Is It Time We Stopped Celebrating Valentine's Day? No!

13/02/2015 17:44 GMT | Updated 15/04/2015 10:59 BST
Jeff J Mitchell via Getty Images

As a journalist, and thus professional-grade pithy Tweeter, it wouldn't be unreasonable for you to expect my views on Valentine's Day to basically comprise some snotty "worst Valentine's Day PR email ever" zingers. You would, though, be wrong.

The truth is, I love Valentine's Day. I genuinely think it's great. Not because I'm terrible at expressing my love for my girlfriend the other 364 days of the year or because I'm vulnerable to spending an unreasonable amount of money on panic-bought roses and chocolate. I don't even like Love Actually. But you know what? I think Valentine's Day has value simply as a time for us to actually focus on being extra nice to each other, even just for a day.

We've all read a hundred think-pieces on how we're living in the age of boundless snark, cynicism and scepticism, so I'll spare you one of them. Put simply we're more cynical and negative than we've ever been and I think it's past time we more often shamelessly - and perhaps more importantly unironically - enjoyed stuff.

I get that Valentine's Day is a corporate sham. But so is Easter, Thanksgiving (which is apparently now A Thing in the UK), 'Black Friday', and, yes, Christmas. To be even bleaker, so is every other day of our lives. It's simply a part of our the world we live in now. I read a paper filled with ads and rehashed press releases on my commute into work in the morning, walk past endless billboards in the station, stare blankly at more ads on the Tube platform, mentally block out dozens more on my computer as I work all day, and tune out even more when I go home, slouch on sofa and watch TV.

I agree Valentine's marketing has reached farcical heights. I won't deny we are saturated with blatant attempts at pressuring us into expressing our love in a certain way. We are told to buy this expensive jewellery or that uncomfortable-looking lingerie else our loved ones think that actually maybe we don't love them. I understand you don't want to read Cosmo's "X Sex Things To Try On Valentine's Day Or Else Be Alone Forever", and it's undeniable that Valentine's Day as a brand is terribly narrow and doesn't suit a whole bunch of lifestyles.

Having said all that, why do I think Valentine's Day is ace? Well, because I see no harm in spending an extra day paying special attention to the most important person in my life. If you don't want to do the same, then your beef is probably with something larger than old Saint Valentine.

As the son of two creative, snark-free parents, Valentine's Day was, and continues to be, a day which reminds me most of the importance of unconditional love and dedication. When I was a kid, my dad used to send us all the most delicate and beautiful hand-crafted cards. My mum still sends me cards, hand-written notes and sweets in the post. It's a tangible, holdable expression of everything they've done for me.

Sure, we're being a sold a heteronormative, stereotypical "if-you-aren't-doing-it-this-way-you're-doing-romance-wrong" pseudo-reality but instead of not participating, why not show some defiance? Why not reclaim Valentine's Day? Spend some time with someone you love; it could be a partner or a friend or a family member, it doesn't matter.

Making a little bit more effort as part of a communal effort to love and appreciate each other a bit more, even if it is just for one day, can never a bad thing.