Why Wait to Celebrate Love?


Valentine’s Day is redundant; couples already celebrate on other days. (Courtesy of Flickr)

I’ve always considered myself a romantic. I enjoy chocolate. I appreciate a nice dinner. I like flowers. And yet, despite all that, I think Valentine’s Day is one of the most terrible holidays on the entire calendar.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with celebrating romantic love for a partner — but isn’t that what anniversaries are for? Most couples already have a day when they can celebrate their connection with a significant other and express their love with gifts and special plans. Best of all, an anniversary is unique to each relationship. Why would you want to celebrate something as unique as the bond between you and your partner on the same day as everyone else? It’s as if, besides individual birthdays, there was also one day that was just a general birthday for everyone. What would be the point? And for all those who want to celebrate their love multiple times a year, that’s great. Why not celebrate your half-year anniversary as well? Or pick a random day? Why celebrate with everyone else?

The redundancy isn’t the only problem. For many, Valentine’s Day is miserable. Single people are, once again, reminded of their status, as if there’s something wrong with being single. And for most of the population in relationships, Valentine’s Day is just another reason to stress. Not only is there pressure to come up with the perfect gift and night out, but there is competition against every other person in the country to come up with it as well.

The real beneficiaries of this holiday are all the companies that use Feb. 14 as an excuse to jack up their prices, such as flower shops, candy stores and the like.

The real tragedy of Valentine’s Day is that these corporations have pressured people into paying their exorbitant fees, or risk being judged by society at large. Often times, the motivating force for gift-giving on Valentine’s Day is not from a true desire to demonstrate love, but from a sense of social pressure.

Why do we need a holiday to celebrate romantic love, anyway? Society pays enough attention to romantic love as it is, as shown by our perpetual obsession with celebrity relationships, rom-coms and love songs. In a world where people are making efforts to destigmatize being single, Valentine’s Day seems to provide an excuse to judge those who choose not to be in relationships, as if they’re doing something wrong.

It is true that in the past few years, we have seen a movement to focus more on the important platonic relationships in our lives — holidays such as “Galentine’s Day,” which is focused on friendships rather than romantic love embody this. While this movement has been trending in the right direction, the main focus of Valentine’s Day is still clearly romance, rather than any platonic affection. If we were to change Valentine’s Day to focus purely on platonic love, it would be less problematic. However, since such a holiday would make corporations less money, it’s unlikely this will happen anytime soon.

So, dear reader, I have two pieces of advice for you. First, when Valentine’s Day rolls around again next year, focus on showing love to those who you may neglect to remind them of your affection. Give your parents a call. Hug your roommate. Tell your friends how much you love and appreciate them.

Second, if you are in a romantic relationship, don’t conform with the rest of society and wait until Feb. 14 to show them how much you care. Surprise them on a random day with some candy and flowers. Slip a note under their door telling them how wonderful they are. Life is too short, and love too precious, to wait to make a big deal out of it only one day a year.

Michael Sluck, FCRH ’24, is a political science and computer science major from Verona, N.J.