Valentine’s Day criticism is for zombies

Chris Slattery

Valentine’s Day is just one week away, and I figured I would take this opportunity to talk about it, despite the fact that anyone could tell you that I am the least romantic person ever. Maybe even less so than zombies, but that’s a topic for another column.

But here comes my obligatory disclaimer: I don’t hate affection. This isn’t some rant about how all relationships are terrible or that couples need to stop shoving their love in other peoples’ faces or that some boyfriends need to stop being so cool because it makes me look substandard in comparison.

Moving on…

My point is that our generation has grown up in a world where love is saturated in literally everything we see, hear, consume, what have you:

The only shows more customary on television than ones about geographically-specific police forces are the numerous programs centered on romance.

The only subject tackled in popular songs more than dancing (whipping hair back and forth, nodding heads like ‘yeah,’ etc.) is love – either gaining it or losing it (and subsequently keying naughty words into cars).

So how are non-romantics such as myself supposed to survive in a society where everything is bound by the laws of Cupid? Shouldn’t there be something else people care about? Why can’t people write songs about something meaningful besides love, like playing Jenga?

It’s likely that it is already too late to make any real changes in the world. People love “love” and the idea of being in love. The Beatles say it’s all you need while we’re all living in our yellow submarine. (Evidently LSD only had an effect on writing one of those two songs…)

This notion, while entirely vast and indefinable, ultimately boils down to the necessity for human connectedness. And while Valentine’s Day may seem like a huge marketing ploy by the greeting card conglomerates, much like Halloween with the costume industry and Columbus Day with the Native American-slaughter industry (which we can all agree is in really bad taste these days), I believe that all of this so-called superficiality of the holiday is actually done out of an attempt to find this connection.

The chocolates and the flowers and the cards tossed around on Valentine’s Day are not bought simply for the sake of buying them (we’re college students, and we don’t have the money to haphazardly blow on unnecessary presents). They’re bought for what we’ve been told they represent. We give metaphors on Valentine’s Day, regardless of how well your fourth-grade teacher taught you poetic techniques.

What do disappointed liars say? “It’s the thought that counts,” and behind all the artificiality of paper hearts and ensemble movies starring every rom-com actor, there is at least some sentiment behind most Valentine’s Day exchanges.

Therefore, despite all of the criticism us unromantic people have about the holiday, none of it should matter if you have the brains to put a little thought in it.

Strange… I guess I’m still stuck on the zombie thing…

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