I hate Valentine’s Day. I know — hating this holiday seems to have become a personality trait. It fits the grungy vibe that seems to be trendy nowadays. I wouldn’t say my hatred is that strong. I just hate the unrealistic expectations that some people have for this random day in the middle of February.
For myself, I know that no matter what my relationship status is, I should personally try to have low expectations for Valentine’s Day in order to keep myself from getting disappointed. I have watched too many movies, Instagram couples and young high-school couples celebrate the 14th in over-the-top fashion to think otherwise. I didn’t know that I needed to be showered in rose petals or have an expensive bottle of champagne chilling in the refrigerator to have a successful day, but that’s what movies like “The Notebook” condition you to want.
And before seeing all of the cheesy couples on TikTok, I would have been 100 percent fine with watching “The Italian Job” after going out for a nice pasta night, but especially after the rise of social media, I think Valentine’s Day has become less about loving the person in front of you and more about showing everyone else that you love them. The ideal Instagram feed has become square after square of “candid” couple pictures, and date nights are spent brainstorming how to best pose for a commemorative post.
I also think that Valentine’s Day can generally make single people feel a bit discouraged. How can you be so lucky that your significant other brings you flowers, takes you to a fancy dinner and brings you a meaningful gift to top it all off? Not to mention, how can these expectations be met by someone you actually enjoy spending time with, and who genuinely enjoys spending time with you?
To me — a cynic — they won’t be.
Yet, despite my cynicism, I do actually enjoy the notion of what this day should genuinely be about. I believe that Valentine’s Day should be spent appreciating everything about your significant other and vice versa — beyond mainstream superficial and materialistic gestures.
By “everything,” I’m talking about the special passions and interests unique to each individual. I think that even if the people you love don’t particularly care for the same passion themselves, you want them to at least appreciate how much you care for yours. Take this day to celebrate the people you love and focus on knowing more about what they enjoy.
And if that seems too vague to you, let me use my family and close friends as an example. They know that I love quoting movies, TV shows and obscure YouTube videos. They know that I love screaming Taylor Swift lyrics with the windows down and playing country music at the beach.
They just know that these interests are part of what makes me “me.” If you blast “Love Story” with me on a road trip or can keep up with the slew of movie quotes interjected into my vernacular, I can’t help but feel the love that emanates from these seemingly mundane moments. And that’s what the real point of Valentine’s Day should be — a day to really take in and appreciate the fact that someone wholly loves you for you, and that you wholly love them for them.
Maybe this article just proves that I’m a cheap date. Nevertheless, maybe you will relate to this and, if you haven’t already, take the pressure off of Valentine’s Day to be this perfect fairytale that some couples make it out to be. And I hope you will remember that even the simplest signals of appreciation can be the most meaningful, even without a shower of rose petals and chocolates in hand.
To wrap this critique up, though, I’ll end with this — if anyone understands what “F. I. N. E.” stands for, I am free this Sunday.
Lucie Drahozal is a Life Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.