Let’s take a look at the structure of a typical Valentine’s Day. In the morning, you are supposed to be surprised by a bouquet of roses delivered with a cute card: $50. If you live in the residence halls or an apartment complex, your flowers will be compared to everyone else’s flowers. You exchange cutesy texts throughout the day.
In the evening, you put on the frilly red dress you bought for Valentines Day: $40, and your significant other knocks on your door with a cheap box of chocolates ($6), a teddy bear ($4) and maybe a heart-shaped gold necklace ($65), if they have more disposable income. Then you go out to that Italian restaurant you have been wanting to try out where you sit next to rows and rows of couples who are out on the exact same date: $50.
You somehow come up with a conversation topic you haven’t already talked about and then head out to see “Safe Haven,” or if you are smart, “Silver Linings Playbook” (just get through the first 20 minutes and it gets really good): $24. After enjoying the movie, it’s time to park and you can fill in the rest. At the end of the day, between the two of you, you are out $239. I have approximated the totals based on my own experience and current average prices, but you get my drift.
Valentine’s Day alone costs college students a fortune and for what? To tell someone you love them, which is something you should already tell them every day if it’s true. This is a date I have been on; a date I roll my eyes at today. When you go out on Valentine’s Day, you are setting yourself up to be compared to every other couple out there. Because if someone spent more money, they clearly have a bigger heart.
Showing someone you care should be a spontaneous gesture, not one promoted by people who make money off of it. According to Hallmark’s Valentine’s Day website, the company sells more than 150 million Valentine’s Day cards, not including the cards grade school students pass out as a classroom activity.
This puts Valentine’s Day as the runner-up for most cards sold during any holiday season. Can a card really tell my boyfriend how much I care about him more sincerely than I can? The very idea that I would give my loved one a mass-produced card suggests our love is just like everyone else’s. Isn’t the point of Valentine’s Day to show someone how much you personally care about them?
Before you get any ideas, I am not bitter and I am not single. I am dating my best friend and boy, does he have it rough. He doesn’t get to prove to me how much he loves me simply by the price tag on a heart-shaped box of chocolate. And yet, I know exactly how much I mean to him by the way he tells me he loves me, by how often he reminds me and all the caring things he does without being prompted by a corporation, without any outside praise and without any payback beyond knowing I would do the same for him. Flowers aren’t required any other day of the year, so when I get them, they are that much more special.
So no, I am not celebrating Valentine’s Day. My boyfriend will be at work and I will be getting Yogurtland with my single (and eligible) roommate. Afterwards, we will spend the weekend together like we always do, using the $239 we saved for something a little more spontaneous.