Valentine’s Day, the roses and chocolate fests of the year has become an overly commercialized flurry of last-minute shopping, with transformation of stores from drab gray to red and pink decor, as millions rush out to pick up gifts to display their affection. Don’t we all associate successful couple goals with expensive gifts, romantic date nights and Hallmark cards? And we have become a generation of materialistic relationships that value platinum love bands more than the sheer pleasure of fighting over the last slice of pizza or the vacation you had been planning over an year. Seeping to the lowest level, children who don’t receive heart-shaped candies from their school crushes are also heartbroken. I sure wasn’t the only devastated ninth grader!
All these adverts – roses bought by men to give to their significant others, candle lit dinners and expensive restaurant deals to wine and dine, heart shaped whatnots- all with a ridiculously high price tag. Alas, wasn’t real love supposed to be priceless! Valentine’s Day is the liturgical feasting and celebration of the Christian saint, Valentinus who allegedly died on February 14 after being persecuted and incarcerated by the Romans, but it is frequently represented by commercials featuring love struck couples epitomizing the capitalism that has consumed us all and manipulates us into buying something we don’t want or are in need of.
Why is it that on 14 February every year we all have to act like we adhere to typical gender stereotypes that should be entirely redundant these days anyway? With the D-day approaching, seemingly girls can only think about the gifts their lovers would get them, generally burning a hole in their pocket. All I can see on my social media feeds are “Valentine’s Day Goals/ Couple Goals” showcasing couples too much in love, measured by the expensive gifts the lovers exchanged. Love equates materialistic objects, wow, much wow. Filling the pockets of some fat cat at the top. Social media to brag about all the presents we get, our relationships are defined by what others think of these gifts. Our generation has it all wrong. Millennials aren’t such an intelligent batch after all!
Of candies and cupids, relationships are like a fashion accessory now. Short marriages follow big weddings, expensive dates than warm hugs, heart shaped chocolates to half burnt breakfast in bed. And to top it all, Valentine’s Day stands for love between a man and woman, the commercialism completely ignoring anyone other than those in a heterosexual relationship. Is love meant to be too single strand? *sigh*
Relationships are about loving and appreciating each other’s existence, for being together and in love. For the little things the person does for you, for the care and the long, soulful talks, for the warm, fuzzy feeling and the happy bittersweet hugs. Not about needing validation through gifts on social media. It’s not about the money and gifts. I’m not unappreciative of these gifts, just a little more appreciative of the person who gives me all the right feels. Valentine’s Day isn’t supposed to fall prey to the fickle materialism. Of course, it’s important to show love to our partners, family, friends – anyone who means anything to us. But why just on February 14. Why not every day, any day? Appreciate them any time you want. Not when it is prescribed to you. Gifts are good but they don’t measure the love you share, it just helps make the industrialists capitalizing their businesses on this day get richer by leaps and bounds.
I’m not anti- Valentine’s, just a bit more old school for our time. Believe me, romance is still not dead.