15 February 2013

Anti-Valentine's day manifesto

I hate Valentine’s’ Day.

There, I said it. And no, I’m not single, so it’s not just bitterness towards all the happy couples that are snuggling to the sound of cute love songs while surrounded by rose petals and candlelight.

Before you judge me, take a breath and hear me out. I am a big fan of romance; I do believe in true love; I love pampering and being pampered by my loved one. So why the hate towards a holiday that celebrates love? It’s forced and fake. Fake. Fake. FAKE!!!

I never managed to understand the point of a holiday that forces you to buy candy, teddy bears, and flowers, present them to your significant other and expect the same in return. Aside from all the shopping-caused stress, there’s also the “you’re dead if you didn’t get me anything” factor. Yeah, way to go humanity! Let’s force our partners into buying us gifts, not because we deserve it or they want to make us feel special, but because they have to, else they’re killjoys, cynics, or inconsiderate.

Then there’s the obligatory dinner and/or movie, the bubble bath, the fancy wine. “But, Vivid Illusion, all of those are very nice and romantic things to do for someone you love.” Yes, reader, you are very right. IF YOU DO THEM BECAUSE YOU WANT TO. There’s nothing romantic about having to book a restaurant table weeks in advance, or rushing to be the first one to grab a day off from their boss so they can try their hardest to make everything perfect. It’s like the whole Christmas [link towards Christmas post here] disaster all over again: even if you had anything to be happy about on this day, you might be too exhausted from trying to make it perfect to actually enjoy it.

But what kills me most of all about Valentine’s Day is the principle of celebrating love. On a particular day. The same day that everyone else does it. Love isn’t something that should be commercialized like this. Love is the reason we’re alive (well, most of us, but I don’t think it’s safe going too much intro that). If mommy and daddy didn’t love each other, most of the people reading this blog wouldn’t be here. Love is what keeps us alive, when our moms hold us in their arms and simply know that they would give their own lives to keep us safe. Love is what makes us work harder, when our significant other is unwell and we know we can provide for them. Love is something special, that we should surround ourselves in, every single day, not something we should celebrate on an arbitrary date (yes, not arbitrary, I know. Just forcing a point). The love between you and your partner is not the same with the love between that couple holding hands on the street. It’s completely different from the love between that girl that’s crying on the phone in a café and her boyfriend that’s miles away on a business trip. No two love stories will ever be identical, same as no two couples will love in the same way. Then why take something so intimate and demean it by turning it into a product? How does anyone dare measure their love by how big the heart balloon they gave to their partner is?

You want to celebrate love and happiness? Do you really want to make your significant other feel happy and cherished? Then feel free to celebrate Valentine’s Day however you see fit; but remember to show your love every day besides that. Buy them that occasional box of chocolates, take the time to hold their hand and take a walk through the park. Make silly, funny, cute gestures every chance you get, and tell them that you love them as often as you feel the need to. Because that’s what love is: beauty, warmth, happiness.

At the request of Immah, I'm also going to point out another brilliant aspect of Valentine's Day and of "proofs of love" in general. What is up with all the candy, balloons and stuffed animals?! Aside from the obvious ridiculed of the celebration itself, the choice of gifts is just flabbergasting. You stuff your loved one full of chocolate (look at the bright side: you might get them fat enough and they might not leave you because they'll be insecure); you give them stuffed animals that, in all likelihood, will just end up pilling up dust on some forgotten shelf somewhere; you give them balloons which, like your commercially-induced euphoria, will deflate after a couple of days; if you're really serious about things, you might even get them jewelry, because your love might not be forever, but diamonds are.

 All in all, I have to amend my previous statement: Valentine's Day is not sufficiently stupid on its own; Valentine's Day along with the overrated "symbols of love" you can find at any cornershop, however, make the image complete.

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