I Love Love, So Naturally I Hate Valentine's Day

Hear me out, ladies. I don't hate Valentine's Day because I'm single or because I hate ostentatious displays of affection, though I do. I hate Valentine's Day because love is so beautiful and the day has become the epitome of everything that is wrong with the world today.

It's billed as a day about love, but just like everything else the corporate machine in this country gets its hands on, it's now all about buying things to win people's affection. It's about appeasement and acquiescence, not love.

What I object to most about the day is the coercion. People don't go out and buy things on Valentine's Day because they want to; they do it because they feel obligated.

If Valentine's Day were really about love, it would revolve around hugging strangers or screaming your love from the rooftops, not buying cards, candy and jewelry. The whole holiday just exacerbates the ridiculous notion we have in this country that you show someone you care by spending money on them.

But really, it's not even about the money.

The worst thing about Valentine's Day is that it's perversion of something I truly love -- love.

I believe in love because I've seen love. More importantly, I've felt love. It's this amazing feeling of happiness and wholeness and uncertainty and immutable forgiveness and compassion that makes you do things that you swore you never would. It makes you rethink everything in your life you were sure of and have epiphanies that you aren't entirely sure are real, but that you just go with because you can't imagine going against them.

That's love. Real, true, unadulterated love.

It's really a lot like being on drugs. At first it gets you high and you feel euphoric and it changes the way you act and the way you feel and the way you behave. It changes who your friends are, how you dress and how you feel about yourself. And then at some point you just lose the ability to live without it. It becomes part of your ability to feel normal and without it you're literally sick.

Love, like drugs, doesn't make you better, it makes you worse. What makes you better is being with the one you love and having them love you back.

That's why relationships are so important. Love by itself isn't enough, because it isn't self sustaining. Love has to be maintained and taken care of and if two people aren't hopelessly dependent on each other in ways they don't and can't fully appreciate, it doesn't work.

But Valentine's Day isn't about supporting and maintaining love - at least not true, honest, every-day love. Valentine's Day is an ode to the hollow, perfunctory infatuation of a first kiss or a Facebook status update.

Even the story behind this ridiculous holiday is a sham.

According to The History Channel,
Valentine's Day is a celebration of Saint Valentine, a priest who refused to abide by the law of Roman Emperor Claudius II that young men had to remain single.

Because he believed so valiantly in true love, Saint Valentine defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When his actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that Valentine be put to death.

While waiting to be put to death in prison, legend has it that Valentine fell in love with the young daughter of his jailor who visited him during his imprisonment. Before his death he wrote her a letter, which he signed "From your Valentine."

It's a great story; the only problem is it's completely false. Saint Valentine was actually a martyred saint who was put to death by the emperor for refusing to convert to Roman paganism.

The Golden Legend alleges that Claudius said to Valentine, "Why wilt thou not abide in our amity, and worship the idols and renounce the vain opinion of thy creance?"

Saint Valentine answered him, "If thou hadst very knowledge of the grace of Jesus Christ thou shouldest not say this that thou sayest, but shouldest deny the idols and worship very God."

It's a beautiful story of love, except that it's about a saint's love for Jesus Christ, not some girl he met while he was in jail.

It's not like anyone really knows or cares about the story, though. I think most people are content to believe it was a ploy created by Hallmark to sell more cards and candy.

The one you love shouldn't need to buy you a box of chocolates for you to know it's real. And they certainly shouldn't feel coerced to do so because the calendar, Hallmark or a make-believe story about a Roman saint say so.

Isn't the entire point of love that it calls us to do beautiful and spontaneous things for the person who is the object of our affection? And if it is, isn't a day devoted to coerced displays of that affection through gifts, dinners or "special" evenings, the very antithesis of it?

Love is complicated, love is hard but most of all love is real. As Inigo Montoya once declared, there is no more noble cause. If anything should be free from the decadent and deleterious influence of greeting card companies, chocolatiers and floral delivery corporations, shouldn't love be it?