Valentine’s day is over publicized, pointless
In elementary school, Valentine’s Day week was synonymous with red cutout hearts made from construction paper, taped up with candy that my then-7-year-old classmates would distribute. It was all innocent fun until our teacher would say: “Take out your gifts and count them, kids.” Unspoken rules demanded that the person with the most “gifts” earned bragging rights and took a step up on the social ladder. Evidently America hasn’t matured since elementary school at all — instead, candy hearts have been replaced with flowers and gift counting with social media posts. Because at the end of the day, Valentine’s Day is still about public display, bragging rights and social ladders. If you have a Facebook — photo caption: “dinner with the most special girl I could ask for 3” — or know anyone in a relationship — “Oh my god, he bought me flowers!” — or just live in America, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
This Valentine’s Day, Qdoba is encouraging others to “share the love” by offering a free entree to “guests who pucker up with a significant other, friend, family member or understanding stranger.” In other words, you better have a significant other or be prepared to fake it until you make it, because 21st century America still celebrates dependency on another, or its false public claim thereof, even in an age when independence and finding happiness within oneself is said to be admired.
While I believe my successes as a single, independent woman should be celebrated just as much as the fantasy of having a significant other, the need for companionship is understandable. According to the Mental Health Foundation, loneliness is mainly found in young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 years and is linked to increased stress, anxiety and depression and can, in fact, lead to suicide. There is no doubt then that having a significant other can alleviate those findings.
However, it is important to note that the most successful relationships do not need annual reminders, material markers or public testaments. In fact, the most successful relationships are built on the exact opposite — an understanding that two people can survive, and even thrive, in the absence of such things during times of trial and tribulation. It is the job of Hallmark, Dove and other companies like Qdoba to play on the pressures of social expectations, but it is the consumer’s responsibility to understand that the best gift given to others isn’t a case of chocolate or a free entree, but rather the confidence that things of those nature aren’t necessary for a healthy relationship and that waiting for the right one is not a taboo. In the mean time, I’ll mentally press the dislike button for every cliché post that makes its way onto my newsfeed and happily treat myself to an evening of work on “Congratulations, You’re Still Successfully Single” Day.
Naaz Modan is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year majoring in political science.