By Kayla Hoskinson
Valentine’s Day is a messy holiday. According to very official and valid sources, the Catholic Church has, at one point in time, recognized a total of 11 days as Valentine’s Day. What’s more is that those saints who were associated with February 14th were not originally associated with romance. It wasn’t until the 14th century that a romantic link developed, by means of a tale of questionable validity.
St. Valentine was supposedly persecuted for being a Christian by the Roman Emperor Claudius II in the third century. When he refused to convert, he was jailed and sentenced to execution. It seems he was very in love with his jailer’s daughter, and the world’s first valentine was a note he sent to her before his death, signed “from your Valentine.” How sweet.
In my esteemed opinion, Jim Carrey had it right in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" when he said that Valentine’s Day is “a holiday invented by greeting card companies to make people feel like crap.”
So this Valentine’s Day, my girlfriends and I spent a free-of-all-romantic-dates Saturday together. And by girlfriends I do not mean a small group of women I have intimate relations with, but a group of all my friends who are also single (which explains the free-of-all-romantic-dates part, naturally). A group of girls will do outrageous things to console themselves on a day they shouldn’t need consoling—to punch Valentine's Day in the face, if you will. Our brilliant plan was to go to a shop we found near Washington Avenue and 12th Street to try on wedding dresses; you know, maybe get a bite to eat afterward.
Imagine a world of sequins and ruffles, of shine and itchy material. Think of the mountains of puffy sleeves, the rivers of silk weaving in and out of a forest of flower-patterned lace. Maybe by now we should have grown past the phase where trying on our mother’s dresses is a form of amusement, but this is different. This shop provides us with an entertaining illusion of love and merriment, of eternal happiness and devotion until death do we part with the men who are not even in our lives yet…all without actually committing to anything serious.
It’s easy to imagine what happens after a few hours of trying on dresses that single ladies have no business trying on. Bad things happen. We start talking. We start talking about bad things, like why we are all together when we could be making love with the man of our dreams on a bed covered in rose petals.
We turned to a nearby restaurant to provide us with the comfort food we needed to continue this dreadful conversation. The five pounds of chicken fried rice this place served went well with my hypothetical stabbing-in-the-heart of my first boyfriend, and everyone else also seemed to be concentrating on all the ways they'd ever been wronged in their lives. Despite all that’s gone right, we could only conjure up memories of the boy who dumped us in fifth grade for Suzy (who wasn’t even as pretty as we were) and of that bastard who cheated on us in high school.
None of this would have happened if it hadn’t been for the fact that it was Valentine’s Day. The day is a mess for all kinds of people, and there isn’t much of a reason why it should exist. It puts attached men in the sticky position of being responsible for expressing all kinds of love and affection on one day, when it should be up to them to express love on any day they especially feel it . For single ladies (and men), they just have a special day (but really a month or so, given how early valentines and candies are put out in grocery stores) to be reminded of how no one loves them.
It would be best for everyone if we abolished the so-called holiday altogether. I’m not just being a bitter old maid—this abolishment would be for the greater good of mankind. Couples everywhere would be spared the damage caused by Valentine’s Day arguments. Single men and women would no longer find themselves coming together in groups and wallowing in their miserable singleness.
Basically, whoever came up with this myth about St. Valentine and the jailer’s daughter ruined February 14th for all of us.
Hoskinson, a sophomore English major, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.