By Jules Chan, Second Year, Law
It is seven-thirty on February the fourteenth, you glance at the corner of your computer screen, waiting for the call to come through. Anticipation permeates the air, and you nervously adjust the angle of your laptop webcam.
Then it rings. You pick up. A slight pause. Then a stutter. The video doesn’t quite sync up with the audio and ‘I’ve missed you’ is promptly replaced with ‘I can’t hear you’.
One thing is for certain: it’s a break from the usual routine of chocolate and roses. This year, whether you’ll be spending Valentine’s Day separated by glass panels and technical issues, or in a lockdown bubble with your date, a small part of me suspects that 2021 might have the potential to be the most authentic Valentine’s yet.
Don’t get me wrong, the temptation to embrace the consumeristic side of Valentine’s day is still alive and well. Walk to any supermarket, and you’ll still be greeted by shelves of the usual Valentine’s Day kitsch: cheap cards with dirty jokes that fail to be funny, and heart shaped chocolates that will clog up your heart, indispersed amongst a sea of teddy bears.
Yet, with restaurants only offering takeout, shops and cinemas closed, and many of us separated from each other with no way to exchange gifts, many of the superficial and materialistic trappings of the clichéd date plans are also temporarily off-bounds.
The circumstances bring liberation from expectation and (in the worst of cases) disappointment of Valentine’s Day, instead, opening the doors to the sincerity and simplicity of communication between couples.
A radical rethinking of the traditional heteronormative Valentine’s Day is underway
To some, the trouble of Valentine’s Day isn’t worth the hassle this particular year - an unsurprising conclusion given its longstanding position as a “sort-of, but not really” holiday. The decision to ignore the festivity this year is a bittersweet one, that nonetheless offers couples the opportunity for an honest conversation.
However, for those of us making the choice to follow through and make something of the day, the prevailing theme of communication also fosters understanding and acceptance.
This is because this year could present a shift away from the gender roles that confine men and women to the sometimes toxic portrayals of ‘grand romantic gestures’ which might be uncomfortable for some. More importantly however, this year dispels the fundamentally flawed concept that a romantic night has to end in sex.
This year’s limitations have certainly forced me to re-evaluate the usual Valentine’s Day options. This re-evaluation has been for the better as it has made me realise that although there’s nothing wrong with a booking at a fancy restaurant, it’s never really as important as who is sitting opposite you.
As I talk to my friends about their plans it becomes obvious that under the circumstances of lockdown, a radical rethinking of the traditional heteronormative Valentine’s Day is underway.
Whether you choose not to celebrate, or to redefine the day for yourselves, in 2021, the only Valentine’s day gift you really need - if you need one at all - is each-other.
Featured Image: Unsplash / Chandan Chaurasia
Are you doing anything unique for Valentines Day this year? Let us know!