No matter your relationship status, February 14 is fraught with peril

Hate is a strong word, especially when it comes to a day that’s dedicated to the opposite emotion, but my distaste for the revered holiday has only increased over the years. Don’t get me wrong; I think love is a wonderful concept, and I love discounted chocolates the day after, but the holiday most definitely rubs me the wrong way.

Art by Effren Villanueva | Daily Trojan

On Valentine’s Day, the difference between people who are single and those who are taken is never more apparent. For those who are single, Valentine’s Day is a blatant reminder of their relationship statuses. People have not-so-jokingly deemed it Singles Awareness Day for a reason, but on top of that, the day might trigger an unwelcome memory of an ex or bitter thoughts about an unrequited lover.  However, the day is a good opportunity for us single people to push through the sparkly hearts and impractical stuffed bears and practice some self-love. We can settle down with ice cream to binge watch our favorite series (as if we don’t do that already), and wait out the 24-hour time period that thankfully comes only once a year, before returning to our normal routines the following day.

The second group involves those who are taken. I use the term broadly to include a wide scope of people. From those in committed relationships to others who are in the “talking” stages, Valentine’s Day primarily acts as an excuse for couples to flaunt their relationship statuses while the former category looks on. Let’s be real — the luxury, 100-count boxes of roses are mainly for Instagram feeds and set unrealistic standards. They’re no more than fuel for a capitalist system, shrouded by the lovesick premise of the occasion.

I suppose I should address the gray areas, too. Valentine’s Day can be the “make it or break it” mark for budding relationships. While it could be the final nudge toward becoming an official couple, it can also create issues for those who have yet to define the relationship but don’t want more than they already have. One person may be expecting a nice dinner and the promise of a grand future, while the other just wants to sit in the dorm alone. Cue the frosty feelings.

Feb. 14 forces us to stop and examine the concept of love and our understanding of it, as painful or joyous as that may be. But do we really need to devote an entire day to the notion of love and undying affection? It creates enormous pressure for both single people and those in relationships alike in a way that detracts from the original intent. Besides, people can demonstrate their care for their loved ones any day of the week, with or without the fanfare.