Feb 102003
Authors: Shannon Baldwin

In the true spirit of media over-saturation, I have a few things to say about Friday’s “Hallmark Holiday”. First off, let’s get one thing straight. Valentine’s Day is not a Hallmark Holiday. Grandparents Day is a Hallmark Holiday. Valentine’s Day (or it’s roots) has been around since ancient Rome (or so one source claims).

Supposedly, in ancient Rome, Feb. 14 was the day that honored Juno, the queen goddess. For 800 years prior to the Christian establishment of the holiday, young men would celebrate their rite-of-passage with a lottery of young women’s names drawn from a vase, who would then spend the rest of the year as the young man’s sexual companion.

But, like Christmas and Easter, Christianity has a history of turning pagan rituals into holy celebrations. (Although the way it is celebrated now, you cannot possibly get more secular). Whatever story of St. Valentine you chose to believe (and there are a plethora to chose from), it stands as fact that this holiday has pagan roots that are older than the religion that bequeathed its name.

So, to the lackadaisical that wish to scoff it off as a greeting card fabrication, get over it. Christmas is just as much a materialistic exploitation as this hearts-and-flowers holiday, and unless you celebrate Dec. 25 volunteering in soup kitchens and donating to charity in lieu of gifts, I don’t want to hear it.

That said, I’d like a word with the females who are under the impression that their significant other is obligated to jump tall mountains in order to prove his undying devotion. Please! It’s no wonder that so many guys regard this holiday with such disdain. Just listen to the commercials and you can see the pressure guys are in to measure up.

“Show her you love her with diamonds; this year, get her the gift from the heart; what does SHE want this Valentine’s Day…”

Like it or not, Valentine’s Day is much more a holiday for her than for him (considering how Rome used to celebrate, I suppose a turn around was only fair). You don’t hear a bunch of guys standing around saying, “She didn’t get you anything? Whoa! That’s a bad sign. Why are you settling for that?”

But the moment a guy has thoughts about not spending $70 on a decent dozen roses, (a buy that will cost him only $19.99 the day AFTER Valentines Day), and he is toast. How fair is that? Wouldn’t you rather have a guy who shows signs of financial savvy than someone who just buys into the clich/? And how about putting as much thought into how to surprise him instead of just what you want him to do for you?

To those who happen to be single this coming Friday, fear not. You don’t have to hate it just because it is designed to exclude you. Two of the best memories I have of Valentine’s Day have nothing to do with a significant other.

The first was when I was in elementary school. Remember having to hand out little valentines to all your classmates and making fancy shoeboxes to hold them? One year I wasn’t satisfied with sticking with a shoebox. I designed an elaborate heart-shaped pocket with Styrofoam and lots of construction paper. My mother told me I was doomed to fail and it would never work. But I did it, and it was just as I’d imagined. I learned some things about myself that Valentine’s Day. How stubborn I am, and the best way to get me to do something is to tell me I can’t.

The second was in high school, where I met my best friend, Stacy. We hadn’t known each other for that long, but we spent the evening of the 14th together (her birthday). It was then, skating around on the icy street as a slight snow fell under the glow of a lamppost, that we knew we would always be friends.

This year, I’m heading to Denver to celebrate being single with another girlfriend in true downtown fashion. Stacy will be with her fianc/ in Estes Park. Valentine’s Day (like life) is what you make it to be. Whether you believe it good or bad, you’re right.

Just don’t settle for a shoebox.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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