Random Musings

The Mind Trap of Advertising Commercial Holidays: Valentine’s Day Edition

Hello, dear readers!

It’s Valentine’s Day! Or, for most of my life, I stubbornly referred to it as Single Awareness Day (and honestly, it still is), because I wasn’t lucky enough to be in a relationship and have something to celebrate. I was basically this lovey-dovey holiday’s Scrooge. It wasn’t until I got a little older that I started to use it as a day to celebrate myself, talking myself to solo dates (like that time I went to see Pride and Prejudice and Zombies in the threatres) or doing dates in (like when I splurged and ordered a pizza while playing For Honor). Slowly, I started to find the enjoyment of just being me, enjoying what I like and doing things I love.

Valentines Day Love GIF by Stefanie Shank

Then, as life does, I met my current boyfriend only a few years after I started embracing my singleness instead of scorning it. Now, it’s the second year I’m experiencing Valentine’s Day as it’s advertised: in a relationship and in love. Honestly, I don’t mind the switch, because there is nothing like finding that perfect person. He’s everything I’ve been waiting my entire life for and I’m so happy I’ve finally found him.

This year, though, I don’t like how I was almost duped into this commercial holiday once again.

You see, last year, I wanted to experience what I felt, even after embracing my singleness, what I had been “missing out on” for all the years prior. So my boyfriend humored me and we went out to our favorite restaurant all dolled up (I even bought a new red dress and heels for the occasion), before going home and exchanging presents and just generally being ridiculous and over-the-top (for us). He surprised me with some really wonderful perfume, chocolate and even sent flowers to my work the next day.

I can’t lie. I loved it. It was cheesy and it was a little over the top, but it was ours, something we experienced together. I really loved it.

Valentines Day Love GIF by Stoke & Dagger
This is just too hilarious not to include.

This year, I was excited to kinda do the same thing again. We hadn’t made too many plans, but we knew we were going to go out and have some kind of date night; prolly dinner and a movie (our stample). I was prolly going to get dolled up again, because it’s fun to dress up with him and he helps me have a confidence I normally don’t feel (it’s amazing what being with a man who is just as genuine calling you beautiful while you’re wearing sweats and your hair is a mess as he is after you spent three hours getting ready).

Then, life threw a punch we weren’t expecting. For privacy purposes, I won’t be delving into it here, but basically, going out wasn’t an option, anymore. Financially, we couldn’t swing it. I mean, we could, but realistically? Prolly wasn’t the wisest option. So we decided to do a stay-in date night. We’re going to make steak, homemade mash potatoes, grilled veggies and salads for dinner, before either binging How to Train Your Dragon 1 +2 or continuing our joint Kingdom Hearts playthrough with the second installment, before exchanging the gifts we’d already bought last month.

Writing this post before this actually happens, I’m quite excited for this date. Like, looking-forward-to-it-all-week levels of excitement.

But originally, I was disappointed.

Because that’s not how Valentine’s Day is supposed to be celebrated.

Or, should I say, how it’s advertised.

Valentines Day GIF by yippywhippy

It’s advertised as nice clothes and an expensive bill. It’s advertised as a night out, something extravagant, something you don’t normally do, something special. It’s advertised as jewelry and expensive gifts and flowers and chocolate and sex.

It’s advertised as a lot of things; not necessarily bad things. But because we weren’t doing what was expected by society, what was advertised, for a moment–however brief–I was disappointed. I felt like we were doing something wrong. That, as a couple, we weren’t living up to the standards that couples were meant to. Suddenly, all of these feelings of inadequacy that I used to feel for the longest time, being single on a holiday that only celebrated couples, tried to creep up.

Thankfully, I squashed them quickly and recognized them as the bullshit they were, even if they tried to pop into my head as real.

valentines day love GIF by Hallmark eCardsJust because we’re not spending a bunch of money or going out on an extravagant date doesn’t mean that our love is any less real (and I never doubted that). Honestly, once I just ignored what I believe society would expect us to do and just thought about what we were actually doing: spending an entire day together relaxing, cooking and doing pretty much whatever we want–I got so excited! I love cooking together with my boyfriend, it’s alway so much fun and we almost never get to do it, since we work opposite schedules and I usually only get to see him on Fridays and Saturdays.

It’s going to be wonderful.

Basically, this is just a really long post to say: Valentine’s Day is a holiday, yes, and it’s one I’ve hated, embraced and enjoyed. I’ve had a ton of feelings surrounding this holiday, but at the end of the day, it’s just a commercial holiday with a bunch of advertised expectations that society expects us to follow. But that doesn’t mean you have to or that your value is anything less because of it, no matter what your relationship status. If you want to go all out, do it. If you want to stay in, go for it. If you want to ignore it, (good luck), onward to the 15th! But never fall into the trap that you have to adhere to anything society advertises that you must or that your worth–or that of your relationships–are tied to something like that. They aren’t.

Now, even though I wrote this post beforehand and scheduled it to go live on the 14th, I am, hopefully, at the moment you were reading this, eating some chocolate (because, no matter what day it is, chocolate should be included in some capacity).


6 thoughts on “The Mind Trap of Advertising Commercial Holidays: Valentine’s Day Edition”

  1. I’ve been a scrooge about Valentines day for as long as I can remember, because I don’t like how commercialised it is. Even though I said I didn’t want anything the fiancee still got me chocolates and the How to Train Your Dragon book! We went for a walk along the seafront playing Pokemon Go, had supermarket pizza, and played Borderlands 2. It was free, and it was awesome 🙂 Not what society expects, but it’s us, and that’s what matters 🙂 Hope you had fun!

    1. Awww, that sounds like a pretty wonderful day, scrooge-like feelings towards the holiday or not! You’re so right, it doesn’t matter what society thinks, only what makes the best of you happy.

      It was a really awesome day, thank you! ❤

  2. Lovely post! No date on the calendar should have the right to dictate how we feel. 🙂 My husband didn’t grow up in the US and VAlentine’s Day means nothing to him, but he humors me when I buy him a gushy romantic card and sends me sweet texts. And he likes to point out to me that EVERY day is romantic for us (sweet!), so why does he need to make a fuss just because the date is February 14th?

    1. Thank you so much, Lisa! Your husband sounds like a gem and that’s so sweet. You’re right, though. There is all this pressure to do something for Valentine’s Day, when in reality, it’s just another day and why do we need an excuse to show those we love that we love them?

  3. I really like what Valentine’s Day has become now that I have a daughter. I’ve never been into it from a couple perspective (I mean, who wants to go out and eat in a crowded restaurant on a day when there will be no parking? And forced emotions, yuck.). But being able to show my daughter how much I love her on a sanctioned holiday? Oh yeah. That’s awesome.

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