All. Girls. Love. Valentine’s. Day. But. Guys. Don’t. intoned one of my students earnestly. I forget what we were discussing, but I remember one of the guys saying: I. Love. Valentine’s. Day. His arms were crossed and he looked quite resolute.
I. Don’t. Like. It. I blurted out. The students stared at me, even the ones who had been absorbed in Facebook on their laptops. They waited for an explanation. Instead, I turned the discussion back to Habermas and the public sphere.
Today on the radio I heard that people in relationships have healthier lives.
I thought about single people I know who lead contented lives and coupled people who are desperately unhappy. I thought how much pressure the whole hearts and flowers thing imposes.
So on Valentine’s Day I think about love and affection in a generalized sense. Mostly, I think about my friends and how unhealthy my life would be without them.
In Finland (I heard this on the radio, too), Valentine’s Day really does celebrate friendship. Similarly, in Mexico, “Dia del Amor y la Amistad” celebrates love and friendship. In Guatemala, it is the Day of Affection.
In ancient Rome (this according to Wikipedia) Lupercallia was observed February 13 to 15 and it celebrated fertility.
Love can have so many different meanings. Western culture has limited its definition; capitalism has turned it into a unit of consumption.
In Ghana, Valentine’s Day is known as Chocolate Day. I have no argument with that, even though its intent is to stimulate the domestic chocolate industry.
In Japan on Valentine’s Day, women give chocolates to their male co-workers. A similiar tradition exists in South Korea. However, they also have a day for single men in April, called “Black Day”, during which they congregate and consume black noodles.
Who really knows how much of this is true. My point is very simple: on Valentine’s Day, give a shout out to your friends.