Words By Rosie Cook
Valentine’s day is always a funny one in general really isn’t it? Consumerism hits fill speed and soon enough you’re paying double the price to show the same amount of love you show to someone every-day or, even more frustratingly so, you’re just trying to go about your everyday life without having that intrusive pop of red obstruct your vision. Part of me wants to hate Valentine’s day, but the girl sitting on the sofa every night watching the same rom coms a thousand times over and crying every single time, is telling me to stop fooling myself. When it comes to love I’m here for it, I’m ready to be showered in affection and constantly told how great I am, so why then, when the Valentine’s day bomb is dropped I, amongst so many others, am at the firing line ready to bash it, agreeing that it is in fact a waste of time. Isn’t it ironic that Valentines is felt to be futile in so many respects but love itself is the fuel that arguably keeps the world going? Or perhaps it is the consumerism that the world of love attracts, that keeps the world going – what a bleak thought. Is this the needle of consumerism infecting everything and everyone once again? It and COVID, working in perfect harmony to convince you that the Amazon Prime delivery waiting outside your door every-day, is a good thing. At the end of October last year, it was recorded that pandemic sales helped the company triple its profits amid a 37% increase in earnings. With Valentine’s day possibly just being fuel to the fire when it comes to these figures, it is no wonder that it is viewed with such scepticism.
What does the 2021 Valentine’s day look like then? How is this funny day going to come to be without a meal deal at Prezzo followed by a below average film at the Odeon? Oh, simpler times. As many of us are at home, not even with our respective other or maybe with them but wanting to kill them at this point, a day of LDA (lockdown displays of affection) makes us roll our eyes and laugh out of a feeling of ridiculousness as Valentine’s day has possibly become the most complex and confusing yet. “Am I bad for not getting them a present?”, “Are we even doing valentine’s day?”, “How about a ‘galentines’ on Zoom?”. No longer are we able to drown out the constant murmur of ‘treat the one you love this valentines’ with double vodka and cokes, in a bar blasting ABBA, crowded by friends. Instead, this year the murmur is maybe louder than ever and blocking it out becomes a pint of wine, slouched in your front room with the depressing ambience of Boris’s Coronavirus updates embodying the backing track to your evenings. Whether we are blocking it out or absorbing every last bit of it: dancing in the kitchen with the one you love or crying on the carpet with your cat, it will be done within four walls and telephone calls.
It’s easy to say Valentine’s day is pointless and, in many respects, I would agree but if we take the soppiness and consumerism out, is there something good left? I would argue that the problematic nature of Valentine’s day has intoxicated and clouded its main purpose of what its actually trying to celebrate: love. Its attempt to categorise love as a box of chocolates, fake roses and an abundance of heteronormativity insults modern-day love, the two don’t correlate. Therefore, that is why we can love, love but hate Valentines. It feels as though it’s stuck in the past dominated by cliché’s and traditionalisms that could not feel further away from love’s current moment. The question arises of whether Valentines should be forgotten or rehabilitated into something more reflective of what love actually looks like in 2021. What it looks like where so many ‘I love you’s’ and words of care are not being physically spoken between two people but typed out on the screen of a phone or heard over the faint crackle of video calls. With nowhere to go to outwardly display your love, will creativity spark and the limitless possibilities of love flourish? Not through the trap of consumerism but of the simple, ultimate, undeniable necessity that in a world clouded by hardship all you need and all you want, is love.