I think it's pretty apparent to anyone who knows me or has been a consistent reader of my blog that I am a hopeless romantic. I LOVE love. I love cheesy chick flicks, flowers, love letters, and the whole notion of soul mates. There is nothing I look forward to more than finding someone who is "my other half" and taking on the world together.
That being said, I don't like Valentine's Day. Not really, anyway. Out of the last 10 Valentine's Days I've had a Valentine for 7 of them. Not bad. Certainly not anything that would make me complain about the day or harbor resentment. If anything, my Valentine's Days in the past have been filled with love and adoration. Huge bouquets, delicious chocolate, and the occasional sparkly present. No, I have no bitterness towards the day.
What I don't like about Valentine's Day is that it is so contrived. I don't like the concept of doing something because you feel you're supposed to, and I don't think over the top gestures are accurate depictions of the heart. I've always been of the mindset that flowers are great, but give them on a random Tuesday, not a holiday or birthday. If you want me to feel special, make it on a random day, not a day that tells you you're supposed to. Also, going out for dinner is a process. You can't get a reservation, the prices are too high, the menu is limited, and there is this underlying pressure to make it perfect and meaningful, therefore ruining the evening. I'd much rather have a home cooked meal (or take out, I guess) and watch a movie and talk. We can go out to dinner another night. In fact, it'll mean more if you plan dinner on a different night because it'll show you put thought into it not just because it's Valentine's Day.
As hopelessly romantic as I am, I don't value material things as much as I value thoughtfulness. If someone displays thought and consideration, just because, it goes miles beyond doing something showy. I've had guys plan the most "romantic" nights...walking along the beach at night, only to "find" a set up of roses, romantic music, chocolate and a necklace. That was beautiful. That guy cheated on me. A lot. Worth it? I don't think so. I'd much prefer the small thoughtful gestures, that show that you know me, are listening when I speak, and that you care. My stuffed rhino, Emily Dickinson poetry, HP set, and Berlin mug are all unconventional, little (except for HP set) gifts but meant the world to me because they were indications of consideration. Nothing sexier than that.
I also dislike Valentine's Day because it allows people to feel bad about themselves for no apparent reason. Just because you are unattached on this one day is no reason to feel miserable, yet people do. My boyfriend of four years and I only spent one Valentine's Day together on account of his job which (conveniently) required him to be out of state on this day. This meant that we couldn't be physically together but didn't change that I had someone who loved me, and he displayed it EVERY DAY, and on Valentine's Day he made sure I was showered with cards, flowers and chocolate. I really don't care about Valentine's Day, and I knew I shouldn't feel depressed and lonely but somehow I couldn't help it. As I sat alone in my apartment while all of my friends were on dates and my boyfriend was in New Orleans or Phoenix or wherever he was, I found myself feeling utterly miserable for "being alone." Even though I wasn't. Even though there were many nights I was alone in my apartment and never thought twice about it. Even though the man I was with had a way of making me feel loved and special and cherished 365 days a year. Valentine's just had that effect on me. And it does others as well.
I guess the bottom line for me is that there shouldn't be a day that marks being in love with someone. And if you insist that there should be, then make it private, like say, an anniversary. But love should not but something that is expressed on a single day but shown daily. Love isn't contrived, it's real, and it's honest and expressing it should come from within, not from a date circled on the calendar.