Monday, February 14, 2011

Hating on Valentine's Day?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I wasn’t really planning on writing a Valentine’s Day blog today. Everyone knows what kind of person I am – I love love. All of it – flowers, candy, poetry, lingerie, romance – you name it, I’m all for it. Not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day.

But Jaz brought up something last week in Random Thoughts Thursday that I often thought about myself - people who hate Valentine’s Day. So since she asked me to write about it…and Serena cosigned…I figured why not discuss it today.

Now, for those of you that don’t know the history of Valentine’s Day, let me give a bit of it to you as described in Wikipedia.

The Early Medieval acta of either Saint Valentine were expounded briefly in Legenda Aurea. According to that version, St Valentine was persecuted as a Christian and interrogated by Roman Emperor Claudius II in person. Claudius was impressed by Valentine and had a discussion with him, attempting to get him to convert to Roman paganism in order to save his life. Valentine refused and tried to convert Claudius to Christianity instead. Because of this, he was executed. Before his execution, he is reported to have performed a miracle by healing the blind daughter of his jailer.

Since Legenda Aurea still provided no connections whatsoever with sentimental love, appropriate lore has been embroidered in modern times to portray Valentine as a priest who refused an unattested law attributed to Roman Emperor Claudius II, allegedly ordering that young men remain single. The Emperor supposedly did this to grow his army, believing that married men did not make for good soldiers. The priest Valentine, however, secretly performed marriage ceremonies for young men. When Claudius found out about this, he had Valentine arrested and thrown in jail.

There is an additional modern embellishment to The Golden Legend, provided by American Greetings to History.com, and widely repeated despite having no historical basis whatsoever. On the evening before Valentine was to be executed, he would have written the first "valentine" card himself, addressed to a young girl variously identified as his beloved, as the jailer's daughter whom he had befriended and healed, or both. It was a note that read "From your Valentine."

Now, having read that, it seems that this is a holiday that celebrates a massacre. Yet, some find the “romance” of this story alluring. We find reasons to celebrate anything in this country, so love should be no exception.

Yet there are some who hate this holiday. Now, if you believe that it’s wrong to celebrate based on the history of Valentine’s Day, this blog isn’t for you. If you’re someone who does not celebrate pagan holidays period, then this blog isn’t for you. But if you hate this holiday because the sight of other people celebrating love nauseates you, then you need to get over it.

I’m not one to tell people what they should and/or should not celebrate. It’s none of my business, and I wouldn’t want anyone telling me what I should or shouldn’t be doing either. If you want to celebrate Groundhog’s Day, Independence Day, President’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Christmas, birthdays, whatever – that’s all great and wonderful. And I do believe that we should celebrate love and tell the people we care about that we love them every day, not just one day a year. But most people I know DO celebrate love all year round…they just like to do a little extra on February 14th – and I find nothing wrong with that.

I don’t personally know any women who hate Valentine’s Day. Now, I know women who don’t celebrate every year, or who don’t make a big deal of it. But hate it? I don’t know one. I’m sure there are several out there, I just don’t know any.

But men? I know SEVERAL who hate this day. Not because St. Valentine was murdered. Not because it’s not a religious holiday. They hate it because they think it will break their pockets.

Yes, like most other holidays, Valentine’s Day has become very commercial. It’s not enough to take a piece of red cardboard paper and write, “Roses are red, violets are blue…” on it. Now, men feel pressured to spend their hard earned cash on flowers, cards, candy, Victoria’s Secret and fancy dinners. The prices of all these things are jacked up just in time for us to show our “love” to the object of our affection. I’m not saying it’s right, but that’s the American way…money first, love second.

Some men also don’t like the “pressure” of Valentine’s Day. How big should the flower arrangement be? I want to get her a card that says “I like you a lot” – because I’m not quite in love with her…yet. Is she going to like this restaurant? How much should I spend? We just started dating, what should I do?

And then there are those who act a fool just before Valentine’s Day so they don’t have to worry about any of that stuff and then “act right” again around February 20th or so :-)

Listen…I get it. If you’re in a new relationship, then this holiday can be tricky. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend on a woman who expects the world on this day, then that can be a problem too. But it doesn’t have to be this deep. Most women would appreciate a simple card with a single flower that has a heartfelt message written in it from you. If she thinks you skimped on her, and doesn’t appreciate your efforts, then she probably isn’t the woman for you anyway.

But it’s not just about the men. There are women who “claim” not to celebrate because it’s not a big deal – but really what they mean is “I’m not celebrating THIS YEAR because I don’t have a man.” I know plenty of women who say they hate Valentine’s Day one year – but LOVE Valentine’s Day the next year when they have a sweetie to celebrate with.

Whether you celebrate or not, love is love. Love begins with you. Love is something that should be celebrated daily. We are born open to giving and receiving love – to love and be loved in return. It’s the simplest and most natural thing. So why hate on it?

For some, Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate the renewing power of love. For others, it’s a day to tell someone you love him/her for the very first time. The “romantically challenged” use it as day to show love in ways they normally don’t. Sometimes we take the love we have in our lives for granted, so we use this day to restore it, appreciate it, embrace it or heal with it. Love is a verb, not just a “day.” It’s something you do, not just something you profess. It’s an act of doing for others, not just a moment of infatuation. It’s what you give, not what you seek to receive.

I can’t be mad at anyone who is walking around with rose colored glasses on today. I love seeing people happy, giving and receiving flowers and candy, being all mushy and lovey and dovey - on Valentine’s Day and on ANY day. Whether I have a Valentine or not, I can’t be mad at anyone taking advantage of a day to show someone they care.

But if you ARE mad at it, think about the real reason it upsets you. Is it because you think people are sucked into the commercialism of it all? Is it because you don’t believe people should celebrate a day that was born out of an execution? Or is because you’re lonely and miserable? At the end of the day, do any of these reasons even matter?

There is no reason to rain on anyone else’s parade. There’s no reason to belittle, attack or be judgmental towards anyone who doesn’t believe what you believe. Let them be. After all, people showing love to one another never hurt anyone and is never a bad thing. We are all love manifesting as channels through which even more love may flow and find expression. Love increases our lives as we live it and give it away…even if only to ourselves.

This is what God does – eternally giving Him/Her/Itself away to all. This is why we say God is love, and it begins in Him and has no end…well past Valentine’s Day. There's no need to be miserable or hateful today, Valentine or no Valentine. There is no greater invitation to love than loving first.

-b

40 comments:

Stef said...

FIRST BITCHES!

I mean, Sweeties!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Craig n 'em said...

FUCK VALENTINES DAY! CUPID CAN KISS THE STINK THAT WINK!

Jaz said...

Leave it to Craig :)

I know he's trying to be funny, but you'd be surprised how many people I know walking around hateful today, which is why I wanted you to write this blog. I don't get it. Why do people care so much about what other people celebrate? If you don't, then great, leave the ones alone who DO!

BatMan said...

Stef is First!!!
Congrats!!!! LOL

Craig n 'em said...

@ JAZ...um, TRYING to be funny?...I thought I was pretty witty...Are you familiar with the STINK THAT WINK? ;-)

Jaz said...

You ARE funny... :-)

Stef said...

@Batman,

Yes, I FINALLY BEAT YOU! You never even comment, you just come on and be first and then bounce! LOL!

And I agree with Jaz and Brooke, who cares who celebrates what holiday? Only truly miserable people hate on other people on a day they celebrate love or affection. Despite the history of the day, these people are huring NO ONE. Really, you're mad cuz someone got flowers? Someone bought candy? Really?? Get over it.

Now, if they were re-enacting Valentine's murder by actually going out and killing someone, yes, that's bad. But mad cuz folks are experssing their love? That's pathetic. And if you think folks are pathetic for spending their money the way THEY want to - keep it to yourself. No one wants to hear it.

Craig n 'em said...

LADIES AND GENTLEMAN!!!

For those of you in love...If you truly and whole-heartedly want to know if your mate loves you. Tonight, when you have your bodega roses in brown water, Trey Songz album on repeat, Hershey Kisses from Target, Sex cards and astro-glide by the nightstand...look at your boo and say the following words...

"KISS THE STINK THAT WINK"

You'll know by their response...Trust me...

Stef said...

Craig is nasty :)

Jay said...

I have no problem with Valentine's Day or those who celebrate it. As long as people show their love to those they care about regularly and not just on one holiday just to get some or keep the peace, then who cares. I don't worry about what other people do or feel the need to comment simply because I don't agree. People claim to "educate" the masses when what they're really doing is hating.

If they like it, I love it. Live and let live.

Geeque said...

@Craig n'em - LMAO!!!!!

Mr. Nice Guy said...

I have to admit, I used to hate Valentine's Day. Not becauuse of the history or anything like that, but because of the cost and the pressure of it like B said. But honestly, once I found a woman who appreciated me all year round, and who I knew would appreciate and was deserving of a special day, I had no problem with it. I do for her all the time, so I wasn't going to PURPOSELY NOT do anything for her for Valentine's Day. At the end of the day, love is what you make it. Taking an extra day to show it never hurt anyone.

Rameer The Circumstance said...

Lmfao @ Craig...

I simply let people do them. I don't celebrate MOST "holidays" - I celebrate days I feel are important. My only issue arises when people try to FORCE you to celebrate or act like they act...just like I'm cool with you doing what you want to do for your happiness, be cool with me being happy not joining in with you and whomever else.

Actually had someone try to lecture me about the fact that I didn't do anything for my girl for V-day. I had to put them in their place...one of the things I said was "I'm not as corny as you needing a nationally designated day to do something special for my girl. I buy her gifts and take her to dinner/out just because all of the time. She doesn't only have to look forward to V-day, X-mas and her birthday".

Pretty much shut THAT convo down.

I say do you. I've got nothing negative to say until someone tries to assert their choices/lifestyle on to me...

Annamaria said...

Most woman that HATE on Valentine's day don't have a Valentine...
Most men that hate Vday cuz it's gonna break the bank.. Aren't creative enough OR are with the wrong chick. If you're dating someone who is measuring how much you love her by the size of her floral arrangement, etc etc then she needs to kick rocks.
I love my man every day like Brooke said there's just a lil extra showing today.
BUT truth be told we doing take out & time to chill at home. I don't need to be taken to a fancy restaurant etc etc for his love to mean something. I know he loves me when he looks at me, when he plays with Sophia, EVEN when he's getting on my last nerve! LOL.
Besides when we keep it simple things work in our favor...Our living room won't be crowded, the prices are affordable & we can drink & we won't have to wait to get home.. :)

Stephanie said...

I have to admit as well I use to Hate Valentine's Day when I was single.Then I realized I was letting society dictate love in my life and how I should re-act on this day.There's a belief that single women hate this day because they don't have a man in their life.And I won't lie that was soooo me.Now that I think about it, it's not that I hated on happy couples, I think it's because I felt like something was wrong with me or that somehow I was unlovable. What I learned after I got over my bitterness is what my grandma always said
"if you don't love yourself how can you expect anyone else to love you" So I took her advice and moved on. When I was single on valentines day I used the opportunity to luxuriate on me. I would have a mini spa day, buy myself some chocolate and have dinner with friends.

Ms. Penn said...

This was a greast blog Brooke, and I agree, let people live. I can always find a reason to love and pamper myself, so why not on Valentine's Day as well? I buy myself gifts, my sisters and my mother and grandmother gifts on this day. It's not just for "couples." Like Mr. Nice Guy said, love is what you make it and who you want to show it to. Do YOU on Valentine's Day they way YOU want to, not how society says you should :-)

The Cable Guy said...

I'm a Valentine's Day dude. No problem admitting it. Although it may be hard for haters like Stef to believe, I'm Mr. Romantic, and Valentine's Day is no exception. I'd have sent flowers to Brooke if I had her work address and if I didn't think she already had a Valentine ;)

The only problem I have with some women on this day is they think the day is all about THEM and what the guy should do for THEM. How come women don't do more of the things they want us to do, like send flowers? How many women on this blog have sent a man flowers at work before?

Brooke, did you send flowers today?

Malik said...

I'm sure many of you have read my verbal assault on Valentine's Day and my tongue-in-cheek humor on this day. My twitter post this morning said the following: Happy Emotionally Contrived Beef Up Corporate Profits Gender Biased Gift Exchange Day aka Valentine's Day. However, for those who are honestly honoring the love of their spouses, minus the societal pressure of having to participate in this day, then more power to that couple. Most of my assaults are leveled at the mindless "sheeple" who arrogantly force their significant others to participate in V-day because they want to adhere to blind tradition while discounting the 364 other days where the person was loving and caring.

In the end, whatever makes a couple happy, they should do. Unfortunately I seldom see many relationships where there is a mutual understanding of each other's feelings, and often each person will give into societal pressure on ____________ tradition or holiday because their spouse wanted it. In the end we have to be considerate of our spouse's feelings. Disregarding our peronal preferences because society has deemed something as the absolute norm is dangerous. BTW, my wife could careless about VD, so the feeling is mutual.

I have found many other days throughout the year to show my appreciation and honor for my Queen (my wife), and I appreciate that she is open-minded enough to realize that discounting how and when I would like to express my love for her would be toxic for our relationship. The same rule would apply to me. A two-way treat of mutual understanding is what keeps our bond strong.

Stef said...

@Cable Guy,

We all know where Brooke works, so if you really wanted to send her flowers, there's this little invention called Google that would have given you her address :-)

Even on Valentine's Day, she don't want you man! LMAO!

Malik said...

BTW, mean to say "A two-way street of mutual understanding is what keeps our bond strong. "

Jaz said...

@Malik,

I hear what you're saying, adn I agree, no one should force anyone to celebrate anything.

But why even bother assaulting the "sheeple"? If people blindly follow a tradition, why take the time out to verbally assualt them even if they're not trying to force you to do it? Just ignore them and this day in general, why attack those who do something you think is wrong if it's not aimed at you?

I'm happy you and your wife have a strong bond, I think that's great. I guess I just don't see the point in launching into verbal attacks on those who choose to be or do something different than you or your spouse if it's not affecting you directly. Let the "sheeple" live too. You may be a little more enlightened than most, but I'm not sure that warrants a verbal assault on anyone. Just my 2 cents.

Brooke said...

@Cable Guy,

I did send flowers today - to my sister and my mother :-)

And for the record, I have sent flowers to a man before at his job and I have given them in person. While they appreciated it, I find that most men think flowers are a waste of money...so I don't do it often.

I have, and I do, take men to dinner and buy gifts - not just on V-Day, but all year round when the mood strikes me. And I do it not expecting anything in return. If it's not from my heart, I don't do it at all.

Malik said...

Jaz I speak for the speechless.

There are countless people out there who have been muted by their significant others. That's the point of my speech and my blog. There are folks out there who want out, but don't know how to get out of participating in these traditions. I give them the ammo to free themselves. Most men have lost their...lets say "testicular fortitude" to stand up and say "I'm not going to take this anymore".

So for those who see my "vocab stab" as unrelated to them will ignore me and those who feel a spark will grab the torch and run with it. Once a person knows they are being used as a battery in the Matrix, everything changes after that day.

Jaz said...

So you think people who celebrate on this day are being used?

Either way, it seems like you're forcing your opinion on folks as if it's fact, but don't want others forcing their traditions on you. I think most men who don't want to celebrate don't do it, and if they want out, they don't get with women who celebrate it...like your wife.

But hey, if you feel your words are powerful enough where all someone has to do is pass your blog along to their partners who are muting them will "free" them, then I guess you're doing us all a great service.

Malik said...

@Jaz, Like I said earlier, those who see my words as unrelated to them will ignore me. What type of force am I using? I don't have a gun, I'm just using words. If they don't like it, they can ignore me. They can call me a buffoon, and idiot, and extremist. I could careless.

Yes I have strong opinions and I voice my strong opinions in different pockets of the internet (like I'm doing now). I'm sure there is some other blog somewhere in the blogosphere that is denouncing what I'm saying, and I'm cool with that.

Those who want a different perspective from the status quo will give an ear, those who want the standard V-Day narrative will continue doing what they do. I'm cool with the former and the latter part of my statement, but I side on more the more cautious side when it comes to the status quo.

Malik said...

Just for the record, there have been countless national studies in the U.S. and abroad that show that men have mixed feelings about Valentine's Day and some of the consumerist expectations that are imposed on them during this day.

Here is the study below:
The Pleasure And Pain Of Being Close: Men's Mixed Feelings about Participation in Valentine's Day Gift Exchange

http://www.acrwebsite.org/volumes/display.asp?id=7578

Check out the part on Obligation:

The obligation to participate is implicit in the "disappointment" or "anger" (Ellsworth and Smith 1988) that would be felt by the significant other if the respondent did not choose to participate.

What I'm getting at is it's not a slam dunk, "Everything is Great, because Everything Appears Great". What people see on the surface does not reflect what is happening when you scrape deeper behind the social psychology of a person's intention.

Serena W. said...

Happy Valentine's Day to Everyone!

Brooke you said it best and so did a few others on this blog when you stated, "...love is love. Love begins with you. Love is something that should be celebrated daily."

Even when I wasn't seeing anyone, every year without missing a beat I loved showering my mom, godchildren, nephew, sister, etc on this day. We use this day as the extra day that everyone talks about.

Today has been such a beautiful day. Despite it being the 1st without the love of my life (Mom). We would send flowers to each other (just like Brooke has today). So that part hurt a little bit today. But the love we shared for the 35 years and a month together is priceless! Daily love...

As I walked around the office sharing my love through passing out chocolates...just to see the smiles on my colleagues faces was priceless.

Getting texts this morning (just a simple text for me from a special someone) made me grin ear to ear. But I'm not the chick to expect a lot on V-Day when the love is being showered daily and the journey that I embark with that loved one has a bright path.

I truly dislike when people spread their negativity towards others and for what??? Let them/us whomever celebrate and leave us/them/etc alone. I'm super nice but will brush you off in half a second if I think you are trying to rain on my parade. It's uncalled for...

I have a lot to be thankful for and today instead of being upset/depressed I'm full of love (plus this 70 degree weather is wonderful)!

Love yourself so you can make room to love others (I did even in my darkest hours and because of it I'm full of joy and love today).

Happy Valentines to Everyone. Brooke thanks for this blog, Jaz thanks for suggesting it.

P.S...I think Valentine's is a two way street brother's. But shouldn't be a contest as to who can spend the most. It's really about love (from both ends).

Jaz said...

Well, not trying to debate. I understand strong opinions, but that just read a bit arrogant to me, that's all. To each his own.

Serena, I agree with you totally! I'm sad that you don't have your mom this year, but you were blessed enough to have her for 35 years and she's still with you now. She's smiling down on you :)

Great blog Brooke, and Happy Valentine's Day!

The Cable Guy said...

@Stef,

Such a hater! LOL!

And that's why you're a keeper Brooke. You're the type who deserves to have a happy Valentine's Day...and every day. Whoever lands you is a lucky man.

Serena W. said...

Thanks Jaz :)

Malik said...

@Jaz, you are debating. It's okay, debating is not an evil thing. It helps us to understand where we are coming from in hopes that we can come to a mutual understanding.

Hmm..."sounds arrogant", huh? Notice how I have not implied anything about you and you have already started with the name calling. I offer facts while you offer conjecture.

The Cable Guy said...

@Serena,

Your post made me smile :-) You're an inspiration.

Wishing you more love today and always.

Jaz said...

Saying something reads arrogant is not "name calling." It's my opinion, but I'm not calling you a name. But you can say: "Most of my assaults are leveled at the mindless "sheeple" who arrogantly force their significant others to participate in V-day because they want to adhere to blind tradition while discounting the 364 other days where the person was loving and caring."

Saying people are "mindless sheeple" is name calling...and you said they "arrogantly force their significant others to participate" - so you can say who is arrogant but I can't? Seems a bit hypocritical to me.

Yeah, you offer facts while name calling. But anyone can find a "fact" to support what they believe, just like I can.

It's whatever.

Courtney said...

I was just going to say the same thing Jaz with regard to the "arrogant" comment since you both used the word. It's your opinion, you're entitled to it, just like he is. And you weren't name calling, you didn't say HE was arrogant, you said his comment "read" that way. I feel you.

Just let it go. If he wants to speak for the men who don't have the balls to say they don't want to celebrate a holiday, then let him speak for the weak since he is so strong and not with the status quo. Enjoy your Valentine's Day and hopefully you'll spend it with a man who is doing something special for you because he wants to, not because he feels forced to.

Malik said...

@Jaz, com'on...Yes people who force people to do things they don't want to do are "mindless sheeple". I stand by that, that's why I said it.

You can discount the study if you want, but facts are facts.

Anonymous said...

There's no reason to "assualt" anyone with words. Most times people have a valid point, but it gets lost when people try to beat you over the head with it.

Jaz said...

"Facts" can be fabricated.

And I would think the poeple who FOLLOW what other people force them to do are the mindless sheeple, not the people doing the forcing, as you stated.

Either way, I find it funny that you can stand by your name calling, but imply that I'm wrong for doing the same thing...even though I didn't call you a name. Hypocrisy.

@Anonymous, I agree.

Thanks Courtney, I was wondering if it was just me noticing the pot calling the kettle black. You have a great Valentine's Day too!

Thank you for the blog Brooke. I appreciate that you can write a blog where you state your opinion without making it seem like you're the one who knows it all. You let everyone express themselves and discuss whether you agree or not - and I appreciate you taking my suggestion to write about today's topic.

I'm signing off, have a great night everyone!

Brooke said...

Anytime Jaz, you have a great night too!

Malik said...

Well, we've all be assaulted in some way or form by the propaganda that has been perpetrated by many who are way bigger than me who have validated this day via billions and billions of corporate marketing nudging us to the tune of their own drum.

Look up Edward Bernays and The Century of Self documentary by the BBC. It really gets the root of what I'm getting at.

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