Valentine’s Day: A Holiday of Affection or Depression?

Alice Chen and Emilia Sato

I know what you’re probably thinking: what are these angsty, stressed-out, but also kind of hopeless romantic teenagers doing writing about love? What makes them think they understand the intricacies of attraction, the subtleties of relationships?  Honestly, these are fair points. It’s not like we’re qualified to talk about this wonderful/horrible (depending on who you ask) holiday.

And yes, while we are single, we’ve been bystanders to this whole Valentine’s Day gimmick for a long time. We’ve seen far too many sappy Hallmark romance movies and endured plenty of Ed Sheeran love songs, so it’s natural that we have opinions on this holiday– even if it’s not something we can innately participate in. In fact, it’s the time our single-ness makes us feel pity. Really, all of this boils down to one question: is Valentine’s Day a good thing? Does it help people appreciate the loved ones in their lives, or does it encourage the societal expectation of being in a romantic relationship to a harmful level? 


Any controversial topic has multiple standpoints, including Valentine’s Day. First of all, there’s the standard belief that Valentine’s Day is powerful, that it helps individuals appreciate the loved ones within their lives and bears the ability to bring people together. There’s the romantic aspect, of course, it’s a time of appreciation, of Ghirardelli chocolates (and Fun Dip), and most importantly, it’s a time when people feel generous. Lovers might renew their vows, couples might go on dates, etc. The list goes infinitely on.


But then again, Valentine’s Day can also brew ugly, lonely feelings in others that may not be in a romantic relationship, and frankly, presents an anti-single sentiment. Feelings of belonging and romantic contentment come in waves, and everyone has times where they feel, well…alone. Valentine’s Day becomes difficult when you don’t have someone to celebrate with, especially when it seems like everyone in the world is in love. You hear about fancy dates at luxurious restaurants, exchanges of flourishing bouquets of flowers, and the extensive paragraphs people write about their significant other on social media. Seriously, even the Cheetos and chocolates you eat to distract yourself from your seemingly eternal loneliness are packaged with pink hearts and Valentine’s Day crossword puzzles. 


So, that brings us to the question of where we stand in the concept of Valentine’s Day, and truthfully, we understand both sides (albeit the fact that we’re slightly biased). But all in all, Valentine’s Day is what you make of it.  You always have control over how to spend your Valentine’s Day, although it’s easier said than done. It’s correct that Valentine’s Day is stereotypically romantic, but you can take the time to appreciate anyone in your life who brings you happiness, regardless of the type of relationship –it’s what my friends and I call…Palentine’s Day. The main point is that you don’t have to bear the social customs of Valentine’s Day. There’s simply no need for romantic dates in Michelin star restaurants or intimate walks in the pale moonlight if that’s not what you desire. Instead, spend it on your own terms, whether that’s eating Cheetos on the couch, binge-watching K-Dramas, spending time with friends or family, or the traditional date night if that’s what you want.