V-Day isn’t D-Day

It might be D-in-the-V-day, depending on what you’re into.

Bronwyn Miller

Liz Lemon of 30 Rock once said, “Valentine’s Day is a sham created by card companies to reinforce and exploit gender stereotypes.” Look, I love Liz Lemon — almost as much as I love talking about gender stereotypes. But I think she got it wrong here.

I’ve always been a big fan of Valentine’s Day. I like hearts, and the prospect of scads of candy going on clearance is generally all it takes to get me excited. I’ve spent a large portion of my life as single as a dollar bill, but that’s never made me want to go Grinch on any Walgreen’s displays or post insecure Facebook posts about how if I’m dying alone at least no one’s counting how many Kit Kats I’ve eaten today.

My anti-V-Day counterparts often argue that today is a “corporate holiday” existing only to celebrate consumerism. But by that logic, what holiday isn’t? Cheesy decor and clichés define most of our celebrations, yet for some reason only Valentine’s Day becomes the scapegoat for all that’s wrong with society. Let’s be honest: College students’ observance of most holidays involves getting drunk and by the end of the night, you’re still laying on the kitchen floor double-fisting a burrito and a donut, so the line between, say, St. Patrick’s Day and any given Thursday suddenly feels rather blurred, doesn’t it? If anything, a holiday with the implicit mission of celebrating human connection is a welcome change.

People gripe that Valentine’s Day forces romanticism when it should be spontaneous and unexpected. Sure, and it would also be great if we studied for tests weeks in advance, but we still tend to cram the night before. The fact is that we regularly rely on deadlines and significant dates to remind us to do things that we perhaps “should” be doing anyways. Maybe we’ve been meaning to make our partner breakfast-in-bed or call our grandma for a month now, but it just hasn’t happened — Valentine’s Day can serve as that nudge.

People complaining about this holiday being a lose-lose seem to assume that all girls have been so brainwashed by chick flicks that unless you come at us with “If you’re a bird, I’m a bird,” we’re going to hate and reject you. Guys are painted as ignorant, oblivious gift-givers who will crack under pressure and end up disappointing. People do realize that this is still the person you’re dating the other 364 days of the year, right?

There may be many things I dislike in this world — like watching other people brush their teeth and when things are sticky for unknown reasons — but an excuse to tell people I’m psyched they’re in my life is not one of them. Instead of picking sides in the singles vs. couples battle, let’s channel the ’90s versions of ourselves, who spent hours gleefully addressing valentines to every one of our classmates. Today is about all the love we are lucky enough to have in our lives, not just the kind you clean up with a mop and bucket.

The beauty of Valentine’s Day is that it now has something for everyone — from those embracing “Singles Awareness Day” to those who want to go Allen Iverson broke by planning something extravagant for their partners. Like all holidays, it’s what we make it; celebrate in a way that’s comfortable for you.

Whether you’ve got a plus one or you’re ridin’ solo, avoid the allure of the Facebook news feed, which feels like a passive-aggressive competition for who can brag or not care the most this time of year. Remember: Your flowers are just as real if you don’t Instagram them.