Valentine’s Day: Not as Sweet as One Might Think

Having a high school sweetheart is on the bucket list of most teenagers; many of us grew up watching movies like High School Musical, where the main characters found love easily. This ideal image of a relationship sets an expectation for young people, an expectation that everyone will have a chance to find a significant other in high school. So, as a child, I anticipated to find a boyfriend as soon as I entered high school. Valentine’s Day was always romanticized in TV shows and movies, and it just seemed like one of those holidays that would be celebrated festively with a loved one every year.

However, my preconception of high school relationships was proven wrong once I became a freshman. There was no time for a relationship because of all of the schoolwork and extracurricular activities we were bombarded with; it was nothing like the books, where couples went on after-school dates all the time. To my disappointment, my first Valentine’s Day as a high schooler was spent alone in my room studying for a geometry test. Although this is just my own unique experience, I know that several of my peers do consider Valentine’s Day their favorite holiday because of the gifts they are able to give to and receive from their partners. For those that are not single, this day is an extra special day for them to appreciate their lovers.

Most schools will sell carnations or chocolates for Valentine’s Day, and students of organizations will deliver these gifts to students’ homerooms. Purchasing carnations is not just for lovers, but friends as well. My school offers different colors of carnations that symbolize different meanings: red for love, pink for friendship, and white for purity. My friends and I send each other carnations with messages written on the little cards every year; it’s a tradition we have. Sometimes, we’ll have a surge of courage and send anonymous messages to our secret crushes. It’s exciting to receive an anonymous carnation, even if it is sent from just a friend. On the other hand, it’s also a little dispiriting to not receive as many as your friends might have, or any at all.

For most of my single friends and I, Valentine’s Day enhances our loneliness and our desires to be in a relationship. To cope with our singleness, we go to CVS the day after Valentine’s Day to buy all of the candy that goes on sale. Another tradition girls have is celebrating “Galentine’s Day,” which is the day before Valentine’s Day. “Galentine’s Day” is a play-on-words to describe a day for girls to spend time with their platonic girl friends. On this day, friends hang out to spend time with and appreciate each other.

For those that are taken, teens usually surprise their partners with teddy bears, chocolate, roses, and handmade gifts. Because of our busy schedules as students, if the holiday falls on a weekday, there isn’t much of a chance to go on dates until the weekend. For underclassmen, especially, going on outings and dates with your girlfriend/boyfriend is difficult when you can’t drive. The hype of high school relationships is not as great as it would be if school wasn’t such a big priority or if couples were old enough to go places without asking their parents for rides. For young people, relationships in this time period are usually just for fun or temporal pleasure; nobody is looking to marry their high school girlfriend or boyfriend.

In reality, Valentine’s Day is not nearly as romantic as it is perceived to be, at least in high school, but it can be a fun time for couples, and even friends, to cherish each others’ presence in their lives. Valentine’s Day, like any other holiday, is a reminder to acknowledge and be thankful for the relationships people have with one another.

Priscilla Song

Tenafly High School

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