Why I don’t hate Valentine’s Day

Amy Durazo

If cynicism were a sport, I’d be a professional.

“I’m not a pessimist, I’m a realist,” I tell my roommates when they yell at me for making gagging noises during “The Notebook.”

So I don’t enjoy your average romantic comedy, I don’t understand couples who hold hands in the mall and I hate cuddling when I want to go to sleep.

But I still enjoy celebrating Valentine’s Day.

While I’m not the most lovey-dovey person in the world, I’d much rather suck it up and celebrate a holiday dedicated to PDA than be “that girl.” You know, “that girl,” the one who feels a void in her life if she is single. The clingy, insecure, high maintenance whiner who hates to see happy people struck by Cupid’s arrow.

The one who wears black on Feb. 14 and, for one day of the year, steals my cynical spotlight.

I’ll admit I used to be like that during middle school. Of course, back then we were defined by our relationships, or lack thereof.

I had my first real Valentine when I was 15. He gave me chocolates and a kiss on the cheek. And then a punch on the arm.

He was my best friend.

Prior to that I believed that Valentines were reserved for crushes and receiving one meant someone liked you. I was programmed to think that V-Day was reserved for those who were in love with each other that particular month.

What had happened to the days when we were required to give Barbie or Spiderman cards to everyone in our class so no one would feel left out? Back then we never questioned our feelings for the smelly kid or the nose picker. We were more concerned with how many candy hearts we could stuff in our mouths at one time rather than who we were sharing the L-word with.

We wouldn’t have dared to give a special, frilly Valentine to the one we liked the most. Instead, everyone we cared about got the same heartfelt expression.

Today it’s just the opposite. Why would we give Valentines to someone we wouldn’t get to make out with later?

After receiving my share of flowers and stuffed animals from boys who were more than just friends, I began to appreciate Valentine’s Day for what it really is: a holiday that makes it easier to tell people that you care about them when the words might sound weird on any other day. It’s a time to appreciate everyone you love, not just the ones who give you butterflies.

And why not? Do we not love our friends? And for that matter, our families? It may not be passionate, groundbreaking love, but at least its pure and real.

I’m no longer cynical enough to think the only person worth exchanging Valentines with is the one I might one day exchange vows with. I’ll certainly never be naive enough to pretend that if a boyfriend doesn’t love me, then no one else does either.

But for those of you who need some help remembering, here are a few people who might deserve a hug on the big day and perhaps a construction paper heart with a doily on it:

– Any and all people who hold a place in your heart: the ones you can laugh with about nothing; the ones you brought home to show your life outside of Villanova; the ones who knows your favorite song, least favorite food and dumbest thing you’ve ever done.

-The neighbor willing to have “Sex and the City” or video game marathons when your roommate sexiles you for the weekend.

-The professor who allows late work and has a lenient attendance policy and makes hour and fifteen minute lectures as painless as possible.

-The Starbucks employee who fixes your daily lattes and gives you extra caramel when you ask for it.

-The guy at UNIT who fixed your computer and saved your pictures, music and most importantly, your term papers.

-Your family. Mom, who always sends a card, Dad, who barely remembers what day it is but calls to say “I love you” anyway and your siblings, who love you despite the hair pulling and wrestling matches that may have occurred in the past.

It’s just like that guy says in that movie I hate: “If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.”

But if you tell anyone I said that, I’ll kill you.