Love is all you need on V-Day

ashley.berken

I remember first-grade Valentine’s Day when everyone had a paper bag filled with Valentine’s cards on their desk from each student in the class. Every 5-year-old couldn’t wait for Feb. 14 so they could get their grubby mitts on a handful of candy hearts.

That all ended for me in fifthgrade, the year of my first “boyfriend.” This was a title-only relationship: my friends coerced me into calling him that though I still believed boys were infested with cooties and was more concerned with Barbie and playing house than with dating boys.

On Valentine’s Day that year, I was anxiously waiting for my sack of pink Power Rangers cards when I noticed a single red rose on my desk accompanied by a gold necklace. I froze. I saw my 11-year-old friend-prescribed boyfriend sitting goofy-eyed across the room. I didn’t want to touch that garbage. I wanted to puke on my Lisa Frank folder from embarrassment. However, the other girls in the class immediately ceased writing on their Valentines with feather pens and narrowed their jealous little eyes at me. That, for me, was the end of Valentine’s Day being about platonic love and the beginning of it being Single’s Awareness Day.

Now, I am single and have been for the majority of Valentine’s Days since the fifth grade. Never since that day have I received a Valentine card from a friend. Nor have I felt that giving my friends or family cards or presents was appropriate.

I’m not against what Valentine’s Day represents: love. I am, however, irate that the sun shines on couples on Feb. 14 and singles are left to brew with bitterness.

There are 180 million Valentine’s cards currently going out on Valentine’s Day, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Imagine the possibility if people weren’t excluded for not having a significant other? Hallmark would be jumping in its corporate boots with dollar signs for pupils. What is holding us back?

A mere seven percent of sales at aboutflowers.com are for friends or acquaintances. When was it decided that love can only exist between two people whose relationship will more than likely be over by next Feb. 14? Don’t they get enough celebration with Sweetest Day and their anniversaries? When was the last time you took your brother out for a steak dinner?

I certainly have had more great friendships than great relationships. We should all be proud of these friendships, not hiding in our dorm rooms with our friends sobbing and watching “The Notebook” while wishing for our own Noah Calhouns to kiss us in the rain (I’ve been there).

I’ve seen people go out for $100 candle-lit dinners on Valentine’s Day and part their ways weeks or even days later. It’s almost guaranteed that relationships start blooming around this holiday because of the stigmas about being alone.

Every year, if a girl is seen at dinner with her best friend or her mother there are immediately snap judgments that she’s single. This year, especially if you have a significant other, take your best friend, mother, grandma, sister or anyone that you love out to an expensive meal and tell them how much they mean to you. I bet it’s been awhile.