Valentine’s Day should be optional

Valentine’s Day should be optional. It can be costly, gaudy and pretty overwhelming for a single day. Illustration by Sarah Chantres/The Daily Campus

Whether you’re single or taken, Valentine’s Day can be a huge pain in the neck for everyone involved. It’s costly, gaudy and pretty overwhelming, especially for a single day. While I’m not the Valentine’s Day Grinch, it’s a rather annoying holiday that doesn’t see much benefit for people outside of relationships. I’ve been single and taken on Valentine’s and my opinion remains the same: I’ve had enough.

Let’s get cynical for a quick second. What’s the main purpose of Valentine’s Day? Your natural response may be “Well, it’s a holiday to celebrate love, romance and intimate moments with partners.” While that’s what Valentine’s Day is usually marketed as, those are things you should do on other days as well. Valentine’s Day lures us into the belief that we should only go all out for just one day of the year.

Red roses, boxes of chocolates and fancy dinner dates are all in the name of commercialism. But if you chose to do those things the day after Valentine’s, what difference would it make? Chances are unless you have a pretty fickle partner, they would still appreciate it. Romance doesn’t need to be exclusive to Valentine’s when it can be every day if you really wanted it to. Showing affection and support to your partner shouldn’t require a special day on a calendar, it should be something that happens regularly throughout the year.

Valentine’s Day capitalizes off of FOMO by hiking up prices on items that are usually affordable. Maybe you get your partner flowers once a month close to your anniversary date, but because it’s February, everything’s overpriced and out of stock. Those same chocolates you loved to eat on the couch while you watched movies together? Good luck getting a hold of them for a reasonable price. Valentine’s Day is commercially predatory and places immense pressure on partners to do something out of fear of feeling inadequate.

Even if you don’t have a partner and Valentine’s Day means nothing to you, you still feel the effects of it. Valentine’s culture dictates that we all post our significant others on social media to prove to the world that we’re in a relationship. For those who spend Valentine’s Day alone, this can be a pretty miserable experience when everyone looks like they’re having more fun than you. Even the idea of being opposed to Valentine’s is seen as something “only lonely people do” when really, it’s an argument brought on by both sides. 

Valentine’s Day can be stressful, emotional and expensive. There’s an unfair obligation placed on relationships that every Valentine’s occasion needs to be bigger and better than the last — and that can be daunting. For those in and outside of relationships, it can be a struggle to suffer through the non-stop torrent of rom-coms, PDA and booked-out restaurants. While some are hopeless romantics, for the rest of us it’s just another day. It’s time we stop looking at Valentine’s as the be-all and end-all of relationship experiences and start treating it as optional. 

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