California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

You can still be tickled pink about Valentine’s Day

Illustration by Dina Arakcheyeva/The Pioneer

Illustration by Dina Arakcheyeva/The Pioneer

Veronica Hall,
Layout Designer

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In elementary school, Valentine’s Day was a fun experience. We ate candy with our friends and made heart-shaped arts and crafts, all while passing out Valentines Day cards to the whole class.

Back then, everyone was our valentine.

Fast forward to college, where the Valentine’s Day experience is more complicated. Although enjoyable to some, Feb. 14 can be difficult if you don’t have a “valentine” to spend the day with.  

I recently became single, so I was dreading the day of love, but I decided to keep that same enjoyable outlook from grade school and apply it to this Valentine’s Day.

After hours of scrolling through dating apps and denying offers by my taken friends to join them as a third wheel, I decided there had to be a better way to celebrate being a “free woman.” I took to Google and searched for events around the Bay for Valentine’s Day weekend. I decided not to plan anything, because nothing ever really goes according to plan. I decided to stay positive and hope for the best.  

I have always been a fan of Valentine’s Day, and looked forward to it. Maybe it was because my name started with a “V” or that I got to wear pink, but the day always gave me a fuzzy feeling. As years passed and I saw Valentine’s Day excitement dwindle, I couldn’t figure out why. Yes, it was a day aimed at couples, but what about showing love to everyone in your life?

In grade school, we’re taught to love each other, but in adulthood we’re shown that you can’t celebrate Valentine’s Day unless you’re in love and in a relationship or married. While a lot of that is based on advertising portrays the holiday, it’s also how we let our feelings change from growing up. Valentine’s Day is not just another day or a stupid holiday, it’s a day dedicated to love in all of its forms.

I was lucky enough to have a mother that bought my brother and me Valentine’s Day gifts every year. As we both got older, we would then get her something as well. It wasn’t about the gifts, it was about giving love to the people closest to us. We saw her face light up as we walked in with her two favorite things, flowers and chocolates, and I knew there was no better feeling.

Being single has shown me that I still have a lot of love to give. It’s easy to get caught up in the “relationship” aspect of Valentine’s Day, but it’s not just about that. It’s about what makes your heart happy and who in your life does that for you.

Valentine’s Day is often coined as a gratuitous Hallmark holiday. According to Nielsen, an organization that studies consumer trends, about 35 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are sold and 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year.

The way people view Valentine’s Day has also evolved in recent years. Feb. 15 is now the designated Singles Awareness Day, which gives single people a day to celebrate or to commiserate in their single status, according to singlesawareness.com.

In Finland, Valentine’s Day is called “Ystävänpäivä,” which translates into “Friend’s day” according to the Biginfinland.com blog. It’s more about enjoying your buddies and offering them caring gestures, rather than a romantic partner.

Feb. 13 is celebrated as “Galentine’s Day” which was coined in 2010 on the popular comedy show Parks and Recreation, according to the Independent. The day was specifically created for girlfriends to celebrate their friendship. Whether in a relationship, single or in a committed relationship with your friends, these days there is something for everyone.

This Valentine’s Day, I woke up to a card from my mom. I spammed my friends with hearts in our group text, and I went to work babysitting a young girl whose eyes lit up when I gave her a cupid monkey stuffed animal. As she ran up to hug me and I saw the joy in her face, I knew once again that love had no boundaries.

We love so much as kids, and it’s important to still carry that idea into adulthood. As college students, we get easily wrapped up in our busy worlds, especially since Cal State East Bay’s quarter system causes Valentine’s Day to fall right around midterms.

But no matter what your relationship status is, there are a ton of people who love you. Use the holiday as a day to love in every way that you can.

Remember: there is still an adoring child in all of us.

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You can still be tickled pink about Valentine’s Day