I’m going to be as careful as possible because, well, writing about this holiday can be as controversial as writing about religion, or politics, or Marmite. I will try and avoid as many clichés as I can, and I will only mention the word ‘consumerism’ once. This is not an anti-Valentine’s post, but it isn’t a pro-Valentine’s post either. It’s just, you know, my (unpopular) opinion.
I don’t hate Valentine’s Day. I don’t even dislike it. It’s one of those holidays I just don’t care about, sort of like Easter – I don’t necessarily see the point, but I’ll have the chocolate. I’m all for excuses to celebrate and have fun – it’s the sort of thing I love. That’s what birthdays are, isn’t it? There’s nothing actually good about getting older, but it’s an excuse to go out, have fun, treat yourself to your favourite food, catch up with friends you haven’t seen in a while and get presents. I also love Mother’s day, and Father’s day (still think a Daughter’s day would be a great addition to our calendar). So what bothers me about Valentine’s? I had one long train journey to figure it out.
It’s not the fact that it is a consumerist holidays, because what isn’t, nowadays? And I absolutely love Christmas, so I really don’t think I can comment on consumerism. It’s not the chocolate either. I’ll never complain about chocolate. I‘ve also told you that I like cheesy and corny. I gotta draw the line somewhere, though.
What I don’t like about Valentine’s is how forced it feels. I love the idea of dedicating a day to the people in your life you love. But heart-shaped balloons, candles, confetti and pink everywhere? Not so much. I like it when love is subtle. I love small gestures, I love warmth, just like I prefer a cup of tea to a glass of champagne. That’s why I hate flashy proposals, too (this would be my worst nightmare*).
But that’s just a matter of personal preference, like drinking tea or coffee. I don’t like coffee, but I’m perfectly ok with other people liking it. The same goes for Valentine’s. It may not be my cup of tea, but however you decide to celebrate your love, it’ll probably be sweet. I’m not going to tell you that confetti or cutesy cupcakes are too cheesy – I’m not Anthony Bourdain. If it’s an excuse to have a lovely time with your boyfriend, girlfriend, friend, family member of choice or cat, I’m not going to complain about it. Ever. Especially if you have lots of pizza and cheese and watch telly.
What I really hate, however, is what it does to people. Normal couples occasionally turn into smug couples. Single people can feel insecure and lonely. And Facebook becomes a battlefield. Valentine’s-lovers and Valentine’s-haters (sort of like Little-Endians and Big-Endians) tend to have pointless, heated exchanges on their walls. “Ha! In spite of all you, sour singles, I’m going to celebrate Valentine’s because it’s great and it’s not my fault if you’re sad and lonely”, or “Valentine’s is stupid and pointless, you’re going to break up anyway plus millions of people starve every day and I don’t like your face”**.
But it’s fine. I find that avoiding social media is the best solution. If you feel like throwing some chocolate my way, however, I won’t say no.
* This was one of the suggested videos on my YouTube homepage. Does this say more about YouTube or me?
** I am only slightly exaggerating.
PS: I promise I’m a romantic. I think. But then I hated The Notebook, so who knows…