Happy Valentine’s Day

Tony Guadagnino is a marketing consultant. Located in New Jersey, his clients are based across the country, focusing on social media to build their presence on the internet. He studied creative writing in college and is currently working his first novel on the subject of bullying. He lives with his partner Mark.

February 14th – the one day a year where we are required to say “I Love You” to our partners. For many years, Valentine’s Day was my least favorite holiday. Maybe I was jealous because I had spent 35 of the “love” holiday single; practically any and all relationships I had during that period of time always ended before the beginning of February. When I watched everyone get flowers and candy and presents when you’re alone – well, I guess I was a bitter man.

This year will be the 12th Valentine’s Day that Mark and I share together. I am happy and feel blessed every day to have such an incredible guy who loves me for who I am (the good and the bad). We clicked from our very first date; and the ride we have taken has been a very exciting one.

Having a significant other in my life has not changed my feelings for Valentine’s Day – it’s still my least favorite holiday. So I guess I wasn’t bitter; I just do not like the holiday.

I have no problem saying “I Love You” to Mark (there you go Mark, it’s in writing now), but why do we need to express those feelings in an expensive present? It was cute when we were little kids and we’d send Valentine’s cards to each other. It was cute when we’d make Valentine’s cards with red construction paper to give to Mom and Grandma. It was cute when we’d wear our red shirts to school to commemorate the holiday with a party of heart-shaped candy and pink-frosted cupcakes. All of that was – cute!

High school kids would give stuffed animals (bears, puppies, kittens), holding little red hearts that read ‘Be Mine,’ ‘I Wuv You,’ ‘You’re The Cat’s Meow,’ which was followed with a date to the movies or an expensive dinner (about $15 per person was expensive during high school). That was fun.

When we became adults, the rules changed and are a lot different. The pressure is on us to spend hundreds of dollars on things to show our appreciation to have someone in our life. The U. S. Greeting Card Association estimates that over 190 million Valentine’s Day cards are sold every year, and worldwide, over $14 billion is spent each year for Valentine’s Day related gifts. Breaking the bank has become the way contemporary people are forced to show their love for one another? Could this holiday really be more about the amount we spend versus the feelings we have for each other?

If anyone out there feels they must spend lots of money on the holiday, then all I can say to you is “Enjoy”! I have no right to tell someone how to spend Valentine’s Day. My problem is the pressure we are required to break open the piggy banks once a year. Don’t we express our love to one another every day? Mark and I are practical (ok, we’re cheap!); our twelve years of love show each one another that that we don’t need to celebrate Valentine’s Day with trumpets and fanfare. (Just ask about the time I made a dentist appointment on Feb 14th). Simple but practical things (like baking our favorite brownies and watching our favorite movie) are enough for us.

What am I saying? My point is this: people don’t need a special day to say “I Love You” to your partner, your husband, your boyfriend, your lover. Every day that you’re together expresses those feelings. Spend the 14th of February doing whatever you want, but don’t over-indulge. Enjoy the day whatever you want to do.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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