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Perception of love not affected by day

By Veronica Santos, scene editor
On February 17, 2014

  • Music majors Stephanie Rios (right) and Selenne Hernandez (middle) are showcased on the latest album by Jazzanova and JAZZ-ology titled “Starting Here, Starting Now.”. George Morin / The Advocate

Being an adult on Valentine's Day is terrifying.
Looking back, I remember going to the store with my mother to pick out just the right Valentine's Day cards for my class.
The only choices I had to make were between Looney Tunes or Ninja Turtles, or if I wanted to bring cupcakes or cookies to the class' party.
The hardest decision I had to face was which Valentine's Day card I wanted to give to the lucky boy I had a crush on.
It needed to be the cleverest of them all.
There was no pressure. I was just looking forward to candy and not doing schoolwork.
Today, stepping out to have lunch only to be seated near a couple who sit next to each other instead of across from each other is nauseating.
Although an everyday occurrence, the fact that it is Valentine's Day makes the action worse.
I find myself sitting there judging, knowing it is only happening due to the pressures of having to be romantic on a certain day.
Even while in a relationship, Valentine's Day has become less special and a hassle.
Although I never celebrate with my boyfriend, a little part of me wants a box of chocolates and sunflowers when I wake up in the morning and I am unsure why.
My only assumption could be the display of red and pink packaged treats that scream to be consumed.
And social pressures have made me believe that receiving these items is validation that someone loves me. But that is easy.
I have met women who expect jewelry and $100 a plate dinners from their boyfriends and husbands on Valentine's Day.
One can only imagine what they expect for their anniversaries.
It was much more simple as a child.
Showing one's feelings meant buying a candy gram or making a card with glitter and markers and it only cost a few dollars.
There was no need for physical contact or pressure to have sex.
Years ago, trying to connect with my romantic side, I visited a website to find a restaurant where I could celebrate.
Almost every restaurant I had in mind was booked and every other restaurant only had spots open after 9 p.m.
The flower selections at the grocery store were lacking by the afternoon and all of the funny, witty Valentine's Day cards were taken.
I did not realize how much planning it took just to be somewhat romantic.
It felt as though I needed to be responsible just to remember to make reservations weeks in advance.
Finding flowers felt like a competition.
Eventually, I gave up after realizing everything I had planned felt like a cliché.
Yet the clichés were impressive as a child. Girls amused themselves with sweets and cards with cartoon characters.
Valentine's Day was exciting, a gathering of friends and acquaintances in the classroom.
There was no pressure to be extravagant.
Now it feels as though Valentine's Day is a reminder that if one is in a relationship, there is a job to be done.
And if you are single, a man or woman walking around with flowers feels like a slap in the face, reminding you of your age, making you question why you are nowhere near settling down.
This Valentine's Day, single or not, ditch the social conventions of Valentine's Day.
Celebrate the way children do. Gather all of your loved ones instead of just your significant other.
There is no need to impress those who already appreciate the love you give them year round.
The only thing relationships call for is the experience of enjoying each other's company. 

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