Here’s the thing: I just don’t like Valentine’s Day. I’m not alone in being a Scrooge about this particular holiday—as has been pointed out endless times before, Valentine’s Day places a lot of obligations on couples while leaving single people feeling excluded. Add that to cheesy traditions, an excess of kitschy decor, and flowers and chocolate—two of my favorite things—skyrocketing in price, and I’m not really feeling the love.
But I do have a favorite Valentine’s Day memory. I was single, in college, and stressed out of my mind; my friends and I were decidedly loopy from over-studying. Suddenly, we took it into our heads to build a blanket fort. In our deserted student union, the four or five of us started pushing chairs together and draping them with blankets, giggling to ourselves at our venture back into childhood on this evening when our peers were out at crowded restaurants, doing their best to project mature adulthood. We sprawled on our stomachs in the fort, played music, talked, watched movies, and got made fun of on YikYak (remember those days?). I still remember the way I felt, with my friends in a blanket fort at 19, in the middle of one of the most difficult years of my life—I felt at home, safe, surrounded by the people I love.
And if that’s what Valentine’s Day is all about, then I’m all for it. This year, when many of us will be at home anyway, and all of us have had an experience of missing our families or friends to some degree, maybe Valentine’s Day should be for celebrating all the different kinds of love—about the people with whom we feel at home, whether those are significant others, family, or friends. This week, we’ll be talking a lot about friendship and what it means; we’re reflecting on how friends in and out of relationships can build up meaning in one another’s lives. And from platonic Valentine’s Day celebrations to gifts that can be for a significant other, a best friend, or yourself, we’re here to celebrate love, in all its forms.