The Goose and Gander: Valentine’s Day

Is it necessary to celebrate with your significant other?

By Gabby Rente and John Linderman

Lifestyle Editor and Elm Staff Writer

Every Feb. 14 either brings romantic feelings or absolute dread to people. Store advertisements seem to shove Valentine’s Day cards in your face and the conversational heart candies really aren’t that good in the first place. Is it even necessary to celebrate the holiday if you are in a relationship? And how do you celebrate it if you are alone?

John says: Valentine’s Day celebrates the role of romantic love in our lives. That being said, it can be fun to celebrate with your S.O., whether it’s reflecting on how long you’ve been with each other, or just enjoying the day. Since romantic love presupposes being together though, it often has singles to feeling incredibly left out.

What if you find yourself alone on Valentine’s? You can honestly treat it like every other holiday; enjoy time with friends and treat yourself. Consider how hard it is to fully love someone else without loving and accepting yourself first.

On the opposite end, don’t feel obligated to have the archetypical romantic date with your SO on Valentine’s if it doesn’t come naturally. To this, however, have an honest conversation about the role of romance in your lives, because it plays differently for most couples. Everyone values romance differently.

On the topic of romance, the Gander needs to say this: it’s incredibly prized in our culture, and held on a pedestal too high for most people. Think of all the songs, movies, and shows that depict romantic love as the final goal or truth to the protagonist. In some stories, it’s what the protagonist works so hard to achieve, but in reality, humans aren’t a means to an end. Romance is a creative way of showing our affection, but moderate its role in your life, because there are many more, meaningful ways to show commitment and love to your partner. An over-reliance on romance may lead to many let down expectations, or shows of affections that go mute to our S.O.

In essence, don’t treat every day like Valentine’s Day, and you may get more out of your time actually celebrating it.

Gabby says: Valentine’s Day, contrary to popular belief, was not a holiday created by Hallmark as a ruse to get people to buy more greeting cards. It’s been celebrated since the days of the Roman Empire when a guy with the same name became a martyr for acting out against an emperor. Some historians also believe that the feast day of St. Valentine’s was placed in the middle of February in an attempt to christianize the Roman celebration of Lupercalia, a fertility festival, and that is why we buy sugar cookies in the shape of hearts every Feb. 14.

Sort of.

Valentine’s Day has increasingly become more of a consumer-based holiday rather than a day of appreciating your loved ones. Today, people exchange flowers and chocolates to their significant others as a way of saying “Hey, I love you” without actually saying it. With all the stores advertising heart-shaped boxes of chocolates and overpriced rose bouquets, it can feel a bit fake to just mindlessly buy something because society says love looks like that.

Depending on you and your S.O., you don’t have to celebrate Valentine’s Day because the consumer’s market tells you to; if you treat your S.O. special no matter the day of the year, then Cupid’s big day shouldn’t be a big deal. If you want to opt out of chocolates and heart-shaped cards, then go ahead and just spend time with your partner on the couch.

Now what if you aren’t in a budding relationship? Please do not feel like you have to run out and find the next available person. You can’t force a relationship to happen just because the calendar says so. Instead, go out to dinner with your friends and celebrate your love for each other. Call your parents and tell them that you haven’t forgotten about them. More importantly, use the day to practice some self-love. Dance in front of the mirror. Treat yourself to something sweet. Love comes in all different forms. 

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