Friday, February 09, 2007

Non-conforming and Valentine's Day

As a child, I always looked forward to celebrating February 14. For the first twelve years of my life, I lived in Philippines. In a small town in Novaliches, neighbors ask each other what they are doing on Valentine’s Day. An older woman, who lives across our house, approaches a young guy and inquires about his date on Valentine’s. The man chuckles and replies he has no date. A relative, staying with us, reminisces bringing his wife a long stem rose for every year they have been together. What does Valentine’s Day do to society?

For one thing, it is a commercialization, persuading the audience to buy flowers, chocolate, greeting cards, and a reservation to a four-star restaurant. People, who are in love, are said to have the same symptoms as one who has smoked cocaine. Being in-love drives a sane person crazy. The chemicals in the brain tell the person to follow his crush to the parking lot (could also be labeled as stalking), impress his crush in class by raising his hands and pretending to say something smart, and think about his crush all day everyday.

It’s not to say that this has happened to me last year. Valentine’s Day is cruel for single people. I have only gone out with two guys. One of them I deeply regret leaving, the other Im glad I left. Neither relationship lasted until February 14. My first relationship did not make it on that day. It was cut short in January. The other one started late in the year and did not last for the next Valentine’s. I have never really celebrated Valentine’s Day with a date. I have always wondered how it feels to receive roses or chocolates. I can picture myself. My left hand holds a bouquet of roses, like every other woman on the street, my other hand clings to my partner’s arm. Singles sit and ponder how it feels to conform to society.

My journey at Fuller Seminary has been interesting so far. I remember Valentine’s Day last year. There was nothing special about it. In fact, I had the flu. I remember, after my Systematic Theology 2 class, a guy shared how he planned to surprise his wife by taking her to a hot air balloon show, following a romantic dinner. He was excited to begin his marriage by celebrating Valentine’s Day with the one his heart desired. To this couple, Valentine’s Day builds memories that strengthen a relationship.

Couples may conclude to a wonderful opportunity to spend more time with each other. Valentine’s Day symbolizes a growing love for one another. Single people may say this is the day to observe couples acting in accordance to the standard of society. It is a time to ponder the “what ifs” and to think about how one shall respond to the behavior of one’s partner. I am thinking of skipping class to create an illusion of being in a relationship. I am staying home, watching “Knights of Prosperity” and daydreaming of being in the arms of the one my heart loves. I am avoiding coffee shops lest I might get hit on or jealous of others in a relationship.

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