In my early teens, when I would dream about how magical my first kiss would be (it’s ALWAYS awkward!) and how I’d fall in love with the one and we’d live happily ever after, days leading up to Valentine’s Day would be secretly wishing you’d get roses, chocolates or even a candy gram from a secret admirer.
Fast forward to my early twenties, I had come out of a serious relationship, did the Valentine’s Day stuff and was single and fabulous. I had recently graduated from a top Canadian business school, scored a job at a world renowned asset management firm and had equally successful friends who wanted to shop, travel, eat well and had no intention of settling down. I was loving single life and even if the right guy was staring me right in the face, I simply didn’t want to be tied down. Despite all this faboulosness, somehow, Valentine’s Day had a way of making me feel completely alone and crappy about being single. I’d see men carrying bouquets of flowers and boxes of chocolates. I couldn’t open any of my social media without being bombarded with gushy posts and cliché red and white everything and suddenly, you’re secretly taken back to your early teen years hoping that you’ll get a surprise bouquet of roses delivered to the office from your secret admirer. Luckily, the next day everything resets and I could go back to being fabulous again. Well now that many provinces in Canada have made Valentine’s Day a long weekend event, you may have to wait a weekend to reset – sorry!
So why do I hate Valentine’s Day? Besides the egregiously priced roses, heart shaped chocolates and fuzzy teddy bears that are just going to collect dust – it’s simply put, a useless holiday. I begin with saying that I am in fact happily married and this isn’t coming from a miserable place, however from a rational woman who realizes how Valentine’s Day has an evil way of projecting societal expectations of love as falsefully created by movies. Let me tell you, love DOES exist, but not like in the movies.
My first year of marriage, my husband really wanted to do something for Valentine’s Day, but I insisted on ordering Chinese food and watching a Lost marathon. The sweetheart he is, he refused and kept coming up with ideas. I told him early on in our relationship that I don’t like the cliché stuff for Valentine’s Day, buy me flowers the next day when they go on sale and take me to a fancy restaurant on a regular day when the service isn’t garbage. So he knew conventional ideas were out, until he proposed the best idea – drive over to Buffalo and go to the Gun Range, book a hotel and share a 12 pack of Rolling Rock (second favourite beer ever). This was by far my favourite Valentine’s Day yet and I think back to it with such fond memories. I’ve always wanted to try shooting a gun, love beer and most importantly, I got to share a cool experience with the person I love. Also, bonus fact – chances of the gun range being busy on Valentine’s Day is incredibly low!
Supporters of Valentine’s Day will tell you it’s a day to show the person you love how much you love them. I say, it’s a day of love and not necessarily between two people. Why can’t it be about loving the most important person in your life – yourself – cause aint nobody gonna love you until you learn to love yourself first.
My point is, we know it’s a garbage holiday manufactured by corporations to play on humans’ ingrained need of companionship, yet we still get caught in the trap. So, on this Valentine’s Day, I challenge you all this.
For the couples:
I often find that we lead such busy lifestyles, where from Monday to Friday, by the time you’re done work, eat dinner and shower, all you want to do is plop infront of the TV and unwind. Although your partner is next to you, you’re likely not engaged with eachother. This year, use Valentine’s Day to spend quality time – or just down time to unwind and have a good conversation. Engage with eachother instead of engaging in the clichés of the holiday.
For the single people:
Take the time to love and pamper yourself – spoil yourself with a deserving Valentine’s Day gift, spa day or do something new and different to broaden your horizons. And for goodness sake – DO NOT MAKE THE MISTAKE OF WATCHING THE NOTEBOOK. Even Ryan Gosling’s love life isn’t The Notebook – Eva Mendes doesn’t believe in marriage (on the plus side, he’s still unmarried)!
On that note, I leave you with this: