I’ve always been an accommodating girlfriend.
Whenever my boyfriends have professed their disdain for Valentine’s Day — a common complaint, really — that it’s an overly commercialized holiday that guilts guys into spending hundreds of dollars on flowers, candies and candlelit dinners, I’d have to agree. (Believe it or not, the total spending that will be reached by Valentine’s Day in the U.S. is $18.6 billion.)
I clearly remember one boyfriend awhile back who said, “Why do I need to be forced to do something special for you on Valentine’s Day when there are 364 other days of the year when I love you?”
At the time, I was totally onboard.
He was right. Why allow big businesses — department stores, restaurants, florists — to mandate men throwing entire paychecks at overpriced gifts and dinners? Why let Corporate America dictate how someone shows his love and affection? And, like he said to me, why wait until Feb. 14 to show me he cares?
Well, I believed it until I realized something: I wasn’t getting all that love and affection those other 364 days of the year. He didn’t take me to nice dinners or buy me flowers.
And I wasn’t getting anything on Valentine’s Day, either.
I was effectively getting screwed.
So I changed my attitude toward the holiday.
I love Valentine’s Day — and for all the reasons I’m told (and sold) to.
I love that it’s one day out of the year people show their love for each other, whether in a sweet handmade greeting card or a lavish couple’s weekend on Kauai. Why not make the time — c’mon, it’s just one day! — to do something nice for another person? Is it really that hard?
Look, I was single for years, too, and I know how awful it can be to see happy couples posting photos of their romantic dinners and diamond pendants on Facebook — while you’re home alone with two dogs and a bag of Doritos. I’ve been there, too, and hated the annual love fest as much as the next single girl.
But Valentine’s Day is about love — not necessarily romantic love. Stats show that one out of five roses bought around Valentine’s Day was for the buyer’s mom. (Cue the aaaawww.) And there have been many years I’ve met up with single friends and celebrated our friendship, which is jam-packed full of love, too.
After a few years, my boyfriend at the time compromised with me. We celebrated Valentine’s Day on Feb. 13 instead. (He claimed he didn’t want to fight crowds at restaurants on the actual night. I admitted that was a good plan.)
He realized I had a point: what’s wrong with celebrating the love you have for each other one day out of the year? Is that such a bad thing?