Don’t happy people in love have enough days to celebrate? Their anniversary, the day they met, his birthday, her birthday, random romantic vacations… So many days to post pictures of the roses he sent, or the ocean view from the balcony of the hotel room they can’t tear themselves away from, even with the beach or the Louvre beckoning.
Do we really need a special Love Holiday to torture the not-cool kids in high school? The fat girls, the closeted gay guys, the legions of kids with normal teen angst who have to walk past the homecoming queen making out with her boyfriend on the way to their locker?
Before I got married, I usually seemed to manage not to be with someone on Valentine’s Day. Then, my grandmother died on Valentine’s Day two months before I got married, so I didn’t exactly feel all hearts and roses on February 14 even when I was a newlywed.
Now, divorced going on four years, I still think more of my grandmother than of loves gone wrong on this day, but for a lot of people, the day is painful. As I scroll through my Facebook news feed, I think of all the friends who have no cause to celebrate today.
One is going through a divorce after her husband cheated on her repeatedly, flagrantly and unrepentantly. Another is a widow whose husband died almost ten years ago, but the wound is still raw, and her blog posts about missing him are both heartbreaking and beautiful. Another shows the Facebook world a blissful face that is a mockery of the barren emotional wasteland that is her marriage. Another has never married or even had a truly satisfying relationship, and the most recent entry in her Dysfunctional Man Parade was a Catholic priest who assured her he loved her, but loved God more.
People in love are happy enough. They don’t need a special day to celebrate it, because every day they are together is a celebration. They don’t need a Hallmark card or flowers or a romantic dinner to make them feel loved. Those things are mere baubles to to people truly in love, and society’s expectation that men buy them and women receive them only serves to make a lot of men feel pressured and a lot of women feel disappointed.
When someone loves you, you don’t need a national holiday to show it off. You feel it in the very core of your being. Love is its own reward.