Valentine’s Day doesn’t represent modern love

I’m a hopeless romantic. I tell my boyfriend that I love him every day. We have pet names. I love, love; I adore it. And I truly believe that without love this world would be a pretty miserable place. So you may be surprised to hear that I actually think Valentine’s Day – or at least our Western, commercialised version – is vacuous, self-indulgent and materialistic. As well as being a self-confessed romantic, I also like to think of myself as a modern woman – independent, career driven and moral. For me Valentine’s Day is the antithesis of all these things, so much so that Valentine’s Day is as much about anti-love as it is about those hideous Clinton’s Tatty teddy bears, sickly chocolates and petrol station flowers.

As well as being a self-confessed romantic, I also like to think of myself as a modern woman – independent, career driven and moral. For me Valentine’s Day is the antithesis of all these things

I’m not saying that I represent all millennial women, but I do believe that our generation is less absorbed with commercialised holidays. We don’t like being dictated to, being told what to do, say or think and we don’t like big businesses taking our hard earned money. We also believe in gender equality; we understand that love exists in many different forms; and feel that we should celebrate love and happiness every day, not just once a year.

One of my main gripes with Valentine’s Days is how out of touch it is. Come the 1st January shops start filling their shelves with pink, cutesy cards and boxes of chocolates with extravagant pink bows. It’s stereotypical and completely unrepresentative of modern love. I also despise the fact that men are expected to take the lead by treating their girlfriends and wives to a nice evening out, a pretty piece of jewellery – it’s patronising, outdated and unimaginative.

Valentine’s Day is stereotypical and completely unrepresentative of modern love

I believe in celebrating love, but I believe in celebrating it every day. Love isn’t about material things, it’s about supporting one another, laughing together, listening and comforting; it’s about being a sounding board and a shoulder to cry on. It’s about offering guidance and sharing experiences; it’s having empathy and passion, and relating to another person on a level so deep that it’s the most natural feeling in the world.

So, this year I’m not buying a Valentine’s Day card, but I will wake up on 14th February and tell Tom that I love him, just like I do every morning. I won’t buy him a gift, but I will make him breakfast and because I’m soft I might cut his toast into heart shapes, I might even go and pick up the Sunday papers and coffee like I often do because I enjoy doing nice things for him. In the run up to Valentine’s Day we might go for dinner one evening after work – we do this often because we appreciate each other’s company; and we may even book a night away at a nice hotel because we both work hard and value spending quality time together.

Valentine’s Day doesn’t make couples love each other more; it’s just another added pressure in our already stressful modern lives

But having one day a year designated for love is false. Valentine’s Day doesn’t make couples love each other more; it’s just another added pressure in our already stressful modern lives. It’s become just one of many opportunities to compete with our peers, fill the coffers of multi-million pound corporations, and ruin what is sacred about loving someone unconditionally.

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