I love Valentine’s Day — I’m just going to come right out and say it. Keep in mind that I am a deeply cynical commitment-phobe who is perpetually single by choice due to a crushing fear of relationships. Yet, Valentine's Day is my second-favorite holiday after Christmas. Every year, I look forward to the strange happiness that comes from the red and pink aisles of Walgreens, lined with candy hearts, long-stem roses and tiny stuffed bears with cheesy pickup lines embroidered on a heart.
Perhaps I am a closeted sap, or maybe I have perused the romantic comedy section of Netflix a few too many times. Whatever the reason, Valentine’s Day is the one day a year when I can believe in the possibility of love.
I realize many other singles don’t share my holiday sentiment. With plenty of anti-Valentine’s Day rhetoric, it’s easy to hate the idea of a day dedicated to commercialized romance.
It’s no secret that Valentine’s Day is a holiday created to benefit candy companies. Many criticize the holiday because it feels like a marketing ploy to get us all to spend money on overpriced gifts in the name of the one thing we can’t say no to — love.
During my angsty teenage years, I definitely shared this anti-Valentine’s Day sentiment, especially in high school when I thought the pinnacle of romance rested on the back of “Twilight” and other terrible young adult novels.
Now, I realize two things. The first being that love — in any form, even when heavily commercialized — is beautiful. The second is that “Twilight” was a terrible series.
Just because a person isn’t in a relationship, it doesn’t mean they can’t be happy for the blissful experiences of their coupled-up peers. Witnessing couples express their love for each other is oddly comforting from a distance, and non-romantic gestures of love tend to bring out the collective sense that maybe we all aren’t so alone in this world.
The secret to singles surviving Valentine’s Day is to bite the bullet and admit there is a part of everyone that wants to believe in love, even if that love comes in the form of a stuffed bear given to a 15-year-old’s girlfriend during math class.
As a thwarted romantic-turned-cynic, I have found that love, in all forms, exists like the shallow cracks found in a well-traveled sidewalk. We idly rush past these cracks every single day but only care enough to pay attention when one is deep enough to cause us to trip.
Perhaps, that’s why so many of us hate the concept of romance — we have tripped far too often.
We can see, feel and express love in a myriad of ways independent of cuffed coupledom. Utilize Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to tell your parents you love them, buy your grandma some chocolate, maybe even give a rose to the barista that makes your morning cup of coffee. There are many ways for singles to enjoy Valentine’s Day without subjecting themselves to a lonely hearts club of cheesy rom-coms and cheap Barefoot wine.
For one shining moment, Valentine’s Day gives all us bitter singles the opportunity to believe in the hope of love. It might not be with a romantic partner, and it may only last a day, but the potency of love remains just as strong.