I Call It Dating. You Call It Stalking.

In defense of Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day
To hell with all of you Valentine's Day haters!

I’ve noticed over the last few years that there are a lot of people who hate Valentine’s Day, all for a variety of reasons, from “it’s a commercial holiday” to “I don’t like flowers” to “I don’t think there should be only one day where my spouse/s.o. does something nice for me.” And sometimes this dislike spills over into a type of derision towards people who do celebrate Valentine’s Day.

You know what? ENOUGH.

I like Valentine’s Day. And I think that if you don’t, it’s a problem with you and your relationships, not with the holiday itself.

This year and last year, I didn’t have anyone with whom to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but when I did, it was an occasion worth celebrating. I don’t begrudge anyone who is celebrating it this year – I think it’s a fun holiday and a romantic one and it can be amazing and cheesy and wonderful.

Here’s what Valentine’s Day is not.

It is NOT the solitary day of the year where a man should show his love and appreciation for his girlfriend or wife (and I understand that it’s sexist to put this all on men, but it’s just for the sake of argument. I’m aware that women can be the same way.) In a good relationship, with open, honest communication and two people who know how to use their words, that appreciation is shown on a more regular basis. A year of neglecting to inform the woman that you love how you feel cannot and should not be wiped clean because you brought home roses and chocolates.

It IS the day to take that love and appreciation and have a mutual time to share it with each other. It’s a day to set aside time for both of you to be romantic and cheesy and lovey and goofy and embrace everything that you love about the other.

It is NOT the only day to share that love and appreciation. It is NOT the only day when you should be surprised with a token gift because he was just thinking about you. It is NOT the only day when you should get flowers.

It IS the day when you and he should do something that’s special for you. If that’s not flowers and chocolates, okay. If you don’t like going out to dinner, that’s okay. A handwritten note and a walk on the beach at sunset is as romantic to some as a candlelit dinner in a five-star restaurant, followed with a night in a high-end luxury hotel. Whatever works for the both of you – whatever little inside jokes and romantic gestures you have, Valentine’s Day is the day to celebrate them. It’s the day when all of that love and appreciation that the two of you have been sharing through the year culminates.

If you don’t like Valentine’s Day, examine the reasons. Do you think that because it’s a holiday invented by a greeting card company, it’s somehow evil? Do you cynically claim “I’m too old for stuffed animals and flowers die in two days”? Are you bitter because you’ve never experienced a good Valentine’s Day? I’m sorry. I wish that you could just let yourself go and enjoy a day when chocolate has no calories, when the room smells like roses, and when you can celebrate the one you love.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.

69 thoughts on “In defense of Valentine’s Day”

  1. I always kind of liked Valentine’s day (even as a shy, invisible teenager who only ever got cards from my Dad), but this year, my first Valentine’s day without a “loved one” since 1996, I find it really cute and sweet and I’d LOOOOOVE to have someone to make it special for me tomorrow (plus, I love putting cute stuff together… it might just have to be for my cat this year…)…

    Adam, will you be my Virtual Valentine?!

    Happy Valentine’s Day, sending gros bisous de la France!

  2. I’ve read you off an on for what feels like forever and this is the first time I’ve felt compelled to comment. Not because your writing isn’t good…more because I’m a really lazy ass.

    Great post. I hate Valentine’s Day. I’m married so I have someone to celebrate it with every year. You made me look at it a different way. Good for you!

    Happy Valentines.

  3. “I like Valentine’s Day. And I think that if you don’t, it’s a problem with you and your relationships, not with the holiday itself.”

    Allow me to respectfully disagree. You like Valentine’s Day and everyone who doesn’t has a problem with either themselves or their relationship. Really? I’m sure it’s true for some folks, but others just might not enjoy the holiday for their own reasons that have nothing to do with any problems in their relationship.

    I’m a Valentine’s Day take it or leave it kinda guy. I don’t really care either way about the holiday. In the past, I’ve been in relationships where my girlfriend really loved Valentine’s Day. So I loved Valentine’s Day. And I’ve been in relationships where she didn’t care, so I didn’t care. I just don’t get wrapped up in either loving the day or hating it. It’s a day some folks care about, and I respect that. It’s also a day that other folks don’t care about, and I respect that too. I just don’t think that feeling either way about it is a “problem”.

      1. @Avitable, I think what I was trying to say, but failed to do so, is that love it, hate it or be indifferent towards it doesn’t mean there is a problem with you or your relationship. I, personally, am indifferent. But I don’t think anyone who hates it necessarily has a problem.

        And the word “hate” is bandied about way too liberally with this holiday and other things. I think if you took aside those folks and really boiled down how they feel about it, it would come out more as indifference. Just yesterday I said I hated the Grammys, but that award show is so insignificant in my life that it’s not worth the word “hate”. I hate Gia’s ex-boss, but there is real hate there. That’s a good use of “hate”.

  4. How about indifference?

    I neither love nor loathe valentine’s. I usually make my wife dinner, (I send my girlfriend a card) open a bottle of wine, and then we gorge on cheesecake. I make a hellagood cheesecake.

    Other than making the cake heartshaped (I have a pan) I’m just having a typical Monday night.

    I agree however, why bother hating? If it’s not your thing, just don’t do it.

  5. I really don’t think my apathy towards Valentine’s Day has anything to do with a problem between me and my relationship… I just think it’s kind of dumb. The stupid shiny hearts, the teddy bears, blah. I like going out to a fancy dinner, but that’s about it. I’m just not sappy. I’m secure in my love and mike’s love for me, I don’t need a mylar balloon to prove it.

  6. Word.

    I haven’t had a date actually on Valentines in an almost embarrassing amount of time. I certainly don’t blame the holiday.

    I happen to know for a fact my friends are totally to blame.

    Note…I said I was blaming them, not that they were responsible 😉


  7. Happy Valentine’s Day!

    I don’t have anyone to celebrate with either because my stupid asshat husband is a douchebag, but that’s a story for another post…

    My original point was, in spite of that, it was still cute seeing the smile on the ladies faces who had flowers delivered. It was nice.

    Hope you have a great V-Day!

  8. This still does not address my problem with the holiday. Why should I do it on February 14th? I understand it’s a great thing to show your significant other how much you love them, and it’s romantic to set aside time to do something especially for them, but why should I wait for Valentine’s Day? Why am I persecuted for waiting for a day which is significant to our relationship? That’s my problem. I get in trouble for waiting for a day which is legitimately romantic and that’s bullshit.

    1. @Jacob, Well Jacob, you don’t HAVE to wait until February 14 and no one is MAKING you celebrate it. If it wasn’t February 14 and it was say, July 8, you’d be asking why it was July 8. Quit your whining and get your significant other a gift or something. Maybe it’s because you ONLY get him/her something on that day that s/he’s pissed at you… I don’t know the whole story, but from what you’ve said, MAYBE it’s a hint that you just need to do more for him/her in general… Just a thought. 🙂 Happy Valentine’s Day

      1. @Jami Saysno, My point is that you should do something on a date that is significant to the relationship, not on some randomly appointed day. I ought not be held accountable for a random day, provided I am a good boyfriend otherwise.

    2. @Jacob, I did address it – you should also celebrate on the days that are important to you, but this is just ONE MORE day that you can celebrate everything. Why, if you’re happy and love the person you’re with, would you complain about that opportunity?

  9. I like Valentine’s Day, HHH and I just have no luck trying to go out and celebrate it. I posted as much the other day last week. It usually turns into a comedy of errors and we end up saying we should have just grilled a steak at home. HHH has been showering me with little gifts all week last week, and really, just knowing he loves me is enough. We are, however, grilling steaks tonight! I have derby practice!

  10. Valentines is just another (yes, another) worthless attempt from the church to try to cover up another roman-pagan festival with their own christian photocopy. Including martyr-priests, and last but not least, magic. A lot of referring to false historical sources as well. Just because a priest died for some religion, and that there’s a day named after him, doesn’t mean you can’t be nice to people any other day. Personally, Valentines day is just a load of christian bullshit, and the love you show someone that day is something you could do in the middle of June. Why care?

    1. @Nellik, the name did come from Christian origins, yes, back in 500 AD or around there. Since then, though, it’s had almost zero Christian significance, and I think this is just an excuse because you’re bitter and alone.

      1. @Avitable, Actually, no I’m not. Me and my boyfriend simply don’t care about it. There’s no point in having to wait a year for a romantic dinner when you can surprise someone you love any other day than just the day that happens to be Valentines Day.

    1. @AmazingGreis, maybe my perspective is different because I was with someone for 12 years and we always celebrated in some way, but I still enjoy the holiday. Maybe it’s just for the chocolate. 🙂

  11. This was supposed to be the year that you hung tough with your friends who are bitter because they have no bunny in their life. Instead you turned on us. And you didn’t even mention that it’s a good time to offer to exchange buttsex for chocolates. Thanks for ruining VD for me, Avitable.

  12. My husband and I don’t usually do anything *on* Valentine’s Day because five times out of seven it falls on a night he has work but we always do something special, even if it’s just taking the kids to a movie and McDonald’s, to “celebrate”.

    This year, we celebrated for an entire weekend with some of our favorite people – that’d be you guys – so it wasn’t a big deal when we both forgot it was Valentine’s Day this morning.

    I like Valentine’s Day because the “I Love You” cards are so much better. It’s really hard to find a good “just because” card any other time of the year.

  13. I’m in between hate and indifferent, and I feel it’s overreaching to assume it’s some sort of problem in my relationship. You like it? Fantastic, have a lovely Valentines day. But I don’t? That doesn’t mean there is a problem with me or my marriage. I’d also like to point out that people are allowed to dislike Christmas with just as much enthusiasm without being targeted as obviously having serious problems. It’s perfectly acceptable to not enjoy a holiday, and unacceptable to crucify anyone who doesn’t.

    Which is probably what irritates most people about holidays in general: the idea that you’re SUPPOSED to feel or do something someone else has determined for us. Sometimes, people just don’t like being told what to do.

    1. @Kyra, I don’t think that people are allowed to dislike Christmas without being targeted – they’re called Grinches and told that their hearts are too small!

      I think that if Valentine’s Day feels like an obligation to someone or their spouse, maybe they aren’t being treated with enough appreciation the rest of the time.

      It’s one thing to hate the commercialization of it and the stupid commercials and that stuff. That makes sense. But the spirit of the day is about love and appreciation, and I have a hard time finding anything to hate about that.

  14. I don’t do all of the “rush around” activities that Valentine’s Day affords. When my wife and I first dated, I did some of that, flowers and dinner out. This year, it’s remembering the day by making her dinner at home with a nice funny card that says the right words.

  15. I love Valentine’s Day – even when I was single, I would do something nice for myself. After all, if you don’t love yourself, how can you love anyone else?

    These days, Valentine’s Days are less romantic, but we do celebrate with the kids and make the day special.

    “If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.”

  16. Valentine’s Day is fucking stupid, but I definitely don’t care if other people want to run out and go crazy for it.
    It’s stupid because there’s absolutely NO surprise associated with it, and the element of surprise is what makes traditional gifts (flowers, candy, whatever) endearing.
    I think, on this cheesedick holiday, making a point of saying you love the people you love should be enough. Expect more, and you’re a marketer’s wet dream. I know girls who fall to fucking pieces every year all because of this one day, and the fact that their significant other didn’t “measure up”. Stupid.
    Being nice and thoughtful should be year ’round (yes, fucker, I know you said that). The only reason we do ANYTHING is because the kid loves it.

    That said, Happy Valentine’s Day, Fucker.

    1. @Sybil Law, there’s no surprise associated with Christmas, either. And there can be surprise associated with the WAY you choose to celebrate. If a girl falls to pieces because of Valentine’s Day, that’s a problem with her relationship, not a problem with the holiday. Fucker.

  17. thank you for this post…well said!
    i used to HATE valentine’s day, but i’m totally admitting that i hated it because i was single & bitter.

    happy v-day Adam 🙂

  18. I love Valentine’s Day. I don’t understand why anyone would hate a day dedicated to celebrating love. I also think that it only becomes commercialized if *you* let it. Some years I spend money on small trinkets for my friends and family, some years I just tell them I love them. Now my husband on the other hand, does not like the holiday. We’ve been married 14 years this fall, and we’ve never once had what I would call a good Valentine’s day experience. I don’t expect an expensive dinner, pricey jewelry or hundreds of dollars of flowers, but what I would like is a little thought put into making it a special day in some way. I’ve told him many times over the years, the most romantic thing to me would be to wake up and find one of those cheesey heart shaped boxes of candy sitting at my place on the kitchen table. And yet most years I hear him get up at 5:30 in the morning the day of to run to the store and try to get a card or something – and of course by the day of there is nothing left. I just don’t find waiting till the day of to buy whatever is left over all that special – to me it sends the message that I wasn’t important enough for him to bother stopping by the store a day or so in advance. On the other hand, to be fair to my husband, he is TERRIFIC at getting me little surprises and doing thoughtful things all the rest of the year. So last year I decided to stop thinking about it in a way that was just going to cause me disappointment, and I told him I didn’t want him to buy me anything, didn’t want to celebrate it at all. Because I know he loves me, and he is good to me the other 364 days of the year, and once I took all that expectation out of the equation, it stopped bothering me that he refuses to celebrate Valentine’s day the way I’d like. And I put all my energy into making little valentines packages for all of my friends – so I still get to enjoy the day. And yes, I have told him all of the above and it didn’t make any difference. Sorry this turned into such a book. I hope you have a wonderful valentine’s day – I’m sure you will because I know you have legions of friends who love you. You are a loving, romantic person; I feel sure that some time you will have another woman in your life to share all that with.

  19. Since the sitter was busy tonight, we went out last night. It just so happens the way to this woman’s heart is an obscenely large and very rare prime rib. Which is exactly what I got. It’s a minor detail that I get that prime rib at least once a month anyway. The point is, my husband knew what to feed me. The pretty shiny ring that is currently off being sized is a nice touch also. Got the traditional box of chocolates, of which I ate the ones I like and fed the rest to him.

  20. This year? I am trying to ignore it. In the past, whenever B would break up with me, he always came back around by Valentine’s Day. This year? He’s barely speaking to me, so there’s no way he’s coming back around. I don’t begrudge anyone their celebration. Sure I’m jealous of those who get flowers or roses or bling bling. Today? Frankly I’d be thrilled if someone would buy me a pizza. I’m starving.

  21. Amen Brother! This is my first Valentine’s Day with my Husband and we are drinking wine, eating cheese and smoking hookah at the beach. Nothing crazy, just a little extra motivation on this day to snuggle and be cheesy. Ha!

  22. I dislike the holiday (if you can call it that, I still have to work). It’s the pressure that we are under, V Day is a woman’s day, don’t be mistaken by that. Believe me, I bring Valentines Day every day, just ask the Queen. But now, because some douche bags can’t seem to deliver the other 364 days of the year, I’ve got to go over and beyond so that my little cupcake doesn’t feel left out. Seriously? Most sane people know how stupid flowers are, $25 for 12 roses that will die within a week? Why? Because it somehow symbolizes my love and affection for her? Whatever!

    I feel better now, thanks for letting me vent.

  23. 2/14/2011- it was the best and worst Valentines day I have ever had. I spent it with the same Valentine I had last year…but under totally different circumstances. I was with my best friend in the entire world…
    You see- this week he found out he has terminal cancer- stage 4. It has been a whirl wind week. I was at the hospital with him…someone called and said they wanted to bring him something for Valentines day. He said- I’ve got Jeanne sitting right here with me, that’s all the Valentine I need. I went to get dinner for us. I sat at the bar after ordering 2 filets to go at the upscale steakhouse. I was in a sweatshirt and tennis shoes sitting at the bar waiting and getting some funny looks but I didn’t care- I knew I was taking the food back to the hospital for the best Valentines dinner ever. My perspective is forever changed about Valentines Day and how we chose to celebrate and acknowledge the people we love.

  24. “I wish that you could just let yourself go and enjoy a day when chocolate has no calories, when the room smells like roses, and when you can celebrate the one you love.”


    and you’re right… it shouldn’t be the ONLY day of the year that the love between two people is celebrated. but dammit, i have a vagina and feelings and i don’t care how cliche it is, I LIKE FLOWERS. being cheesy is cute, it’s fun, it’s silly… it’s nice to enjoy that with your significant other.


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