Thoughtful gestures define Valentine’s Day

Royal Purple Staff Opinion

Feb. 9, 2016

Valentine’s Day stirs up a lot of controversy and salty sentiments, despite being a holiday intended for lovers. Single or taken, people either love it or hate it, and we’re trying to dissect and figure out why that is.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a partner on Valentine’s Day, there’s a certain set of unwritten rules you’re expected to follow.

Some kind of grand gesture is required – chocolates, roses, love letters, dinner at Olive Garden (we’re all broke, so O.G. breadsticks are collectively considered a grand gesture), a cheesy romantic comedy, candles – bow chicka wah wah – end of holiday. They don’t sound like the worst festivities, right?

There are certainly worse ways to spend Sunday night, but when you’re broke and struggling to balance a budget in college, every breadstick matters. The question becomes, are grand gestures necessary – even expected or required on Valentine’s Day?

Here at the Royal Purple, we’re all about love, lovers and loving, but we’re also about questioning our motives and sticking it to “The Man,” so our stance on the holiday may seem a bit convoluted.

It goes a little something like this: don’t perform a grand gesture for your partner because society and Hallmark tell you to. Instead, do something nice with your partner because you want to, and because they deserve it. If you don’t, you’re just kind of a cynical tool, really.

By celebrating Valentine’s Day, are you actually participating in Hallmark’s grand marketing scheme, intended to profit off of our irrational perceptions of love by insinuating that it requires a monetary and material expression?

Of course you are. But nobody likes a grumpy realist, so get over yourself and do something thoughtful with your sweetheart.

We don’t mean to exclude all you beautiful, single folks on campus. Quite a few of us at the Purp. are proud, independent and single, and we’re more than capable of leveling with you.

We know you’ll be avoiding any putridly pink aisles at the grocery store this week. You don’t need any chocolates, flowers or ridiculously large teddy bears to remind you of your perpetual loneliness.

But let’s be honest, those giant teddy bears were probably made in poor working conditions overseas, so you don’t have to feel bad because you didn’t buy one for your nonexistent partner.

Remember, when those pink decorations start getting to you, there’s an ice cream aisle just beyond the candies section, and cheap frozen desserts taste the same when you’re single as they do when you’re taken. Not to mention, there’re no giant teddy bears by the Ben & Jerry’s either.   

To close out our V-day discussion, let’s go back to the couples on campus.

Set American commercialism and materialism aside. Forget about the hearts, roses and chocolates. Pay no attention to overpriced chicken alfredo, romantic comedies or licentious late-night activities. Instead, think about your partner. What was the first thing you noticed about them?

Maybe her eyes lit up and danced a little the first time you made her laugh. Maybe you noticed his smile is somehow different when he smiles at you.

Perhaps you started out as friends long before you were lovers, and the circumstances of one crazy night changed your relationship forever.

Maybe your partner reminds you of something you felt a long time ago – some inexpressible emotion that feels more and more fleeting with each passing year.

Those are reasons to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your partner. A grand gesture goes a long way in expressing your feelings for someone, and there’s no better day to do it than Sunday.

Single or taken, from the editors at the Royal Purple, have a safe and happy Valentine’s Day.