This Valentines day seemed to spark a lot of interest. By this, I don’t mean the happy smiling couples (see left) and their overtly flamboyant messages of love to each other that were inevitably plastered all over social media sites. I mean I read an awful lot of negative blogs, articles, statuses and tweets about the day – and those that weren’t openly disparaging of it, were subtly condemning it, labelling it as ‘any other day’.
The thing is, it WAS any other day. It was a friday – and where I was, it wasn’t a particularly pleasant friday, with gale force winds and torrential rain storms – but my point is, it was a friday, just like any other friday. Lessons were finishing for the week, people were driving home for the weekend, families were hunkering down with a movie. Just any normal day.
Except people used the day as an excuse to shout their love from the rooftops or stuff it in an anonymous envelope, cheeks blushing. People wrote statuses and tweets and blogs about that special someone. Couples went for meals, to dinner, or watched a film with a shared bag of sticky popcorn. For some, it was the first night in weeks that both managed to put aside for each other; conversations were caught up on, and people were reminded where their love for each other sprung from so many moons ago.
Which is why I want to respond to all those people out there pointing out that it was just another day.
Because so what if it was?
Moaning about the fact that it is a constructed holiday for profit, that it has no real roots in heritage or history, is meaningless – true, but meaningless. Whining that there are sickening messages all over your facebook homepage – selfish. Scorning those people foolish enough to buy into the holiday and suggest that they shouldn’t have to have a day set aside for love – well, no they shouldn’t. But equally they shouldn’t have to hide away from it because others don’t like being a part of it.
Negativity over Valentines Day is like complaining that its not your birthday instead of someone else’s. Your time will come, and when it does, you can choose to spend it how you please, but until then, be respectful of others and their choices. We have days put aside for mothers and fathers, days put aside for chocolate and presents. Surely a day put aside for love is the most universal of all of these?
The way I see it, Valentines Day doesn’t have to be about the sexy kind of love, or the soul mate kind. If – as so many note – it is a socially constructed holiday, then make of it what you want; do with it what you want to do. I know someone who renamed it PALentines Day. They bought heart shaped pizzas and watched movies with a group of friends. A couple I know doesn’t enjoy Valentines, in fact they go out of their way to avoid it – but it didn’t stop them celebrating each other by watching a horror movie and going to a bar.
There is always so much campaigning for peace, sharing, and for love in this world – and on the one day everyone makes an effort to promote these very things, it only fuels the flame for the criticism that every day is a day for love.
And I hear you – some people go overboard. Some people sicken even me. I would be HORRIFIED if my boyfriend went to the lengths of some of the guys and gals out there. But that’s not my decision to make. That’s their day; mine was mine.
I spent it with the man I love – the man I plan to love forever. We put aside our friday and made time for each other in the exact way that fits us.
Isn’t that what love is all about any way? Does one little day really need to offend so many people?
For just one day, I ask that we put opinion and prejudice and jealousy and bitterness to one side…and just be glad it’s a day to celebrate love and not hatred.
I love Love. THAT’S what my Valentines was about.
What was yours?