A day for love is such a horrible idea, they tortured and killed the man it’s named after.
by Eden Zorne
Ah, February 14. The day where one person waits eagerly at home for their partner, expecting a huge surprise, while said partner is frantically running through Toronto visiting every Metro, Loblaw’s, and flower shop they can find, desperately searching for an elusive bouquet of roses that is already clenched in someone else’s triumphant fist. When the partner returns home, defeated thoroughly by the thorns, perhaps with the last, slightly smashed chocolate bar and cheesy card held in their sweaty hands, their head hanging low, they’re inevitably met with a tirade, how could they forget this sacred day??? How could they forget the day on which love reigns supreme, when the unconditional love you probably already show your partner every day isn’t enough anymore?
On a more depressing note, there’s the scenario of a lonely, lovelorn person wandering dejectedly around the city, headphones in, glaring caustically at the couples having romantic dinners, laughing, walking together, harshly juxtaposed against their feelings of forced solitude and bitter heartache. Or there’s the bitter scenario of those couples who have recently broken up, or the absolute tragedy of those where one person has passed away, leaving the other grieving and heartbroken, sour at the day where they’re supposed to have someone to love, to celebrate with, but that person is no longer there for them.
Dramatic scenarios aside, in my opinion, a day made to celebrate love is a horrible idea, starting with the very invention of the day itself. Valentine’s Day was named for Saint Valentine, a Catholic priest who was tortured and executed by Emperor Claudius II in 270 AD for his belief in the value of family, marriage, and of course, in love. His death occurred on February 14, the day that we now celebrate a day of love in his name. Now why, oh why, would we celebrate such an outwardly cheerful day that the person surely would have appreciated on the day that he tragically died, presumably in much pain? Furthermore, Valentine’s moral beliefs were rooted in family, not in love, so why is love the main thing touted on Valentine’s Day? In order to have a happy family, you need to love each other every day, and celebrate that every day, not just on a holiday that’s become massively commercialized and is used as a marketing tool for chocolate, wine, and flower companies. But the consumerist appropriation of Valentine’s Day and other holidays is another story. What I’m here to do is explain why a specific day of love is fundamentally flawed and a HORRIBLE idea.
A holiday celebrating love is a wonderful idea in theory. But, per usual, the most ruinous force of all humanity is humanity itself. Yes, we, the people who created this holiday, are the reason it sucks. Above all, it sucks the most because of how hypocritical it is. As someone who’s worked in fast food and retail before, Valentine’s Day is one of the WORST days for Karen customers. Irate Karens and Kens screaming at chronically fatigued, anxious, and broke teenagers working at McDonald’s or Metro because it’s obviously THEIR fault that the milkshake machine broke, when they promised their partner a milkshake, or that the store is out of flowers because people with at least a single functioning brain cell planned ahead and bought food/flowers BEFORE the post-work rush, or, even more intelligently, bought meaningful gifts weeks in advance. Indeed, Valentine’s Day brings out the worst in humanity, rather than the love that it’s meant to promote. Further hypocrisy comes in the pressure of the holiday itself. Many couples feel pressured to take part in it, to buy each other gifts, to go on dates, to do something, anything special. But, in my opinion, there’s nothing more indicative of true love than the kind of love that’s shown every day, the small things, not some extravagant garish display of love on one day, and that’s the way it should be.
Valentine’s Day is a display of hypocrisy, consumerism, and the very worst that humanity has to offer. It achieves precisely the opposite of what is promised. Now, I fully support a day honoring Saint Valentine and his beliefs, but we’re going about it all wrong. Instead of honoring a martyr who died for the astronomical value that he placed in family, we’re fruitlessly trying to plug the holes in failing relationships and placing far too much weight on a single day, rather than showing our partners, and more importantly, our families, the love and care that they deserve every day of the year. Saint Valentine is surely rolling in his grave, and undoubtedly feeling everlasting pain, knowing that his martyrdom has been disgraced forever.