Friday, February 09, 2007

WTF is with Valentine's Day?

I'm not sure what my Valentine's Day is going to be like this year. But I wonder: when did this holiday become so complicated? Maybe if we look at where it came from and what it originally meant we can figure it out.

The History Channel is most proficient in history, so why not start there? Then again Wikipedia is always a good source for a thorough explanation. But the most interesting bit of information is an article posted on How To Get the Guy about what men think of the holiday.

Valentine's Day is not like other holidays. It's not about some historical event or religious celebration. Although it may have started with some historical event, it's all about being in love or having a sweetheart. And when you're in a relationship there are certain expectations -- you want even the smallest gesture from the guy. And when you're single you're reminded that you're alone; you're the one still standing when the music turns off. So why did this holiday about love and friendship turn bitter?

This holiday has become what it is today because of society, and the perceptions of women's role in it. This is why men dislike the holiday so much: they're feeling the backlash from our own hurt and anxiety. Society puts a lot of pressure on women to get married, have babies, and be with someone. Even in the year 2007, living in L.A., and with uncharacteristically supportive parents, I still feel the pressure. The minute you are single, people wonder why. "Are you dating anyone?" is the knee-jerk response when someone sees you alone. And if you get in to a relationship with someone, it becomes "When are you two getting married?" even if it's only your second date. Men don't get this pressure to be paired off -- at least, not as much as women do.

This is not a unique revelation, but maybe it can help us realize that Valentine's Day is what we make of it. If you want to do something special that day, treat yourself and keep the expectations minimal. But if you want to treat it like any other day, you have a lot to contend with from stores, co-workers, and the media. So it's better not to ignore it. Just accept it as another day in the year when Society points their finger and snickers. If you're single, you should be used to it. I know I am.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

My favourite Valentine's Day from my single life was when a friend bought a bunch of carnations and distributed them amongst her female friends. I felt special just for hanging out with her, so I hope that other folks celebrate their friendships on Feb. 14. I don't blame anyone who doesn't like the holiday, though.