There are tons of reasons to celebrate Feb. 14—it’s a Friday, it’s a week before Mardi Gras, it’s my birthday—but Valentine’s Day shouldn’t qualify as one.
Valentine’s Day is hailed as a celebration of love, but it’s an overly pressurized day full of unrealistic expectations followed by crushing disappointments, all masked by the cloying scent of wilting roses and overpriced chocolate.
Whether you’re a kindergartner passing out paper valentines or a college student heading out for an expensive dinner, Valentine’s Day is a heavily commercialized, and frankly tacky, holiday. Stores nearly explode every February with red hearts, floating cupids and giant teddy bears which somehow cost over $50.
The simple task of grocery shopping dragged out by unnecessary trips to the holiday aisle to decide whether or not that box of chocolates is worth it (spoiler alert: it’s not).
Despite roughly one third of the candies in any given box of chocolates being nearly inedible (looking at you, orange creams), the tradition is the least exasperating of all the Valentine’s Day customs people are engaging in this week.
Candy is candy. it’s good no matter the season, but the lavish candlelit dinners boasting heavy entrees, rich desserts and the inevitable surprise of gaudy heart-shaped jewelry are enough to take anybody out of the mood. It’s hard to think about ethereal, abstract things like love when you’re falling into a food coma or pretending to like a piece of jewelry you will probably never wear again.
Couples shouldn’t need a special holiday full of expensive meals and elaborate gifts to express their love. If you’re in a committed relationship, you should be showing love and support to your partner every day of the year, Feb. 14 or not.
While it’s nice to get a little romantic reminder, love doesn’t have to be about the sweeping gestures. Love doesn’t need to be a chubby baby flying around and shooting people with arrows. It doesn’t need to be formal clothes and Michelin star restaurants.
I love love, but I can’t get behind the commercialized, fake version of it touted by Valentine’s Day. Love can’t be forced no matter how long you take getting ready or how much you spend on your date, so why waste so much time and energy trying to create the perfect night? When all is said and done, Friday will be just like any other day whether you participate in Valentine’s Day activities or not.
As fun as it can be to get swept up in romantic ideals and whimsical fantasies, reality almost always breaks back through as soon as the bill comes and the glaring impracticality of spending exorbitant sums for the sake of an arbitrary holiday finally hits home. Save your bank account the heartbreak and curb your expectations for this weekend.
Marie Plunkett is a 20-year-old classical studies junior from New Orleans.