One of the ways people like to prove that they are deep and trendy is by disparaging holidays like Valentine’s Day. It’s gotten to such a point that on Friday one of my wife’s students walked up to her and said, “Happy Greedy Corporate Conspiracy Day!” Now, when even the 13-year-olds have taken it up, I think it’s high time we adults get over ourselves and officially call the hating of Valentine’s Day a cliché. Take it down from the Pedestal of Holiday Irony and place it on the shelf next to the Christmas Fruit Cake and the Green Beer on St. Patrick’s Day.
But what about those Greedy Corporations out to cover the Earth in a layer of candies and greeting cards? First of all, Valentine merchandise wouldn’t exist if no one bought it. While I admit the price of roses skyrockets this time of year, there is no “Hallmark tax” that everyone must pay every February 14th. And what if some of us do want to spend some money on Valentine’s Day? Am I cheapening my relationship just because I want my wife to eat food better than what I can cook? People seem to think that it’s hypocritical that we choose to express an immaterial emotion through material goods. Well, I say that a gift is only hypocritical if it symbolizes love that isn’t there. If the love exists, there is no need to limit our expression to make it authentic. Cards, candies, flowers and jewelry aren’t obligations, they’re options!
Now some of you might say, James, who are you to talk? Why do you need a day out of the year to express your love to that beautiful wife of yours when you can tell her you love her everyday? And why do we need a holiday to remind us that w-w-we’re s-s-single? As a former member of the perpetually single, I sympathize. Really, I do. But if the many number of Valentine’s days I’ve spent alone have taught me anything, it’s that the only thing scarier than being single is attempting to make yourself not single. Expressing romantic love, or expressing any interest in another person at all takes bravery and daring. No one wants to be told they are unworthy of love. When you send that card or those roses you risk being told exactly that. The response could change your life for better or worse, and there is no in between. Fortunately, there is one day out of the year that you can use as a kick in the pants and say what you have to say. It doesn’t matter if you took help from a florist that gave you a discount, or from the simple passage of time. Once you’ve taken that step, you’ve proven to yourself and the world that you are worthy.