Josephine Leahy talks to UCD students about their Valentine’s Day horror stories.
Valentine’s Day, a holiday which unofficially categorises us into three groups.
- Those who are enamoured with the concept of an entire day filled with attention, adoration and general feelings of the heart.
- Those who hiss at the mention of the day like a vampire at sunlight, disgusted at the thought of having to spend yet another February 14th surrounded by other people’s seemingly unattainable happiness. Every time a loving exchange takes place it only intensifies the bitterness growing in their barren hearts.
- Those who are completely indifferent yet excited by the promise of heavily discounted chocolate that February 15th
Whenever the word “Valentine’s Day” is brought up in conversation the word “pressure” seems to follow. Every year expectations are built and usually come crashing down by mid-afternoon. One first year arts student, Sarah Molloy, retold her worst Valentine’s Day:
“So my ex-boyfriend had this really rich friend who invited himself and a few friends to the Hunt Ball on Valentine’s night. It was masquerade and I was 17 so obviously I felt like the bee’s knees in my dress and mask.”
She continues: “So we were having our main course and then before dessert they announce that they’re having an auction, and for every lot there had to be at least one bid from each table. Now at our table there are six 17/18 year olds with about 5 quid each for the taxi home. Every single time they came around to ask who was bidding we took turns to put a Euro down. The shame.”
Although the concept of devoting an entire day to appreciating your significant other sounds lovely in theory, the reality is that condensing that amount of expectation into one day dooms it to failure. Acting out of love is best represented over a longer period of time without having to put in elaborate planning or too much thought into it.
Valentine’s Day has a tendency to generate insincerity with people feeling an enormous pressure to abide by the social expectations that come along with this particular day in February.
“Every single time they came around to ask who was bidding we took it turns to put a Euro down.”
The overwhelming expectancy to feel a certain way, as with many holidays, can cause crushing strain if your feelings are not obliging. There is also the financial stress. Giving your significant other an expensive gift would be nice but being able to afford to eat for the rest of the month does take precedence.
One final year student gave his opinions on how Valentine’s Day is a gendered affair. When recalling his past Valentine’s Days, he was sceptical as to if his gestures were ever reciprocated. “It felt more like it was about the girl. That’s the way society makes it anyway.”
However, not everyone recoils at the sight of flying babies in nappies, nor do they count down to it. For a large proportion of people, Valentine’s Day is a non-event. A day like no other except with a definite colour scheme of pink and red. However, first year Arts student Aisling Grennan proved with her Valentine’s story that frustrated love is not the only negative thing that can occur on February 14th.
“I had the worst Valentine’s evening last year. I do a lot of babysitting and since my love life is non-existent, I agreed to babysit three lovely girls for the evening. I brought them some chocolates in honour of the day and they went to bed delighted with themselves”.
“Around midnight I heard the youngest, who was two, crying upstairs. I picked her up, sat on the edge of the bed and asked her what was wrong. She didn’t really answer until suddenly she leaned back, looked up at me, and projectile vomited onto my chest. I scooped her up, brought her into the bathroom where she got sick again and then brought her downstairs. I tried phoning her parents but got no answer. By the time they arrived home, she was watching Bob the Builder, wrapped in a towel, while I sat next to her in my vest, holding a large bowl.”
“She didn’t really answer until suddenly she leaned back, looked up at me, and projectile vomited onto my chest.”
Aisling’s story proves that Valentine’s Day truly is just another day in the calendar and that there are worst things that can happen than not getting a text back from your crush, namely a vomiting child.
Valentine’s Day, whether you celebrate it or not, is just a series of 24 hours which will ultimately pass, much to the relief of cynics everywhere. Whether you get a bunch of red roses or soaked by a passing car on your way to a lecture, it’s important to remember that despite the endless Facebook and Instagram updates reminding you about everyone else’s perfect day, whether you have a reason to celebrate Valentine’s Day or not, that the day will end and the sale of incredibly cheap chocolate will begin.