A major theme of some posts of mine – see here, here, here – is how our conception of love changes because we grow up. Now it is not clear exactly how that concept changes and deepens, and we can argue until the end of time about that. But I think it is to be wondered that the same sort of person you might have been “omg s/he’s perfect” at 16 is not the same person you’d be chasing at 35.
So it is precisely the tackiness of Valentine’s Day that’s at issue. Being alone on Valentine’s Day used to affect me, years ago – all those public displays of affection on campus were overdone, sure, but it looked like people had each other. Hah. Anyone who knows anything about relationships in college knows what all the smooching and big red hearts really meant. I feel now that for some (obviously, not all, not even many) Valentine’s Day is a bit of a game: “I have someone so I’m normal and my life is together.” For even fewer “haha I have someone you don’t” is the underlying sentiment. None of the very public forum posts and facebook announcements and IM away messages saying (before today) “give me date ideas” or (today) “valentine’s day I’m so lucky!” are dissuading me from this opinion.
And again, my complaint with Valentine’s Day is fairly straightforward: it’s empowering this minority, the one that can’t see what love and crafting a life together mean independent of swooning a lot. It’s emphasizing only everything outward as love, and is screaming that something is wrong with being alone.
I think being alone is a problem for me, I’ll be the first to admit that. But I also think there are times in one’s life when one isn’t ready for a relationship, or one has to get other issues in order, and it isn’t like someone is “behind the curve.” The more maturity you can bring to a relationship, the better, no? Valentine’s Day as currently constituted seems to emphasize the absolute worst in how we approach things, and again, one really tacky day wouldn’t be a problem if it weren’t for the fact that this seems to be representative of a larger trend.
To all the couples out there who are having a good time: please continue, nobody wishes you badly here. I don’t mind the tackiness one day out of the year. The more serious issue is still on the table, and we can address it later.