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Holiday Heart-To-Heart

Why I Hate to Love Valentine's Day

I love Valentine's Day. It's embarrassing for me to admit it, but I love those little candy hearts, those teddy bears holding roses that you find in the drug store, those cheesy diamond commercials that become inescapable—and cause me to tear up a little—the weeks preceding February 14th. Yes, the smart, supposedly "liberated" woman I am succumbs to complete sappiness when faced with these artificial (not to mention cliché) tokens of romance.

As far as I'm concerned, there are few things less cool than being a woman who loves Valentine's Day. But, because I care far too much about what other people think of me, over the years I've pretended to hate the holiday, as if it were that worm-eating boy on the playground I didn't want other kids to know I had a crush on.

Like other presumably enlightened women, I declared that celebrating Valentine's Day wasn't a big deal. I told myself, and my various significant others over the years, that I could care less. It seemed more sophisticated to just forget the whole thing, as if my ability to renounce Valentine's Day signified I was more mature, more of an adult. That I was capable of having “realistic expectations.”

To spare myself disappointment, I trashed the day I was supposed to let a guy show his true feelings for me, because, really, I was too scared that maybe he didn't actually have any. (Better to hedge my bets and tell him upfront how much I hate Valentine's Day so he'd know not to do anything, right?) There was nothing worse than hoping for something and being let down. Especially since people will inevitably ask what your boyfriend/the guy-in-your-life-who-could-be-your-boyfriend-but-you-aren't-really-sure did for you. Better to say, "We decided not to celebrate," than be faced with the potential alternative of, "Nothing."

I labeled the day as a commercialized commoditization of love and romance, one that only served to allow couples to congratulate themselves and singles to feel crappy. A yearly ritual that encouraged women to create high romantic expectations and men to feel obligated—no, coerced—to meet them.

Lies. All lies. ...Read More

The truth is I don't need any encouragement when it comes to having high romantic expectations. But instead of owning up to my wants and needs (doing so only scares men away, as many an advice book warns), I've spent some February 14ths patiently waiting for an elaborate romantic gesture, despite the fact that I'd openly renounced such demonstrations. (Crafty, eh?)

This led me to single-handedly devouring a one pound box of soft-center See's Candies, sent to me by my Mom, one Valentine's Day while I waited for the guy I was kinda-sorta dating (sleeping with) at the time to—at the very least—send me a text of acknowledgement. Another I spent at the beach feeling sorry for myself until a man (who smelled suspiciously of urine) approached me, serenaded me with “Let's Get it On,” then questioned me as to why I thought that MC Hammer wouldn't return his calls. (Somehow, this wasn't quite the display of love for which I'd secretly longed.)

By trying to protect the cool-girl façade I'd constructed, and pretending Valentine's Day didn't matter, I forced myself to miss out on the saccharine celebration I so craved.

In the end, I let my nature take its course. Valentine's Day is special to me. Does that make me a total dork? Probably. Was I embarrassed to tell my boyfriend this before we spent our first one together? Obviously. Was he at all surprised that I felt this way? Not in the least. He planned something lovely. (And continues to do so.) I realized that, when someone really loves you, he wants to make you happy. Even if what makes you happy is celebrating a totally cheesy holiday.

I have total respect for those who truly don't like Valentine's Day, especially for the women who, unlike me, weren't born with the innate trait that attracts them to greeting cards adorned with glittery hearts and chocolates dressed in red wrapping. For better or for worse, however, I'm that girl who will gladly hum along with the refrain “Every Kiss Begins with Kay.”

  • Hearts and flowers and chocolates, oh my!

Holiday Heart-To-Heart
Why I Hate to Love Valentine's Day
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