Robert + ???At least this year. I get the feeling that my thoughts on this matter fluctuate from year to year.

I love the idea of Valentine’s Day. As a single guy, it’s a freebee day to shower women or one woman with gifts large or small without it being weird (given that I don’t go overboard or cross the line in some fashion). I’ve never done it, but I’ve always had the idea in the back of my mind to get flowers for my friends of the finer sex regardless of their relational status for Valentine’s Day. At the very least, taking a bit of extra time to make the day a little brighter for the people around me is as close as I have to a tradition for this day.

But it has nothing to do with Valentine’s Day. That’s just the excuse. “Any reason to party is a good reason to party” applies to showing affection and admiration for one’s friends in my book. I can think of things to do for Arbor Day that fit with the day and show the same appreciation.

What I hate about Valentine’s Day is the people who are in relationships that seem to feel that throwing an anti-Valentine’s Day party of some kind is helpful to their single brethren. It may be helpful in some circles and even for people that I know. It isn’t for me. No matter the intentions, and I don’t doubt that they are good to the core, it always comes across as condescending. If the single people around you are so bitter about Valentine’s Day, or if you are so bitter, that you feel the only course is to throw an anti-Valentine’s Day party, they probably need something other than the anti-party (I can suggest a good psychologist for these cases). That said, you know your friends best and whether an anti-party would be good or not.

If your single friends aren’t bitter, celebrate or not as you see fit, but leave them to do the same on their own. If spending time with a large group of friends, single and otherwise, is how it turns out, great! I’d argue that love in friendship is better than romance any day. But let that happen organically and not because you seek to make a statement about Valentine’s Day (which easily leads to wondering if you are caring for your friends or caring for your statement). [Side note: I’d love to attend a Valentine’s Day party if not for the fact that I’ll have choir rehearsal that night.]

But I love the idea of Valentine’s Day. Even the Hallmark-ified version with cupids and hearts and sweet nothings. The whole point of the day is to show the people you care about that you care. What could possibly be wrong or bad about that? Christmas is great for caring, too. And Fourth of July. And Thanksgiving. Memorial Day. June 23. October 12.

Even February 15.

[Topic inspired by the //engtech contest. Written because I had something to say (and if I win, all the better).]