This might come as a bit of a surprise, as it’s well documented that I love holidays, but I’m not the world’s biggest fan of Valentine’s Day.
I approach all holidays, not just the normal ones, with an abundance of cheer and celebration. I go all out for birthdays, Halloween and Chrismukkah, sure, but I also celebrate the often overlooked holidays with the same level of exuberance. From reciting Dr. King’s “I have a dream” speech on Civil Rights Day to reading (at least some part) of Ulysses on Bloomsday, I greet each holiday with as much gusto as I can muster. Life is one big celebration, and holidays remind us how important it is to do just that.
So why am I such a Valentine’s Day hater? Because it all seems so forced.
In the early stages of my current relationship, I was bemoaning the fact that my travel schedule caused me to miss apple picking season. After listening to my whine, my current boyfriend showed up at my door with handful of freshly-picked apples (earning him the nickname “Bon Iver” amongst some friends). This small gesture (and there’ve been many more since then) carries much more meaning for me than roses or chocolates or some other cheesy Valentine’s Day cliché ever could.
My friend Selena and her fiancé don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, and if you ask her what they did last February, she won’t be able to tell you. But what she can recall is a bad day a few weeks ago when she was super stressed and she called her fiancé to vent. When she returned to her desk she found he’d faxed her a drawing of flowers, noting the fax sentiment would arrive much sooner than the real thing ever could (NOTE: she is one of many friends who noted that hand-drawn sentiments and MS paints are the keys to a lady’s affections).
I don’t know what I’m going to do on February 14, but I do know that I’d rather have a year filled with apples, extra blankets, origami raptors or hand-drawn flowers and other little sentiments than a night of pre-packaged romance.
Joy Engel lives and works in Portland, Maine where she tweets far too much and solves the occasional murder-mystery while riding around on a bicycle. Everything she writes is her personal opinion and does not necessarily represent the views of her employer or its clients.