Self-love or cash grab? What’s the meaning of Valentine’s Day?

Nicole McIsaac and Ethan Hurwitz

Illustration by Emma Kogel

Be mine yours

By Nicole McIsaac, News Editor

Valentine’s Day. It’s that time of the year where you either feel captivated in a euphoric state of infatuation, or just find yourself crossing off days on your calendar until you finally get to March.

I get it. In a world facing various types of societal issues, a global pandemic and countless other struggles, it can be challenging to find any adornment in your day-to-day lives. Valentine’s Day can feel lonely, dispiriting and straight-up artificial.

However, the true meaning of the holiday solely lies in the way individuals perceive what it is all about. The love that is ever so spotlighted on a random day in the middle of February is more than just romantic adoration. It’s about showing appreciation to those around us — especially ourselves.

I personally love the holiday because it allows me to call a time-out from life, granting me the opportunity to acknowledge and recognize my personal needs.

A common misconception about Valentine’s Day often relates to picturing the celebration as some romantic novel come to life: enormous chocolate-filled hearts, a teddy bear that is way too big to store anywhere in your home, an enormous bouquet of red roses or even a lovey-dovey dinner with your significant other.

If that is your main focus of the holiday, it may come as no surprise as to why your heart shrinks when you walk past the love-filled aisles of your local CVS Pharmacy or grocery store during this time of the year.

But all the commercialized mushy-gushy aspects of the holiday is not what it all boils down to. You don’t need a significant other, a night filled with plans or to excessively splurge on anything that is pink, red and heart-shaped. Whereas that stuff may seem as a necessity to celebrate the day, the true meaning lies within how you spend your time during the holiday.

In a college environment that demands a heavy workload, schedule stressors and other lifetime changes, it’s hard to take that step back to simply show love to yourself. Maybe the love you experience on Valentine’s Day correlates to taking an extra five minutes to yourself, enjoying a movie night with your best friend or even just cooking one of your favorite homemade meals.

Illustration by Connor Lawless

And yes, you also don’t need Valentine’s Day to show someone that you love them if you are in a relationship. In fact, if you really do care for someone and yourself, that should be the attitude that you have every day.

However, this holiday is a reminder to take a step back and appreciate all the good things in life. I mean, there is a lot to be grateful for that we take for granted every day.

So don’t let your flowers wilt and your heart grow dim this Valentine’s Day. Instead, take the day to do something a little extra for yourself. You deserve it.


Cupid’s a corporate puppet

By Ethan Hurwitz, Associate Sports Editor

Nothing gets on my nerves more than Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day is a holiday that is just another one in a myriad of unnecessary holidays celebrated by Americans, obsessed with buying an assortment of whatever.

These are the days where the partners who contribute nothing for 364 days of the year magically become the superhero in their companion’s life. It devalues what love truly is.

The pressure that is placed on people gift giving on Valentine’s Day is enormous. If you get a bad gift on your birthday or on another special occasion, all is forgiven. But if you don’t give an excess amount of flowers, chocolates and a box of chalky heart candies, then the entire relationship will crumble before your very eyes.

One should shower their partner in love and affection for the entire year. A holiday pushed by corporate pharmacies and candy companies should not be the driving force in keeping your relationship happy and healthy.

Now, there may be some that do not have a significant other on Valentine’s Day. That is fine because now it is just a regular day. If you want to buy yourself chocolates or a stuffed teddy bear, go for it. If you want to top that, do it on a random day in August. Just because other people are socially obligated to purchase out entire aisles of goodies, does not mean the single folks have to as well.

Diana Brice, the director of Suicide Prevention Service of the Central Coast, references a study conducted by the SPSCC that Valentine’s Day is the time of year with the most suicides nationally. The “expectation” to feel loved, as Brice states, puts more pressure on single people, especially students, who see their depressive thoughts intensify during the day.

And don’t get me started on the dinner plans. Everyone expects a fancy, candlelit dinner at a restaurant that will put your wallet into a coma. With everybody trying to get a reservation on the same day mass chaos will ensue if you are unable to get a table.

If you are one of the lucky ones to have an understanding partner who does not focus on materialistic needs, then you should be all set — Valentine’s Day or not. However, if you are nervous to flub the annual cards and candies, you might need to reevaluate who you focus on when Cupid’s day hits.

Illustration by Connor Lawless

Whether it is the grocery chains who flaunt their flower bouquets in your face or the Hallmark cards that always pinch a nerve, the commercialism of the holiday ruins what a holiday truly means. If you are an avid Valentine’s Day enjoyer, just enjoy the 24 hours and move on. Do not try to elevate Feb. 14, to the same perch of the fourth of July, Christmas or Thanksgiving.

Shower yourself with care. You are the most important person in your own life, and you should be able to drown yourself in sweets and unbelievably plush animals 24/7. Don’t limit it to just a single day in the shortest month of the calendar year.


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