Why do people buy or give Valentine’s Day gifts? Is it because they care, or the fear of being yelled at and then being put through the guilt trip? Consider if you didn’t exchange presents, what your significant other would do. Honestly, I don’t think that guys would really care too much if they received a teddy bear holding a heart or not. Girls, on the other hand, might make it difficult. If a guy doesn’t shower his lovely lady with gifts, watch out. She is likely to either throw a tantrum or put the guy through an emotional roller coaster until he does eventually “surprise” her with something. Come on girls, admit it.I recently met a girl who said, “I better get something for Valentine’s Day, it’s my first one!” That says everything right there, but to meet my editor’s requirement length, I’ll just keep going.
For some, the origination of the holiday has long since been forgotten, or was never recognized in the first place. Let me enlighten you. During the third century in Rome, Valentine (Now St. Valentine) was imprisoned for performing marriages after Emperor Claudius II outlawed them for young men – his potential soldiers. It was during Valentine’s incarceration that he met his love, the jailor’s daughter, who often visited him in his confinement. Legend has it that before his death, he wrote her a love letter, signing it, “Your Valentine.”
The point that I am trying to demonstrate is that Valentine’s act of affection was unexpected and special to that relationship. Nowadays on February 14, a person in a relationship buys their partner a gift to show how much that person cares about the other. Many presents are bought without too much thought. Chocolates. Flowers. Teddy bears. Jewelry. To me, that seems too easy.
All right, so don’t let the anti-shopping, football-watching, sports-playing exterior fool you – I’m a hopeless romantic and a huge sentimentalist. (Take a moment to catch your breath). Thus, one would automatically assume that my favorite holiday is Valentine’s Day. But it is because of those characteristics that I feel Valentine’s Day is a cop-out.
Valentine’s Day creates an obligation (like Christmas and birthdays) to show one’s affection at a set date and time. How romantic is that? I mean seriously! People throughout the whole country, and many other parts of the world, will be doing the very same thing as you and your loved one. That teddy bear you give with the “I Love You” printed across its chest is the same one that tens of thousands of other people are receiving. Where in that does the originality of a bond between two people exist?
Another aspect of the holiday is that it creates an attitude of laziness. One may think, and often does, that as soon as Valentine’s Day is taken care of, he/she doesn’t really need to do anything for that other person until the next upcoming event. To me, that’s lame. I think that when you find someone that you like being with, it’s after you win them over that you can really start to show how you feel. It seems, though, that relationships today are convenient and mundane. Most people seem to be excited during the chase but once the person returns the feelings, all effort is lost.
By no means am I saying that a person has to go over and above the call of duty all the time. Not at all. I just think it’s more special to show the person how much you care about them when they least expect it. Over the years, when my boyfriends or guys that I’ve dated have given me presents on Valentine’s Day, I was always appreciative – especially if he took time to make it. (I once received a ring from Tiffany’s and a drawn card of a hand holding a rose. The ring was nice but the card was what got me the most. See guys, not ALL girls are about the cash and diamonds.) However, during the gift exchange, and the time leading up to it, there was always a feeling of obligation. It was when the guy did something for me unexpectedly that I really felt elated, even if it was something small like bringing me dinner at work.
To me it seems cheap to go out and buy a box of Godiva chocolates, a bottle of perfume or expensive jewelry and say, “Here, I love you and this is how I show it.” To put it in perspective, imagine the one nice thing you would want someone to do for you. The act in itself is thoughtful, but how much more meaningful would it be if there wasn’t an air of obligation holding it?
On that note, I hope the chocolates taste great, even if you did get them because your other felt they had to in order to avoid a fight.