I, Brigid Black, have never celebrated Valentine’s Day.
Actually, I suppose that’s not exactly true. Back in first grade, Valentine’s Day felt like hitting the jackpot – simply showing up to school automatically meant receiving an endless array of valentines from all of my classmates.
My 7-year-old self rejoiced upon collecting those tiny paper cards that featured Winnie the Pooh asking me “Honey, will you bee mine?”
I was especially elated when I found a red heart-shaped lollipop taped to the back.
But alas, the sweetly innocent Valentine’s Days of my childhood were not what I was referring to in my first sentence.
Instead, what I really mean is that I have never experienced Valentine’s Day as the full-blown, all-out, sap-filled occasion that has been turned into a mushy lovefest by couples everywhere.
Ever since I was 13, I couldn’t help but envy all of the pairs of people around me on Valentine’s Day who smugly celebrated the fact that they had managed to find someone else in the universe to be with, reminding me of my own stereotypically emo existence as a single teenage girl.
For years, I was jealous (and brooding). That is, until now.
It’s true – Cupid has been quite good to me this year. For the first time I find myself not lonely and moping on Valentine’s Day but in an actual relationship. And truthfully, I’d be crazy if I didn’t mention that I’m happy and grateful to be in it.
However, I find myself stuck in somewhat of a dilemma – a pink, lacey, frilly dilemma.
From the perspective of someone who is very much used to living the single life, I don’t have a clue about how to even approach Valentine’s Day now. It’s totally foreign territory.
What the heck do I make of this holiday? Do we exchange gifts? Go to dinner and a movie? Should I expect candy? Should I be buying the candy? Is sexy lingerie a necessary component? My head is spinning. I know I’m not alone; I’m sure that there are more of you out there in the position that I’m in. I need answers.
And so, out of nerd-like curiosity, I hoped a quick Google search on St. Valentine himself would point me in the right direction.
Yet according to Wikipedia, “Of St. Valentine … nothing is known except his name and that he was buried at the Via Flaminia north of Rome on 14 February.” Who knew?
How ironic, then, that we make such a big deal out of a holiday for a man we know close to nothing about.
Somewhere along the line, hearts and angels crept their way into the picture, and the feast of St. Valentine became all about love.
But is it really? From what I’ve observed, Valentine’s Day is like one giant sugar rush. It seems like a deliciously great idea in theory, but before you know it, it turns into a huge headache.
V-Day is just far too gaudy and overwhelming – picture those long lines in Hallmark stores and the jam-packed restaurants on Feb. 14.
What V-Day really needs is a massive minimization. It should be broken down into its component parts – the simpler, the better.
If the crux of the holiday is supposed to be love, then why not just choose something that you would normally do in order to enjoy time spent with the one(s) you love?
Why the need for extravagant purchases, activities and events? Just because I am now in a relationship doesn’t mean that I need to become caught up in the frenzy that is Feb. 14.
While I refuse to let the feast of St. Valentine be wildly different than most other days, at the same time I’ll try my best to make it a day worthwhile. The frills and jewelry are superfluous, but the love is certainly not.
However, I’ll still hold fast to two key practices: I will consume far more chocolate than the advisable amount, and I will eagerly await the fuzzy stuffed animal from my mom in my campus mailbox.
There are just some Valentine’s Day traditions that I can’t get rid of.
Brigid Black is a junior English and French major from Brooklyn, N.Y. She can be reached at [email protected]