Execution by “firing squad” on day set aside for friendship

Eric Ariel Salas

Eric Ariel Salas

Who wants a date on Valentine’s Day? No, I do not want one. No need to beat around the bush, I abhor the day. When St. Valentine sent the first “Valentine” greeting “From your Valentine” during the third century, I have this idea he wasn’t after intimate love. Go Google it. The greeting was for the daughter of a prison guard who constantly visited him in his prison cell after he was caught not obeying or supporting the emperor’s law on marriages. On the day he was sentenced to death, he left the note thanking the girl for friendship and loyalty.

The note was about friendship. Valentine was a good priest, and I think he couldn’t allow himself to fall in love with a girl and abandon his holy vows. He was after friendship alone.

I ask, why do some people have to wear red or anything of that shade to attract potential partners on Feb. 14, when during this day of Valentine’s death, he simply conveyed the message of appreciating our friends? I do not understand. The lack of a girlfriend or a boyfriend on Valentine’s Day seems to be a curse in this day and age. I do not know how it works here in the United States, but in the Philippines, if you do not have a “date” on the 14th, you are a sure target of the “firing squad.”

To those deficient in English, a firing squad is a method of execution where several soldiers agreeably fire on members of the condemned, typically restrained and hooded. In short, it is a supreme punishment of torture.

“Firing squad,” interpreted in the light of Valentine’s Day, means people (who happened to find their special someone in time for heart’s day) persecute the unfortunate loveless for sharing Valentine’s feelings and believing that it is a day of friendship. Afraid (or tired could be the superlative word) to answer queries about why they are still single and alone, the loveless take cover behind their office cubicles and pretend they have workloads to do. This way, they evade irritating torments from happy-to-be-attached office mates who obviously need a lecture about the history of Valentine’s Day.

When I had this discussion on my blog, readers had different reactions to my perception. One said that the original meaning of Valentine’s Day may have been different. But what it has become, either due to tradition or commercialism, is something that each and every one should respect. Another said that it has become a day for celebration of love – mostly romantic love. Even if you don’t have a special someone, it is just nice to know that a day has been reserved for lovers. It has been that way for years, and its positive impact in strengthening bonds and adding spice to every relationship can never be understated.

Just to make my point clear, I am not against people who see it as a tradition of expressing love to someone dearest, and therefore are obliged to follow. What I don’t like is the thought of doing it only on the 14th of February, when people could equally execute the same for the rest of the 365 days. Further, having no one special to celebrate it with is not frightful at all. I want everyone to know that Valentine’s Day is for you and me and for every other single soul attached or unattached – and the day could still become perfect even if you are alone.

Lastly, if you are alone (unattached, uncommitted, single or unmarried) on Valentine’s Day, don’t fret. Dial an unattached, uncommitted, single or unmarried friend and explain to him or her what exactly the day is all about. Odd maybe, but your friend will believe you. Besides, he or she is in the same situation as yours. So, for those who are unattached, there is still something good to look forward to on this day.