I’ve got to be honest.
I hate Valentine’s Day.
I, of course, hated it in college, when it was a popularity contest of who got called, who got flowers, who got asked out. It was never me. I was always the funny, slightly heavier, not-so-beautiful side-kick of the truly beautiful girl (I mean, did you see Kylie’s curls in college?)
So in my twenties, Valentine’s Day was a reminder that I wasn’t ‘all-that’. Then, after college, I met my husband, who miraculously, thought I was perfect. We’ve been married for almost 15 years.
I still am loathe to find a reason to love this day of love.
It feels made up (oh, wait, it is made up. Greeting Card companies decided to capitalize on the life of St. Valentine, mostly because St. Valentine was a proponent of marriage among military troops, defying Claudius II assumption that single men were better fighters). It feels like someone is manipulating my husband into spending money on me to prove his love to me. It is too often used to let couples off the hook, feeling like they’ve “done their part” by buying a card or flowers or a dinner-date, and so don’t have to do any actual or substantive work on their care for each other.
For the record, I know my husband hates it too. When we were first married, when I was still young and trying to recover from years of Valentine’s neglect, I think I guilted him into over-indulgence on Valentine’s Day. I not-so-subtly told him what I wanted, and he lovingly capitulated. It never felt genuine (imagine that!), and neither one of us felt more loved by the experience.
Now, Valentine’s goes largely un-celebrated here. The kids get a box of little chocolates for Valentine’s and a hand written note reminding them how much we love them.
But honestly, if the only love note I get is on Valentine’s Day, does it really mean that much? The love note I get on any random day in any random month that tells me I still make Don weak in the knees is vastly superior to a bunch of flowers or a box of candies delivered on a day that St. Valentine made famous by arguing with Claudius over marriage.
And while I’m glad to have the luxury of spending my Valentine’s Day with a man who makes me weak in the knees, I think I’d rather feel loved all the other days of the year, and leave this day to Claudius.