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Valentine’s Day: the debate

Is V Day a commercial hoax or is it a truly romantic tradition? Lifestyle investigates.

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Commercial hoax, says Lauren Arthur:

Birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s Day. The three days of the year that I can count on my mother to send me a card. Even now at eighteen years old, 240 miles from home, I will be receiving a pink envelope with my carefully calligraphed name and a question mark at the bottom. The Bridget Jones within me hates her for it – why, mother dearest, would you point out once again that I am still single? Yet what annoys me more is that she feels obliged to send it to me in an attempt to make me feel loved.

When indulging in post Christmas shopping, before the influx of chocolate eggs hits, one must mentally prepare themselves for the onslaught of heart-shaped boxes, dozens of roses and cuddly toys. Call me a cynic, but whilst Christmas has become commercialised enough, it seems that Valentine’s Day was born from card companies and florists, with few people knowing the origin of the day or anything about St. Valentine’s story.

Countless establishments benefit from the holiday, and for all the wrong reasons. From what I gather, love is supposed to be spontaneous and passionate, personal and thoughtful, not restricted to one day a year in which couples feel forced to show their adoration. For those without romantic love in their lives, the commercialist humdrum of St Valentine has the potential to cause indifference at best and annoyance or upset at worst.

However cynical you are about the occasion, few can truly say that they are actually indifferent to the mention of 14th February. It puts pressure on those in relationships to show their emotions whilst belittling lone individuals to feel as if they are somehow inadequate. How is it an emotion as powerful and all-consuming as love has been reduced to a single day of materialistic red rubbish? Surely you should show your other half you love them on a daily basis?

Whether you choose to embrace the romantic occasion or dodge the dreaded day, I shall be taking my Bridget-sized measure of vodka, pre-drinking to Chaka Khan before heading down to Sankeys and perhaps ‘accidentally’ bumping into any PDA couples that get in my way.

 

Either or, says Dana Fowles:

At the grand old age of twenty, I am still yet to receive my first Valentine’s card. Yes that’s right, I was never sheepishly handed one during my primary school years, my mum and dad have yet to take pity on me and I have certainly never received one of the genuinely romantic variety. Cue the violins.

The truth is I’m not really all that bothered. I don’t think that it has impacted on my psychological health; I don’t feel unloved, in fact, far from it. I have wonderful family and friends, and until Ryan Gosling proposes, that will do me just fine.

The day is easily ignored and just as easily celebrated, even if you aren’t part of a couple. It really is just another day in the year, which you can choose to remain indifferent to, or you can use as an excuse to indulge in some self-love and buy yourself a good bottle of wine and a nice box of chocolates. You could just go about your normal daily routine; believe it or not, this isn’t put to a stop just because it’s Valentine’s Day. Or, at the risk of sounding like a hippy, why not spread the love and plan an evening with your housemates or coursemates?

I won’t be crying into my pillow because I’m not spending February 14th with the love of my life, nor will I be giving the middle finger to any blissfully happy couples whom I encounter. If the mood takes me and I happen to feel the need to acknowledge the day in some way, shape or form, what I might just do, is put a bit of a twist on the traditional theme of romantic love and let my aforementioned family and friends know that they are fabulous human beings. Cheesy though that may sound, it’s got to be better than being bitter and it’s not quite as vom-worthy as writing reams of Shakespearean sonnets to some poor guy . . .

 

Truly romantic, says Beth Currall:

Ever since I was young enough to know what ‘love’ is, I have found myself in love, with love. My first crush was Nick from Heartbeat, and despite the thirty year age gap (I was six at the time of said obsession), I was convinced that ‘Nick’ would one day requite my love and express his feelings in the form of gifts, love letters and poetry. To this day, I still believe that Valentine’s is the one day in 365 that people can feel comfortable with following their hearts over their heads, expressing their emotions; whether it is towards a husband or a wife, a partner or to someone you are plucking up the courage to ask out on a first date.

Sometimes it seems like it is completely unacceptable to be seen as romantic nowadays; being ‘soppy’ is often regarded as a weakness. This is exactly why I feel that it is more important to emphasise the true meaning of Valentine’s Day. An increasing number of people lose sight of the significance that is held within a simple card, a chocolate heart or even in those three little words.

Valentine’s is slaughtered by those who brand it commercial, but that is not the way it has to be. A home-cooked meal requires so much more thought and attention than splashing out on a three-course meal in a Michelin starred restaurant ever would. A single rose has more romantic connotations than the most expensive diamond ring, and a card containing the kindest words is kept within the heart, long after the paper version has been discarded in the bin or put to the back of a drawer.

The key factor of Valentine’s Day is that it is solely a celebration of love, and that requires no money or materialism. So enjoy being in love, and for those without a partner, enjoy the excitement that comes with finding love! But just a note to my influx of admirers, who I’m sure have been reading this: don’t send those 42-carat diamonds back just yet…