In Defence Of Valentines Day

This article was first published by Catalyst Magazine online, on February 13 2014

Summary: As a hopeless romantic, I stand in defence of Valentines Day against those who believe it’s nothing more than a “capitalist venture”.

Valentines Day

In Defence of Valentines Day

Is Valentine’s Day “just a capitalist venture”? Not according to Brittany.

I’m a hopeless romantic. I live for romance novels, believe in love at first sight and swear by rom-coms as a medicinal cure to any problem. So it’s probably no surprise that 14 February is a day I actually look forward to.

My first experience with Valentine’s Day was when I was seven, and decided to play a prank on my dad by sending him a card from Susan, his “secret admirer” from school. I was filled with glee as I watched Dad open it, convinced I’d pulled it off. And I almost did—until he informed me there had been no Susans at his all boys’ school.

Four years later, Valentine’s Day meant the beginning of a beautiful relationship. We’d never met before but with the exchange of a handwritten poem and a box of chocolates, it became official—we were dating. We were 11. It lasted a week.

So, what about this year? Yes, I’m in a great relationship, but that doesn’t mean I’m one of those smug, married couples who goes on about how Valentine’s Day “really isn’t that bad” and then goes home to a candlelit dinner complete with champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. In fact, I won’t be receiving as much as a card. Why? My boyfriend doesn’t “believe” in Valentine’s Day.

Yep.

The hopeless romantic has found herself a Valentine’s scrooge. When I asked him why, he said matter-of-factly, “It’s just a capitalist venture. Why does there have to be one designated day to celebrate love  – why not any other day when roses don’t cost $100 per bloody petal?”

And I guess, to some extent he has a point. But he’s also missing the point—the real point of the day. Love. Which is why I’m here, standing in defence of Valentine’s Day.

It’s not a day about expensive gifts or overpriced dinners. It shouldn’t be a competition about who can spend the most, find the biggest bouquet of roses or win the most brownie points with their partner. I know the nicest thing anyone could give me on Valentine’s Day would be as simple as a letter—a piece of paper telling me how they feel.  It’s about love—whether that’s romantic, platonic, old or new.

And why is a day designated to celebrate love such a bad thing? There are days set aside for lesser things. Yes, it’s true people should feel loved every single day, but sometimes people need encouragement. Valentine’s Day might compel people to ask out the person they’ve perhaps been admiring from afar and to remind their family and friends that, despite busy schedules or the hum drum of the everyday routine, they love and care for them.

So whatever your plans this Friday night—whether it’s a romantic dinner, a quiet night in front of the TV, a single girls’ night out or even a horror movie marathon, have a happy Valentine’s Day. (And if you’re really still against the whole thing, take pleasure in the fact that it’s another year until you’ll have to deal with it again.)

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