How I Learned to Appreciate Valentine’s Day

By: Jess Downey |

Photo credit:  clevercupcakes (Flickr)

Photo credit: clevercupcakes (Flickr)

For most of my life I’ve been a hater of Valentine’s Day and I’ve stopped at nothing to spread the gospel. I’ve written articles about it. Done radio interviews about it. You name it.  But, in my defense, I think that’s mostly because I’ve only seen one side of it — the absolute and total cheesy side. So it left me feeling like that’s the only thing the day could be about.

When I was in college, I celebrated with my boyfriend at the time. I told him I didn’t want to bother with the day at all, but he was a Valentine’s Day lover so I caved. That day ended up being filled with all the corny stuff he liked — roses, jewelry, and some fancy schmancy romantic dinner. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful; I was really appreciative that he wanted to do those things with me. I just felt like it was all him and none of me. We did exactly what you’re supposed to do on Valentine’s Day.

And it wasn’t just that. Most other couples I knew were the same way. Roses. Teddy bears. Chocolates. Don’t get me wrong here. There is absolutely nothing wrong with those things if you’re into them. But that’s the key — if you’re into them. When you’re not it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. It makes you dread the thought of celebrating Valentine’s Day for the rest of your life.

I lucked out for several years after that college boyfriend because I was single every year. But that all changed last year. I had been with my boyfriend (who is now my fiancé) for about four or five months. We had just said I love you. And, while he’s not exactly a Valentine’s Day lover, he did want to do something to celebrate.  So that pretty much set the scene for the icky romance stuff.

But, it didn’t end up being about any of that for us.  We actually ended up celebrating Valentine’s Day for a whole week (seriously, the hater of Valentine’s Day celebrated for a week). We went to see Top Gun in 3D a few days before. We had dinner followed by a bucket of PBRs the day of. And, then, we made bacon wrapped hot dogs and red velvet cake the weekend after.

And you know what? I enjoyed every single moment.

I know it might seem like I just enjoyed it because I had been single for so long, but I don’t think that’s it. I never had an issue with Valentine’s Day when I was single. I mean, not any more of an issue than what I had with it when I wasn’t single. I think it’s just that it finally clicked with me — Valentine’s Day isn’t really that bad.  Really. I had been blowing it up in my mind for so long and it was all based on those typical ideas of Valentine’s Day. But who said it has to be like that? There are no rules here. It can be whatever you want.

No matter what we all think, it still exists and it probably always will so stop fighting the man and just embrace it for what it is — a holiday and  a change to do something you wouldn’t normally do.  Celebrate it how you want. If you want to overdo it, that’s fine. If you want to just sit on the couch and watch movies, that’s fine. If you want to go out with your ladies and say screw it, that’s fine. Whatever it is. Do it. Because it’s really not that big of a deal.

And if bacon wrapped hot dogs and doing whatever you want don’t make you a believer, here are 7 other reasons to appreciate Valentine’s Day.

1. 50% off candy the day after
2. Presents
3. Dive bars will likely be totally empty
4. You can order obscene amounts of take out (even if you’re solo)
5. All the good scary movies will still be available at Red Box
6. Every bakery has some kind of tasty treat (and you can buy twice as much)

What do you appreciate about Valentine’s Day?