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Social Studies

Valentine’s Day? Meh Add to ...

Two cheers for Valentine’s Day

“When Valentine’s Day arrives,” says the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, “only about 60 per cent of Americans will celebrate, making just about every other holiday except St. Patrick’s Day more popular.”

Forget the grand gestures

“You know what your introverted sweetheart probably wouldn’t appreciate? Being proposed to at a packed ballpark, on the Jumbotron. That grand but misguided gesture alone might be reason to decline,” writes Sophia Dembling, author of The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World, in Psychology Today. “Sure, we like your eyes on us, but not the eyes of thousands of strangers. We have nothing against grand gestures, but not in public, please. … We don’t want you to drop to a knee in the middle of a restaurant to declare your love. You don’t have to shout it for all the world to hear. No, really. It’s fine. We believe you.”

Leave ‘honey’ out of it

“Pet names – ‘honey,’ ‘darling,’ ‘super-snuggly-puggly,’ whatever – need to be expunged from a couple’s vocabulary, say Julienne Davis and Maggie Arana, authors of Stop Calling Him Honey … And Start Having Sex!,” says The Cleveland Plain Dealer. “‘It turns people into an asexual, cuddly teddy-bear that you want to spoon with and watch funny movies with and drink hot chocolate with,’ says Davis, ‘but it doesn’t make you want to shag them!’ … While researching their book, Davis and Arana say they found an interesting pattern: The worse the pet names used by a couple, the worse their sex lives were. In turn, the couples that didn’t use them tended to have healthier sex lives.”

We can always be friends

“There is no holiday celebrating friendship, but only since the mid-19th century has romance been elevated above other types of love,” writes Simon May, author of Love: A History, in The Washington Post. “For most ancient Greeks, for example, friendship was every bit as passionate and valuable as romantic-sexual love. Aristotle regarded friendship as a lifetime commitment to mutual welfare, in which two people become ‘second selves’ to each other. … Today, friendship has been demoted beneath the idea of romance, but they should be on an equal footing. We tend to regard our friendships as inferior to our romances in passion, intimacy and depth of commitment. Often they’re little more than confessionals in which we seek a sympathetic ear to help us fix – or escape – our romances. When Harry met Sally, they progressed from friends to lovers. And on Facebook, we’re all ‘friends’ now, further downgrading the meaning of what should be a selective and multifaceted bond.”

It’s not me, it’s you

“Valentine’s is on a par with Christmas and Easter in terms of commercialization. It is easy to assume the day can only be marked by spending cash,” writes Dr. Petra Boynton, The Telegraph’s sex and relationships columnist. “Valentine’s Day is supposed to be a day to celebrate love, but it is also a day to celebrate particular kinds of relationships. People who are lesbian, gay, bi, asexual; who are trans; or who desire or are in alternative relationships, may struggle. This may be either because they do not feel able to be out about their genders, sexualities or relationships; or that they want to be out but know that this would lead to problems – for example, being the only lesbian pair in a restaurant full of straight couples on Valentine’s night might feel threatening – or even be met with hostility and abuse.”

Thought du jour

“Let your love be like the misty rain, coming softly, but flooding the river.”

Madagascan saying

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