I just got home from canned gimmick places in Makati. The long human queues in hot restaurants, couples on the loose, flowers, single and date groups, heart drawn banners, promo cards and a couple of late night bands seem to have united for one specific weekend purpose. Yes, it's officially Valentine's.
My friend and I met at a school in Makati where her nephew, niece and my brother are currently studying. After reminiscing our childhood memories when cotton candies and squid balls made us happy, we went to Greenbelt and drowned the afternoon away. After a couple of meaningful conversations over coffee, our significant others showed up from their respective work places, as we prepared for our dinner engagements. At that time I can already smell Valentines in the air.
I saw girls exquisitely dressed, rushing to various spots to meet their dates. I saw a couple of men with packages, flowers and balloons. Women, who are obviously single, were grouped like school of fishes preparing for a date of their own. Almost everyone seems to have worn their calm and smiling faces. That is good though, people are obviously emanating love. But there are a couple of bulls about Valentines that I cannot deny for myself. For one, I am an anti-thesis and sometimes Valentines do test me.
Bull # 1: Valentines are for couples only.
People have started to cope and in these modern times being single is not such a bad idea. There are a lot of things going on, a lot of responsibilities, demands and increased networks can keep a single's hands full. Independence and self-fulfillment are signs of strength nowadays and it's not surprising to see women in groups going out and having fun providing another brand of "dating" amongst sea of couples. They don't force the issue of dating just because it's Valentines.
Valentines are experienced first and special with family and friends.
Bull # 2: People should go with the tide.
It's funny when couples force the issue. Suffering from deathly traffic, going out of their way to impress one another, and expecting something grand are signs and symptoms that you've surrendered to the bad side of Valentines. Valentines may be a special day to express your love and appreciation to the person, but it doesn't follow that you have to commit "public suicide" when some undesired factors are concerned. I don't necessarily find it impressive when a guy goes all out as a mere obligation to this day. Valentines isn't supposed to make any difference with any other days anyways. As a couple it should be felt year round.
People shouldn't expect something that isn't realistic just to conform with what Valentines is all about. Valentines may force the issue of extravagance just to prove ones love for each other. The tide of expecting and conformity isn't sweet at all when the morning after, you're back in a gloomy place wishing that Valentine's is still around the corner. Valentine's should celebrate the love we already have, and not to conform with dates, flowers and surprises just to prove that the love you thought was missing is still there.
Bull # 3: Men give and Women Receive
By tradition, Valentines are for girls. Girls should be made special and woed on this day the second time around. Well, not in my book. If one has to celebrate this day, there is nothing wrong with Women taking the lead, especially if the woman wants and demands specifications. It's not also funny when women expect what other women may have. Flowers, chocolates and expensive dinners are so passe. Women can also do their share. He pays for dinner, she pays for the movies. She pays the gas, he pays the lunch out of town. He does the action, she does the research. It's a mutual celebration. It's a party made by two people and it feels right and truthful when it turns out to be like that.
But there is nothing wrong when guys want to surprise and take the lead though. It always sweeps admiration from girls, but they must do it for the right reasons. Sometimes its uplifting for few women to give them an opportunity to show their appreciation to their significant others. It's liberating and it's fair. So, I'm not the one to chide away women who do that. In fact I'm impressed by it. I think it's just right and most heartfelt.
Bull # 4: Valentines is depressing.
Let's face it, some people, particularly singles and attached to non-conformist valentinos might feel slighted and depressed because they are not getting what traditional people are getting. Their significant others may not be able to take them on dates, specific dates that they want, because their dates aren't natural planners or they do not have the right means and time. Some may feel too depressed because they don't have any "significant other" to celebrate it with and they're clogged onto the notion that Valentines is for couples only.
Listen up. The only one making you feel depressed is yourself. Do not blame the occasion. There are lots of things to do as a couple, as a group and as a single person. Do not be bogged by false traditions and commercialism. No one is demanding you to adhere to this occasion anyways. If the love is already present and randomly celebrated, then Valentines doesn't make any difference. If the person is unattached then Valentines shouldn't make it any harder. Spending it with your family, your friends and even your pet is true to the essence itself. Do not be a slave to Valentines' commercialism and expectations because that will make you feel depressed. If you can't grasp the real meaning of the Valentines, then the only one to blame for your depression is yourself.
Valentines for me is just another day in the calendar. I don't specifically need it nor adhere to it. I find it cheesy to be overdoing something I should have the means to enjoy all year round. If I have lots of demands, I go for it myself and I don't depend on the other person to satiate my desires. It's not fair and I believe it's not heartfelt. I let my man do his own way of celebrating and I suggest my way of doing it, in that case we are not slaves to the Valentines formula. We don't want to kid ourselves with the illusion of grand shows and surprises. What for when the one we are celebrating is right here with us? We enjoy a dinner like we always do, celebrate the love that we always have and leave the metropolis to head off to the suburbs where we can escape the traffic. Valentines, done in the traditional way of dates, flowers and surprises, is not a formula that we usually follow. There's nothing wrong with it, but sometimes we get trapped in this seasons' bulls, and frankly that's not our cup of tea.