Love is in the air.
Valentine’s Day is in less than a week. The holiday has multiple different connotations, and Guilford students especially have far-ranging opinions on it. On the one side, there are many already making plans with their loved ones, whether romantic, platonic or familial.
Some of these plans take the more traditional Valentine’s Day route, such as watching a movie and getting chocolates for each other. Others are more involved, including grander events and homemade gifts.
“I was thinking of making my girlfriend a continuation of a photo album that she made me, and then taking her out to dinner,” said junior Sierra Mendez-Neff.
Even those without specific plans can get into the holiday spirit more so than is usually expected in a simpler holiday such as this.
“I like Valentine’s Day,” said Amelia Wellman, a junior. “I’m the kind of person who when it’s Valentine’s Day I try to color-coordinate my outfit.”
On the other side, many view Valentine’s Day very critically. Multiple people dislike the holiday, or at least challenge the norms and expectations of it.
One of those norms is the expectation for couples to do things for each other that they would not normally do. The problem lies with how the holiday manipulates couples into acting a certain way just because it is a certain day.
“I honestly think it’s a day when people feel like they have to do something special for their significant other, instead of it being a day to just love them like every other day,” said Mara Stewart, a junior.
Another common issue that people have with the holiday is the ways in which capitalism takes advantage of young couples.
“I feel like the gifts that people buy for each can be really overpriced, like heart-shaped boxes of candy will cost you 20 bucks,” said Wellman.
For some the expectation to spend that money is unrealistic or unwanted but still a concern that weighs down on them. While not unavoidable, there is the issue of how Valentine’s Day culture creates the idea that that money is supposed to be spent a certain way.
Do these two sides necessarily have to go against each other? Or is there a way to experience Valentine’s Day with loved ones without having to meet any special expectations?
For many, there is a way.
“I think it’s a nice day to focus on your loved ones, and not necessarily on a date or with somebody that you’re dating,” said Mendez-Neff. “I think Valentine’s Day should be for whoever you appreciate in your life, such as friends or your family. People you appreciate.”
There is also a plethora of cheaper ways to spend Valentine’s Day, with a significant other or otherwise. Just on Guilford’s campus there are a number of free events happening on the day of Valentine’s Day and the weekend before.
Today is Womyn with a Y, tomorrow is the Yule Ball and Valentine’s Day itself has a vegan cook off. These are only a few of the events happening.
As controversial as Valentine’s Day can be, it is an opportunity to spend time with those you love and enjoy cheap chocolate in stores the day after.