An Extraterrestrial’s Take on Valentine’s Day

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I have a confession: I am not human. Though I’ve gone to school with you for just over a decade here, I actually hail from a small planet orbiting the star Amoris Majoris over 12.8 million light years away. Many years ago, I left my homeworld on a voyage across the universe with the goal of finding other intelligent forms of life and researching their cultures. I arrived here on Earth. Searching for a perfectly average suburban community to observe, I selected Havertown.

I’ve taken up residence with a local family unit and become a participant in your public schooling system in hopes of better understanding human culture, and have been able to pick up on some of your social and linguistic practices through observing events, such as games of sportsball, and hearing that the clear liquid you imbibe is in fact “wooder” and not “water” as I previously believed.

However, there is one of your annual societal festivities that continues to perplex me, as the concept is so foreign to any custom that exists on my homeworld: Valentine’s Day. It seems that you select one day every February to express your adoration of your loved ones, and choose to do so with chocolates and flowers. May I inquire why? Why do you have entire industries devoted to the production of millions of anatomically incorrect heart-shaped chalk candies made only for one day? What’s the real worth of these material goods if they go on 50% discount less than 24 hours later, much to the joy of your single people?

On my homeworld, one day is five of your earth days. A hundred of our days are a year. Since the dawn of our society, we’ve devoted all except one day annually to those we love. We write sonnets likening their spirits to our three fiery red suns and compose songs likening their beauty to that of our seven moons. On the sole day we deviate from this pattern, we behave much as you humans do towards each other regularly. We’re more distant and removed, simply going through the motions of the day without taking time to recognize and appreciate one another. On this day, our main focus becomes an afterthought, just as your usual afterthoughts become your focus on your planet’s Valentine’s Day. Though this ritual pains us, we return from it with a greater appreciation for those we love, and vow never to fall into a pattern of overlooking them. We have no need for cards or oversized stuffed bears; we love and are loved through our actions alone with the expression (and occasional withholding) of our truest, deepest feelings.  

My point, dear humans, is that you can’t fully appreciate what you have until it’s gone.  I’m not writing in hopes of changing the traditions your species has established, but I suggest that you make a continual conscious effort to show your love for each other each day, whether you do so through kind words or flowers or other means. Whatever you choose to do, just please stop eating those chalk candies. My extensive research has indicated that they are not in fact suitable for consumption, be it by humans or any other species.

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