You’ve seen it in movies, you’ve seen it on your favorite TV shows. Heck, I’ll bet you’ve seen it in your Facebook newsfeed all week. Valentine’s Day is upon us, and singles everywhere are pining away for somebody to love, right?
Everyone knows that unless an attractive love interest swoops in and romantically presents you with a $5 stuffed animal and a box of drugstore chocolates, you are essentially unlovable. Better start adopting that bevy of cats now, future spinsters.
Having a valentine is a wonderfully romantic and happy experience. When you’re in a relationship, going to sleep the eve of the 14th is magical — you wonder what your sweetheart has in store to surprise you, what romantic sentiments they’ll share, what magical memories are on the brink of being forged. To those of you with valentines this year, enjoy them. I say that with utmost sincerity — you have something that many members of the lonely hearts club desire.
But as a single lady this Valentine’s Day, I find myself puzzled with how this heart-smothered holiday makes my other single friends feel. Why do some of us feel so alone on the day of the year when we should celebrate the beauty of our human capacity to love and be loved?
A Valentine’s Day date does not determine your worth as a person. Remember being in elementary school when you would have to hand out valentines to everyone in your class? I remember being very worried that my second grade crush wouldn’t like my boy band-themed sparkly valentines. Spoiler alert: he was a second grade boy and therefore did not care one bit about the N*SYNC valentine he received from a lovelorn little Katie that day. Even as a child, I put stock in the meaning behind sugar-coated Valentine’s Day festivities and felt disappointed when they fell short of my naïve expectations.
Now as a twenty-something, I don’t recognize love as a cardboard N*SYNC valentine or a smiling teddy bear holding a red fluffy heart. Certainly these can represent love, and if this is your honey’s way of expressing it, embrace that and be grateful — but for me, love is everywhere in the details we experience every single day.
I recognize love as a text from my best friend wishing me good luck on an interview. I recognize love as my dad mailing me the flyer for the annual father/daughter dance back home — the one I am much too old for — just to remind me that I’m still a little girl in his eyes. To me, love is when a friend sticks up for you, even when they know you’re wrong (and then tells you you’re wrong later on, because they genuinely want you to be the best person you can be).
Love is when a little old lady smiles at you on the bus, and when someone finds your lost debit card and tracks you down to return it — all funds present and accounted for. I recognize love as someone you’ve fallen out of touch with calling to tell you that “The Wedding Singer” is on TV, because one time in high school they saw you cry during the Robbie and Julia airplane scene and they know you’re a sucker for movie romance.
Love is so much more than a box of chocolates and a dozen roses.
I truly don’t have a problem with the idea of Valentine’s Day. What I find troublesome is the repercussions it has on those who still have the same mindset I did as I filled out my Justin Timberlake and Nick Carter-covered valentines so many years ago.
The real truth is that I am a hopeless romantic. I have been quoted as saying that one of my biggest wishes is for a guy to pull a Lloyd Dobler and play me “In Your Eyes” from a boombox held over his head a la the ultimate movie romance in “Say Anything.” I don’t deny this, nor do I retract it.
As trite and derivative as stuffed animals and chocolates may be, it’s very hard to say that one wouldn’t enjoy being on the receiving end of such overtures, regardless.
It’s okay to love Valentine’s Day and be single. Just because you don’t have a valentine doesn’t mean you are obligated to take to your social media soapboxes and condemn your peers who are reveling in the saccharine lovey-dovey glory.
You can’t expect someone to show up and be your Lloyd Dobler for one day of the year — Valentine’s Day is most special when spent with someone whom your truly love. Be patient. Don’t feel as though you’re missing out if you don’t find yourself holding a dozen roses come the 14th — you aren’t missing anything. Your time will come, and with it your perfect movie romance that is more than worth waiting for through a few single Valentine’s Days.
Spend this Valentine’s Day telling your friends how happy you are to have them, and call home to catch up with your family. Smile at the couples you’ll certainly see in the windows of The Corner Room, and go ahead and wear red and pink if the spirit so moves you.
Love yourself first on Valentine’s Day, and let the love-struck legions enjoy their day, too. Love is not defined by the window displays in CVS — love is remembering to thank your lucky stars for the people who make your everyday life worthwhile, not just your Feb. 14.
Katie Murt is a junior majoring in English and is The Daily Collegian’s Tuesday columnist. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.