4 Things I’ve Learned About Valentine’s Day

4 Things I've Learned About Valentine's Day

I’ve got 28 years of being on this planet. I probably experienced Valentine’s Day in some form since I was about six, starting in kindergarten. It would be so easy for me to come out here swinging and bashing Valentine’s Day, but I’m honestly at peace with this holiday. There was a time when I was anti-Valentine, so against its corporate chocolate fuel that pumps its diamond encrusted heart. But not anymore. That’s not to say I’ve embraced it and go all out on the holiday.

4 Things I've Learned About Valentine's Day

You know I can’t actually do that, right? I’m…pretty poor.

I’ve learned a few things about the holiday that makes me feel like Valentine’s Day actually does have a purpose.

4. It’s Sort Of Neat When You’re Young

4 Things I've Learned About Valentine's Day

Bitch stole my heart.

When you’re in middle school, love is such a foreign, undefined blob. If grownass adults have troubled defining love, imagine how little that word meant when you were young. When you’re little, you love things like football eraser pencils, kickball with classmates, and Hi-C punch.

4 Things I've Learned About Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day in school really throws a young person into a loop. Love a person? Huh? It’s probably the first time you get to actively participate in a socially acceptable event that is all about love. The thought of loving a person LIKE THAT never really crossed your mind as a kid. Sure you’ve seen mommy and daddy kiss (and maybe “wrestle”). But you’ve never looked at your peers LIKE THAT, really, until Valentine’s Day. You learn that loving someone romantically is something that is clearly desirable by EVERYONE. And now you desire it too.

4 Things I've Learned About Valentine's Day

Welcome to a lifetime of pain! Glad you could join us. 

With that said, there was something very overwhelming about Valentine’s Day in grade school. It felt like such a great big event. Classroom decked out with various pink and red lopsided hearts. There will be cookies and punch and craft making. Everyone had to buy 30-40 cards for their classmates. Usually your card matched your personality. The jock kid had Montana and Favre cards saying “You’re a Touchdown… in my book” which is actually how Quarterbacks confess their love.

4 Things I've Learned About Valentine's Day

Want a warning sign? He threw two interceptions in this game…

I remember there was a less financially well off (aka POOR) kid in class who literally ripped out pieces of notebook paper and wrote one word responses like “hit” and “ur neato” when really the kid probably wanted to write “fuck you” and nobody would’ve blamed him.

4 Things I've Learned About Valentine's Day

It was exciting to get those cards no matter how mass-produced and cliche they were. You didn’t know any better. And it made you feel pretty fucking good to get a bunch of praise in cool card form from your peers. For me, I was in a different fucking playing field. I got the cliche romantic love bug young and I was all about it like some guy who is basically indefensible to rejection.

4 Things I've Learned About Valentine's Day

I got the romantic disease way too early. Kissed a girl in kindergarten. By third grade, I was basically having an affair with another girl at recess. Fourth grade I showed up to a girl’s house with flowers. Fifth grade I stuffed teddy bears in a chick’s locker. And by sixth grade I hijacked the loudspeaker and confessed my love. I was a fucking poor, idiot kid who had no clue what the hell he was getting into by messing so aggressively with love. But that’s all hindsight. It was fun and nervous to be bold on Valentine’s Day. As a kid, you really don’t have anything to lose. Between the ages of six and 13, Valentine’s Day was such an opportunity to dive head first into such a difficult and complex concept like love. I remember those Valentines fondly. If only we could go back there….

3. It Can Be Downright Sad and Lonely

4 Things I've Learned About Valentine's Day

All that excitement you have about love and Valentine’s Day as a kid usually gets crushed in high school. It’s not Valentine’s Day fault by any means.

4 Things I've Learned About Valentine's Day

The thing is you went in not knowing anything about love and expecting everything to be just fucking peachy. But as you met different people, go through puberty, deal with more adult ideas and concepts…finding a mate is one of the toughest fucking things you will ever have to do. It’s fucking difficult to find love. The time and process it took as a freshman in high school to just gather up the courage to take two steps towards the girl you want to ask out IS FUCKING HARD. And then when two steps finally turn to a third, and a fourth and then you’re finally face-to-face with her…you have to talk?! AND THEN I have to try to explain to you without explaining to you why you should go on a date with me because I’m the fucking tits??! No wonder we have millions of kids hiding in their rooms behind computers.

Love’s a bitch. You learn that pretty quickly and soon you find yourself on the couch for one with a bucket of KFC and Tears. All the jokes in the world can’t mask that YOU really are a little bit sad that you’re not doing anything on Valentine’s Day. But what can you do?! You can’t MAKE women love you!

4 Things I've Learned About Valentine's Day

You can’t, right?

I’m very happy being single at times. And I’m very sad and lonely other times. In my later years in high school and college as you realize your self-worth is not defined by love, being single on Valentine’s Day didn’t completely destroy you and usually your buddies throw a stupid “No Love Vday Party” mainly as another reason to get blacked out.

4 Things I've Learned About Valentine's Day

Now, as you get older and actually live and participate in the adult working world, being single on Valentine’s Day can be tough and, for me, it usually acts as a self-reflection. What the hell is wrong with me? Am I overweight? Am I boring person? Self doubt stuff. And it’s normal for one to feel this way. And maybe some of the answers to those questions could be damaging your chances to finding love. And it’s not like I’m beating myself up over this too much.  But there has been Valentine’s Days where it would be nice to have a partner in crime. To snuggle with. To cook with. To take walks with. And Valentine’s Day tends to finger point at those who don’t have that someone.

I’m just saying that it is OKAY to be single on Valentine’s Day. AND…it’s OKAY to be sad and lonely on that day. It will pass. That’s why they invented booze and pizza.

2. Everyone Buys Into The Cliche at Some Point and That’s Fine

4 Things I've Learned About Valentine's Day

Flowers, Chocolates and Cards (FCC) are probably the three most purchased items on Valentine’s Day. Those three things rule the day. The amount of flowers and chocolates bought on Valentine’s Day is astonishing ($1.88 billion for flowers alone astonishing). At a young age, we learn that THESE THREE HOLY FUCKING THINGS MUST BE BOUGHT FOR YOUR GIRL OR THERE WILL BE HELL!

4 Things I've Learned About Valentine's Day

Googled “pissed off girlfriend” and this guy knows what I’m talking about.

So when you finally get your first girlfriend or two, or three, you buy them the FCC. But somewhere along the line, you start to develop a disdain for the FCC. It’s lame and boring to buy FCC. And, don’t get me wrong, that to some extent is true. So the next time around you try different gifts. Handmade shit? Spa day? Usually it requires you to SPEND more money than the FCC would ever require you to fork over.

But guess what? Life happens. Working 80 hour weeks to feed your kids happens. And you know who is right there to bring a smile to their wife, without breaking the bank and without being so damn time consuming? Flowers. Chocolates. Cards.

So if you find yourself sorta beating yourself up because “you weren’t creative this year” or “you didn’t have time to really go out and plan something”… don’t beat yourself up. Because at the end of the day, when two people are in love and living this fucking crazy ass thing called LIFE… flowers and chocolates fucking rock. They’re great things. It’s hard to deny that.

4 Things I've Learned About Valentine's Day

At the end of the day, it’s the gesture. And that’s all that matters.

1. Cupid Usually Gets EVERYONE and That’s a Good Thing

4 Things I've Learned About Valentine's Day

I’ve had a couple girlfriends where celebrating Valentine’s Day is the last thing she and I both want to do. And you both make a pact not get each other anything. But it’s EVERYWHERE. And usually when the day does arrive, you notice even your “hip” friends giving their chick something. At thend end of the day, you don’t want to be THAT guy got HIS girl NOTHING. She probably wasn’t really expecting nothing. Don’t be dumb.

It’s impossible to avoid the holiday. And I’m telling you that you don’t need to go all fucking nuts and embrace the holiday. But in a small way, you can spend the evening doing something together. AND THAT is celebrating Valentine’s Day. I remember simply walking to my girlfriend’s house. Stopping by the liquor store. Picking up her favorite candy bar. And she hugged me like you would’ve thought I bought her a car. It’s the small gestures humans are looking for in life. The little things that say, “Hey… I haven’t forgotten about you.” Isn’t that what love is? Finding someone who makes you feel not so damn alone in this big ass world?

That small candy bar and that bad Lifetime movie is probably the greatest Valentine’s Day I have ever had.

4 Things I've Learned About Valentine's Day

(Whispers) Thank you, Tori.

If there’s anything truly great about this fabricated love day called Valentine’s Day, it’s that it gives us another chance to at least remind someone, anyone… that you love them. Simple. If you can’t do that, then you have bigger things to work on than just hating Valentine’s Day.

Related on The Smoking Jacket:
Hell Is Other People: How to Dump Your Valentine
10 TV Show Songs to Love Up On 

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