The day that the entire male species hates has finally arrived: today is Valentine’s Day. Next to Christmas, a birthday, or a special anniversary, the expectations for this particular holiday are so high that ramifications for not bringing flowers to her door step could be deadly.

I’m not sure why this holiday started; I honestly think it’s one big ploy by Hallmark to get some extra card sales in the middle of February. Think about it – after Christmas and the New Year, the next big card-worthy holiday isn’t until late March/early April for Easter. It would only make sense to throw an extra holiday in there to make the Card Gods happy.

I used to actually enjoy Valentine’s Day. I think we all used to at some point. Remember in elementary school when you would spend a week in your classrooms decorating Valentine’s Mail Boxes? You used red and pink markers, cardboard hearts and lots of glitter to make your box shine amongst the rivals. Then, you would go grocery shopping with your parents in search of the perfect box of mini-cards complete with Hello Kitty temporary tattoos, or yummy heart lollipops. This is all in anticipation for V-Day, when half the class was spent on dropping valentine’s into fellow classmates boxes. No doubt, the best part of this experience was sifting through all your valentines, hoping to receive a special gift from your crush or fourth grade significant other.

That is the Valentine’s Day that I wish to remember as we come to V-Day 2013. Some of us are in a relationship (and the pressure is on), some of us are not (and the Single’s Awareness Day begins) and some of us choose to spend this Thursday like we do most others. Why make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day when each day with your significant other should be special?

I do not have an answer to this, because I can see both sides of the spectrum: the men, who would rather not make a big deal out of February 14, and the women, who spend the month waiting for this magical date.

All I can do is offer some advice. It’s up to you if you want to take it or not. (1) Women, do not put pressure on your man to make this day the absolute most romantic night of your life. It will not be, because your man isn’t Channing Tatum, and you will be disappointed with the actual cute results from a real man standing in front of you; (2) Women who are single, do not take the joy from your happy friends who are excited about their plans, just because it’s one more day that you realize you’re alone. Don’t be alone – plan a single girls’ night and go out with friends instead; (3) Men, do something nice for your girlfriends. Buy her flowers, or a stuffed animal, or chocolate (or any combination of the three). It’s one day out of the year where she will be expecting it, or will at least love the gesture. Bite that bullet and spend the $20 on something meaningful.

Today does not have to come with pressure. It’s one day among 364 others. Spend it with positivity and the people you love to be around and it will undoubtedly be a success.

By Mark Pickett


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