Despite being married to an attractive older woman, Ashton Kutcher recently voiced a surprising opinion.
“I hate Valentine’s Day,” he said.
The rose bouquets, candlelight dinners and inevitable movie dates to see Dear John.
But while a romantic trip to The Lab (or the 2-9) might be just enough to suit your date’s fancy, grand gestures of love are not exclusive to the world of celebrity. While Heidi Klum and hubby Seal may be exchanging cars during February’s love fest, the rest of the world will surely be indulging in much more scaled-down versions of society’s glorious, commercialized display of fine dining and chocolate truffles.
Perhaps some will take a note from pre-baby Angelina Jolie who in 2000 showed her devotion to then-husband Billy Bob Thornton by wearing a vial of his blood as a necklace. Jay-Z adorned Beyoncé with a platinum, diamond-encrusted cell phone one year, while Courteney Cox treated husband David Arquette to something all rich and famous people need: a full-size carousel horse.
This weekend, throngs of girls will inevitably drag an unwilling contingent from The Row to watch Kutcher’s movie Valentine’s Day, posing the question: Can budding relationships of young love actually be serious, or are they merely obligations, constructed and shaped by our existing views in popular culture?
Aside from the shaky, on-and-off again hookups resulting from poor control of teenage hormones, serious college relationships — and the ability to maintain them — are unquestionably difficult, though certainly not impossible. Valentine’s Day, however, offers a self-inflicted social critique for those who can’t seem to get it right.
After all, society and the money-making hype surrounding cupid’s big day tells us that being alone on Valentine’s Day is just the first step in a lifetime of romantic woes that eventually lead us to becoming the neighborhood cat lady or the creepy old man who spends his free time lurking at Hollywood nightclubs.
At the start of the new year, college students set out to pursue a string of lofty resolutions: go to the gym more, actually keep up with assigned reading and party less. But for many, the search for young love ranks among the top.
After a month of following through, Valentine’s Day offers a grade report of one’s progress — or lack thereof. Within the stressful social setting present on college campuses today, the day of reckoning reaffirms the pressure for young people to be connected, seriously or not. The scenario has become a bit of a college cliché: two sweethearts forcefully clinging to one another, not out of mutual feeling but for the sake of conforming to a standard.
The circle of pointlessness is further amplified when immature pairings come to a disastrous end — a frequent occurrence in modern-day Hollywood. Whether we give in to the celebrations this weekend, perhaps the college scene is still a little too light-hearted and carefree for the indefinite battlefield that more serious love most often proves to be.
In the trailer for his new movie, Kutcher says, “Valentine’s Day comes once a year, whether you like it or not.” With our society so engulfed in romanticism (and heavy chocolate consumption), I guess we’ll just have to get used to it.
Christopher Agutos is a junior majoring in political science and public relations. His column “Pop Life” runs Wednesdays.