate! I can’t imagine what’s not to like about a day celebrating love. Does it really bring people sorrow to see teddy bears holding I Love You pillows or sales on heart-shaped candy? I think single people (like myself) should choose to be optimistic and bask in the sense of possibility.
That’s what I appreciate most about Valentine’s Day. It’s a day that makes it feel like the whole world is in love. Symbols of adoration are everywhere: store windows, commercials, social media. Rather than choosing to feel jealous or sad, I allow the holiday to fill me with hope for future love and happiness for those around me in happy, loving relationships. It’s an excuse to celebrate romantic love.
From Mother’s and Father’s Days to Thanksgiving to birthdays, there are numerous holidays celebrating things we should appreciate every day. So, why is Valentine’s Day under fire? Sure, commercials and culture should transition from emphasizing gender stereotypes and Cupid is a bit of an odd mascot, but in truth, the holiday is harmless even if you don’t have a valentine. Take a group of single friends out for dinner. Flowers are on sale — buy yourself some.
The reasons for hating Valentine’s Day are flimsy and easily rejectable. The reasons to love it are simple: it celebrates love and gives you an excuse to shower your significant other in affection. What’s the harm in that?