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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

FRANSEN: Nostalgic for a simpler Valentine’s Day

elena fransenThe day before Valentine’s Day in grade school was so exciting. I remember preparing my cute baby-animal-themed cards, writing special messages to my friends, setting aside a particularly lovey card for my not-so-secret crush and getting a bulk bag of individual Fun Dips. It was fun getting ready for a day that would be enjoyable for everyone, as the whole class received cards and candy.

Those days have long passed. In middle and high school, Valentine’s Day became more romantic, replacing character cards and kiddy candy with declarations of love. With sweetheart dances and singing Valentine grams, it stopped resembling an egalitarian holiday where everyone shared sweets and equal privileges, like a Valentine’s Day in China under Mao, and started to single people out.

Now, Valentine’s Day seems to classify people into two categories: couples and singles. There’s the impression that people who don’t have a significant other on Feb. 14 can’t do the same things as couples and are therefore alone.

Single people sometimes hold anti-Valentine’s Day or Gal/Palentine’s Day celebrations in response to the predominantly couple-centric day. It seems unnecessary to change the name of a day which has not always been about being with someone romantically. Being part of a couple shouldn’t be a rule for celebrating the holiday.

Granted, I don’t think I fully understood the concept of romantic love back in elementary school. I just thought Valentine’s Day was all about heart-shaped things and sweets. Then one year, probably during those great years of middle school, you needed someone else to buy you candy and flowers.

It is only one day, but the preparations and buildup are so overblown that it’s hard to think of it just as any other day when people are especially gushy in public, sending red roses and large boxes of chocolate. How did we get so far from the blissful utopia of the communist kindergarten?

I think we made Valentine’s Day into this huge deal on our own. It could just be a day where we see lots of pictures of cupids and eat red sweets all day, but people are pretty adamant about sticking to the lovey-dovey norms set by the holiday.

I’m not saying we should take the romance out of the day, start calling everyone comrade or give cards to everyone in our classes. Instead, we should recognize that the day has been built up by years of expectations and cheesy romantic comedies. Valentine’s Day can be about spending time with a partner, telling family you love them or just enjoying the day by eating all the heart-shaped candy you can find.

While I’d rather not go back to my awkward fourth grade crush or the painstaking process of signing over 20 cards to classmates I’m not even friends with, it would be nice if we all could just enjoy the holiday. We need something to celebrate to make this winter feel less long.

I’m personally looking forward to eating mini cupcakes and Chinese food while watching Kill Bill: Volumes 1 & 2 with a friend. That sounds like the best way to celebrate love to me.

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