Yes, it’s that time of year again. Grocery store displays become bombarded with red roses, pink packaged candies make their way into every checkout line and things become heart-shaped that definitely shouldn’t be. Now, I know, it’s not a unique take on the infamous holiday – but I believe we can all relate to somehow simultaneous feelings of fondness and disgust when the 14th of February creeps up from the depths of mid-winter.
No matter how hard I might try, I won’t forget one of my first memories of V-day. It was 4th grade, and an otherwise gray and dreary Wednesday morning filled my stomach with excitement as I skipped through the classroom to my desk. Fuchsia garland and cheap balloons hung from the ceiling while red M & M’s scattered the linoleum as my eager classmates scoured their gift bags – mine would have to wait. Suddenly I saw it: a little pink card resting on my desk. I held my breath, hoping to see my crush’s name (of going on three weeks now) scrawled in crayon with a heart. Instead, two scribbles barely made out the words: “ur cool.”
A gift from that special someone is always appreciated and yet, it is impossible not to question the intent behind every box of chocolates received. Godiva or Russel Stover? A dozen roses or abnormally pink carnations? My personal favorite: a hastily scratched-off price sticker or better yet, the $3.99 staring right back at you. Either way, most of the time it just feels good to be thought of, even if that thought appeared suddenly at the CVS self-checkout.
But can we really blame ourselves for getting our hopes up? Every rom-com and teenage heartthrob flick showcases the love interest showing up at their doorstep, dressed in a suit with flowers in hand, reading a poem of some sort. This unfortunately taught me my first of a few hard romantic lessons learned: looks and good grammar rarely go hand in hand. I have yet to have my own When Harry Met Sally or Dirty Dancing moment but nonetheless, my standards are still on par, and my inbox is open if anyone has a cousin who knows how to salsa.
In an effort to combat the forsaken holiday, the rise of “Galentine’s Day” and “Palentine’s Day” have asserted that love does not always equal romance. Spending the night with friends, disregarding the stereotypical dinner date at an overpriced restaurant, is a guaranteed good time – no half-hearted fight over the check or small talk necessary. It also serves as a much-needed reminder: sweethearts may come and go, but friendship remains, ready to wipe away tears and then buy a carton of eggs from the grocery store.
This year, I hope we can all (myself included) remember the true meaning of Valentine’s Day; doing what makes you happy with who makes you happy. And suppose you start to feel those feelings of resentment building after witnessing some uncalled-for PDA. In that case, you have my full permission to remind them that Saint Valentine also happens to be the patron of epilepsy and beekeepers – now that’s a turn-on.
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