Serena Sekhon hates Valentine’s day. Here’s why.
‘I’d rather be alone than spend it with a fuckboy’ – anonymous.
I absolutely cannot wrap my head around the reason people go mad over Valentine’s Day. It just doesn’t make sense. As far as I’m concerned, unless February 14th happens to be a birthday or an anniversary, you should not be acknowledging it as anything special. I don’t understand why this random day has been imposed on me as a holiday to celebrate – it has no relation to my life. Why are people obsessed with it?
I understand that it originated as a religious feast day, but the level of commercial manipulation here far surpasses that of Christmas and Easter – I personally would be very surprised to hear of anyone, in the UK at least, who genuinely celebrates Valentine’s Day religiously. It seems as though it has been drummed into us that it is a day for chocolates, roses and meals out. This thinly veiled capitalist spin on things rather detracts from any semblance of real romance.
In the course of my three-year relationship, I haven’t celebrated Valentine’s Day once
In the course of my three-year relationship, I haven’t celebrated Valentine’s Day once. Wait, what’s that? That’s right, I’m not writing this as a bitter singleton. I’m not sure how common it is to be in a relationship and not even acknowledge the day: the majority of my friends exchange at least cards, or maybe have a relaxed meal together. There have been Valentine’s Days where my boyfriend and I haven’t even been in the same part of the country.
This is because I just don’t see why we should be treating it like a special day. Our anniversary and his birthday are in December, and my birthday is in July. I’d far rather put lots of effort and thought into these personal celebrations that mean something to me, than follow the commercial instructions and go for a meal on February 14th surrounded by other couples. I can’t imagine anything more awkward. It just feels forced.
Besides, wouldn’t you rather receive flowers or be treated to a meal out as a surprise, or a celebration for a good grade or work promotion, or just because? It definitely feels more special when you know you’re not being treated solely because society expects you to be.In this social media age, Valentine’s Day also seems like an excuse for couples to plaster their relationship all over their online profiles. As well as being downright nauseating, the influx of smug Instagram photos of flower bouquets and Facebook check-ins at fancy restaurants has the knock-on effect of making those without dates feel excluded and lonely.
‘Galentine’s day’, empowering as its intentions may be, encapsulates the alienating nature of Valentine’s Day for those who are single. There wouldn’t need to be a girl power backlash if the day wasn’t designed to guilt those who aren’t with someone. Of course, there are people who don’t care. I have single friends who aren’t fazed by Valentine’s Day fever. But if they were in a relationship, they say when I ask them, they would definitely celebrate it. This is just proof of the way in which we’re not-so-subtly pressured to treat it as a special day, with specific red displays filling the shops – from Sainsbury’s to Victoria’s Secret – from the end of January.
So once again this year, I won’t be celebrating Valentine’s Day. Maybe I’ll see my partner for a quick lunch between lectures, like I do on other normal days. Or maybe I won’t see him at all. But there is one advantage: on February 15th, we might just get together to eat our body weight in discounted chocolate.
Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Get in touch!