Mari Katherine Raftopoulos
Mari Katherine Raftopoulos' column appears in the Craig Daily Press
and the Saturday Morning Press
Women have a love-hate relationship with Valentine's Day.
Those who love it are in love, and those who hate it have been hated by love.
This is not based on their relationship status of single, married or dating, but on their expectations of relationships, committed or not.
I remember Valentine's Day much more vividly when I was younger, going to City Market and picking out the perfect Valentine's cards to distribute to my fellow classmates along with accenting lollipops.
Sometimes, I would pick the girl power genre as a way of proving that all boys had cooties and would not be receiving any of my valentines that year.
Or I would choose a more versatile box that consisted of cards that I could give to my best friends forever, and drop subtle hints to those few boy crushes to pick me for their basketball team during next recess.
And now, my Valentine's Day card shopping has ceased.
Valentine's Day has proven to be just another day - one that passes with a few "I love yous" to best friends and family members and serves as an excuse to stay in and eat pink sugar cookies and watch chick flicks.
Or, sometimes, it's even a day to be more productive and get ahead of the rest of those people at romantic dinners and weekend getaways with their special someone.
This past weekend, 10 girls sat cuddled up on a twin bed with a week until the big day. We spoke of our plans, or lack thereof, for Valentine's Day.
As women, we try to pretend it is just another day, but we subconsciously make plans for it so we never seem lonely, but instead always busy. Just busy enough to cancel plans with our girlfriends if a last minute date comes up.
Some said they where having a girl's single night of gossip, red wine, what ifs and trivia.
Others who yearned for a commitment theorized that single men would be lonely on this day, as well, and they would create a single's party for all those stragglers to mingle with one another.
Who says you must have love and can't find true love on the sole day designated for love?
But, behind the scenes and the gossiping of who would have a Valentine date or not, there was one discussion that stood out to me between two of my friends.
One was someone who recently had started dating a guy, and the other had been in an on-and-off relationship, both of them searching for a commitment from their men.
How do I make him my boyfriend, the newly smitten one asked. Can you say something to him hinting that I want it? Or at least tell him to take me on a romantic date for Valentine's Day?
This is the reason Valentine's Day can make or a break a woman and the reason men often neglect the whole day altogether.
In the minds of women, it's either "you be mine" or "you don't."
But, my question is, why can't every day be Valentine's Day?
And it's not because I think every woman should be showered with greeting cards, flowers and chocolates. It is not based on the physical aspects of the day, but more so on the emotional ones.
To me, Valentine's Day benefits the men more than the women because on this day women become vulnerable to love, and the littlest acts of kindness are exaggerated and compensate for his neglecting the little things in the previous months.
It is the man' s chance to say I am sorry for forgetting our anniversary, indulging in too many poker nights with the boys and drinking too much wine at Thanksgiving with your family.
So, instead of Valentine's Day being filled with thank you and I love you, it is filled with "I'm sorry" and "Please forgive me."
That being said, the acts of Valentine's Day should be less exaggerated and more constant.
"I love you" should be said at random and at impulse, and not just as a way to end a phone conversation. And romantic dates should be in the middle of the day, or in the middle of the week, instead of to celebrate an anniversary, a birthday or a job promotion.
Life is spontaneous and so is love and if you live them in unison instead of separation you will have a lot more reasons to say I love you.