There are many reasons to dislike Valentines Day. It glorifies being in a relationship over being happy and single, the price of chocolate rises simply because it is heart shaped, and many claim it is a holiday invented by Hallmark to sell more cards and fill that annoying gap between Christmas and Easter. Even for those who are coupled up, it encourages them to spend money they may not necessarily have on gifts, uncomfortable underwear, and fancy dates that their partner may not necessarily want and undermines the things they do everyday to show their partner affection. However, despite all this – and this may be the ingrained consumerism and heteronormativity talking – I am still a big advocate for its celebration.
Now, I’m not arguing for the big fluffy bears, dangerous amounts of candles near bed linen and red hearts made out of every substance in existence version of Valentines Day. I’m just arguing for the idea of taking time out of your life to show your partner that you love them. Of course, in a relationship there are hundreds of things we do each day that in some way express love. Also, of course, we don’t need a specific reason or a specific day to take time out and show someone, genuinely, how much you care about them. However, in the ever faster, ever busier lives we lead, what’s the harm in having a reminder?
couples now may exchange hundreds of messages a day without actually taking a moment to compose something meaningful
In this time and at our age, being almost constantly contactable is not only possible, it is pretty much a requirement. This means couples now may exchange hundreds of messages a day, being in continual conversation, without actually taking a moment to compose something meaningful. In the days of letters, individuals could take hours if not days to compose their heartfelt expressions of love to their partner, without the partner checking their mailbox every few minutes and being unreasonably aggravated by a lack of response.
The pressure of needing to reply outweighs the desire to say something genuine, and we lose the act of actually putting into words why it is we care about the people around us. This applies to all relationships, and I am a strong advocate of doing this with friends as well, but given that society has taught us that our romantic relationships should be the most important in our lives, other than those we have with our children, I’ll focus on that for now.
When we put this increasing pace of life into the context of the university bubble, Valentines Day becomes even more necessary. In Exeter, pretty much everything is within a twenty minute walk, and few students have the money or the time during daylight hours to regularly go out on dates. Because of this, the ease of staying in at one person’s house and watching Netflix on your parents’ account often outweighs the desire to actually go out and do something special. When added to social commitments, societies and other engagements that often require giving up an evening and spending money, it is easy on the days off from the struggle of being a social butterfly to just stay in rather than yet again forcing yourself to stay in regular clothes, as opposed to pyjamas, later than eight o’clock. Obviously, spending time together is wonderful wherever it occurs (within reason), and not wanting to spend money is a incredibly valid, but having a reason to organise something special can be no bad thing.
I refuse to condemn a day that forces one to appreciate those who often get taken for granted
Valentines Day doesn’t have to be expensive. It doesn’t necessarily have to cost anything. In spite of its consumerist nature, the concept itself does not require money. Although, along with 95% of the student population, I want to save money wherever possible and do Marx proud by condemning capitalism and the consumerist exploitation that it creates, I refuse to condemn a day that forces one to appreciate those who often get taken for granted.
Also, without Valentines Day, the film named after it would not exist, and we would not have had documentation of Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner’s relationship on film, which we can all agree was one of cinema’s greatest gifts to humankind of the Twenty-First Century. If this is not reason enough for you to love Valentines Day, you are dead inside and I refuse to argue with you.