Disliking Valentine’s Day is almost worse than being unpatriotic. I mean, who doesn’t like celebrating Love? Ah, but who gains the most out of celebrating “Love”?
One of my favorite discussions of Valentine’s Day is the 2010 movie, “Valentine’s Day.” It stars over 20 fine actors, and approaches the topic from a variety of directions. There are those who are love-smitten, and those who are lonely. Older people, kids, people who can afford to live in Beverly Hills, the person who has a $100,000 student loan and no health insurance, different races, different sexual orientations, different expectations, different dreams. There is even a discussion about the history of Valentine’s Day, although you might find a more honest (and R rated) version of it here.
Most of the stories have a positive viewpoint about Valentine’s Day, perhaps one that includes flowers and chocolate. But Kelvin (Jamie Foxx) protests doing a piece about the day, saying, “It gives me acid reflux, that’s what it means to me. I mean, we spend a lot of money, nobody cares, and it’s not even a real holiday! We don’t take the day off . . . Listen, I’m a Player. But I shut down my ‘playerness’ from New Years to St. Paddy’s Day just so I can afford this day.” Later, while interviewing a guy who delivers messages, the Love Messenger says he makes “most of his dough today,” and Kelvin mentions the day is about commercialism. That’s one of the big things about the day that bothers me — how it has been so hyped by businesses out to make a buck. I have nothing against greeting card companies, florists, chocolate makers, or any of the other businesses that make beautiful things we don’t have the skill or time to make ourselves. But I believe love and friendship ought to be acknowledged all year long.
Then there’s another reason some people don’t like Valentine’s Day. Julia (Jennifer Garner) calls it a “cosmic bitch slap from the universe for everyone who doesn’t get asked to the Winter Formal.” Kara (Jessica Biel) throws an I Hate Valentine’s Day dinner every year for friends who find themselves alone that day. It looks at the fact that not everyone is going to have a romantic love, either by choice or by happenstance. And that’s okay — I’ve known people for whom the bonds of friendship were much stronger (and healthier) than the love others have shared.
Finally, there are those of us who find it difficult to express romance — we feel it, we just never quite got the knack of expressing it as well as others. Grace (Emma Roberts) says, “I wanted it to be magical, and I’m realizing that it’s hard to plan something to be magical.” We can always fall back on the standards (cards, chocolates, and flowers), but there are some people who find just the right little gift that says so much (and it doesn’t even have a heart on it). Many of us LOVE, and yet we are not as practiced at expressing it, which creates pressure. As Edgar (Hector Elizondo) says in the movie, “Today’s a lot of pressure for anyone.”
So yes, I celebrate Love. I’m just not happy about all the people making so much money on an obviously commercial holiday. I’m for the kind of celebration that lasts all year long, so your friends, family, and perhaps significant other know how much you love them and care about them. Let’s make it a whole year long expression — not just Valentine’s Day.