A Modern Valentine’s Day Proposal: Abandoning the Pressure to Have Romantic Love- Zoe Boggier ’23

Like so many other teenage girls, I find romance movies to be deeply comforting, particularly around Valentine’s Day. Call me traditional, but the prospect of being chased and loved for your best and worst is particularly appealing in the dead of February. Naturally, as a single person, I tend to feel bitter during this season. Calling real life couples and their displays of love overrated and cheesy is certainly a defense mechanism. Why? Because cards, dates, and flowers, or the romantic love that they represent, often make single individuals feel unseen and alone. 

I sat in bed, reflecting on the upcoming holiday, and I thought about my older sister Abby. I came to realize that a stubborn, generally annoying blonde has taught me what unconditional love is over the last twenty years. To allow the depth of our relationship to sink in, allow me to give some much needed context. We can fight. Abby has slammed my fingers in a door-jamb (multiple times), pulled my hair, and literally bitten me– she was, for a number of years, my greatest adversary. Legend has it that the neighborhood babysitter, Ashley, told our parents that we were “the most physically violent siblings she’d ever seen”. As we grew in age, though, childish quarrels turned to verbal harassment. My sister has called me some of the most hurtful names in the book– I’ve had my looks, intelligence, and personality insulted. During those tumultuous preteen years, anything was fair game in an argument. 

However, through all the tears and bruises, pain and frustration, I still find myself wanting to call her. I’ll be driving home from school and laugh thinking about a girl who is 971 miles away from me. Our relationship is profound– never will I know one so deeply as I do my sister. The thought that the majority of our time spent together is behind us breaks my heart. In short, the fact that I still care about my sister, and her, me, is proof that total, everlasting love exists. She is brilliant, diligent, charming, and one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met. I will always be her number one fan. 

So, one has to ask– if I have a relationship so enduring and all-consuming, why don’t I acknowledge her on Valentine’s Day? Why don’t I take her out to dinner and post about my loved one all over social media? I am fortunate to have a plethora of incredible women in my life, so why don’t I celebrate them?

Instead, I suggest that, as individuals, we broaden the lens through which we perceive Valentine’s Day. It should serve as a celebration of all love, not just the tiny percent of committed romantic relationships. Everyone should enjoy the pink, red, and white decorations throughout the month of February, not dread them. You can love a team, a classmate, or a grandparent, but don’t reserve it for romantic relationships.