Valentine's Day pink cupcakes
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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

If you hate Valentine’s Day, you’re doing it wrong.

That may seem like a bold statement, but it’s nothing compared to the vitriol that’s directed at this holiday. Every year I see Valentine’s Day attacked and slandered, but if people knew Valentine’s Day like I do, they wouldn’t say such mean things. My love for Valentine’s Day is pure and decidedly unromantic, and the time has come to stand up for it. Come on and drink the cupid Kool-Aid.

I’ve spent all of January nursing a hangover from December, dieting and downloading fitness apps. Now, when I think I can’t handle another kale salad, Valentine’s Day will sashay in with a bottle of prosecco and a plate of pink cupcakes, ready to finally kick the new year into high gear.

Unlike Christmas or Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day doesn’t burden me with a tight schedule of family obligations—it’s just about giggling and eating as much chocolate as possible. Valentine’s Day is sugar-coated and fizzy. It’s the pink marshmallow Peep of holidays. What’s not to love?

Since I was young, I’ve made Valentine’s Day cards for my family and friends. The task involves construction paper, Elmer’s glue, old fashion magazines and, since my 20s, quite a bit of wine. It’s childish and silly, but I look forward to collaging these dorky little gifts every year. And when I slide one under my roommate’s door, or hand one to my friend when we meet for coffee, their expressions are priceless. Whether I’ve chosen sweet, corny puns or covered the whole thing in boobs and penises, they’re always thrilled. Embarrassing your friends with hilariously lewd homemade cards is good, clean fun.

Sure, I’ve had some sweet Valentine’s Days with significant others, with gifts and plans and boot knockin’. But even if I’m not romantically attached when the middle of February rolls around, I still look forward to throwing on some red lipstick and putting those candy hearts that are 99.9 percent chalk into grammatically incorrect sonnets of love.  

Some argue that Valentine’s Day has been taken over by commercialism, and walking through a CVS in January, that certainly seems true. Yes, Americans can commodify anything. We’re really good at it. But people use this argument like they don’t have a choice in what to buy. The commercial onslaught is indeed troubling, but my advice is to turn off the TV, or TiVo through those ridiculous diamond commercials. Or better yet, create a drinking game with loved ones! Take a sip for every velvet box opened. Finish your drink if she gets a car!

We have so few genuine holidays, and it would be a shame to let cynicism win out again on this one. Based on the groans I hear from friends and coworkers when V-Day is brought up, I’d wager people have been pushing away from the romantic roots of this holiday for a while now. I know it’s cool to hate Valentine’s Day, but wouldn’t it be more rebellious to reinterpret the holiday so it’s useful to us? Let’s recycle Valentine’s Day, instead of throwing it the trash and waiting for the next new thing to come along. It’s more sustainable.

Hearing it called “Singles Awareness Day” makes me cringe, as if not being in a romantic partnership is something to overcome. Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate all forms of love.

I hear the naysayers: “We should celebrate love every day, not just one day a year.” Well, yeah, but the fact is we don’t. We’re way too busy and selfish most of the time. But is that any reason to neglect it on this day as well? Is saying “I love you” and “I appreciate and am thankful for you” less meaningful today because we didn’t say it yesterday and might forget to say it tomorrow?

Maybe rosy cocktails and lewd puns aren’t your jam. I’m not trying to tell anyone how to celebrate. I’m just suggesting that life is too short and full of dreary non-fun things to write off an opportunity to bask in love. If we’re not interested in planning a date with a love-ah or any of the above, maybe just take a few minutes of the day to love ourselves.

 

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Lily Stoicheff is a writer living in Santa Cruz, California, where she mostly spends her time exploring food culture and telling its stories. A fermentation and craft beer enthusiast, her house is overflowing with jars of things that look gross but she swears are delicious. She is the 2017 NEXTie Honoree for Best Writer and a 2017 CNPA Award Winner.

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