There’s been lots of talk about Gail Marshall and the snowy plovers, but I’d like to take a moment and look at another important issue at hand: the dreaded V-Day. No, not you, Vagina Monologues. I mean Valentine’s Day, loved by so many, and yet hated by so many.

I think that no one can argue that this event is a relevant topic of discussion (c’mon, any holiday that calls for an insert from the Riviera is worth talking about). For some, it’s a day to cash in on all of the late-night talks, bad movies, expensive dinners and tedious arguments they’ve endured, as they are showered with corny cards and other cheesy tokens of affection. But for many, it is a day to wallow in utter loneliness due to their lack of a Valentine. It’s amazing how one day can affect all of us in a deep and individual fashion. But what is it that burns in our souls that makes Valentine’s Day so momentous an occasion?

Well, as luck would have it, UCSB’s Relationship Peer Educators and I devote endless hours discussing and sharing with others our thoughts on the subject of love. We have collectively come to the conclusion (which we will now impart unto all who listen) that Valentine’s Day can be as enjoyable a day as the first weekend of summer, or your 21st birthday, even. All it takes to make February 14 more than another big business bonanza is a better understanding of the applications of the holiday. Valentine’s Day is all about celebrating one’s intimate relationship with another. But whoever said it had to be limited to the intimate relationship with your bedfellow? Intimacy is a term that is thrown around a lot, but has so many different, important meanings.

Intimacy basically boils down to two things: knowing someone, and being known. It means allowing oneself and others to share friendship, a commitment to one another’s well-being, and a passion for the other’s individuality. If we all can achieve these goals with another person, we are in an intimate relationship. Well, don’t we know our parents and family, and they know us? What about our friends? Those late-night gossip sessions are what keep Woodstock’s in business. Even our pets have an intimate relationship with us. Don’t tell me that you can’t categorize the looks Rover gives you when he gazes with those big blue eyes.

So if Valentine’s Day is all about celebrating our intimate relationships, then why do we make such a negative fuss about it? Why do we limit our celebration to those we have romantic ties to? We can all throw our nose up at Hallmark Company and fancy French restaurants and celebrate February 14 in style. Let those you know best and who know you best understand how much their friendship and commitment means to you. Call your grandma, send your dad a funky e-card and treat your roomies to a Cold Stone Smorgasbord. Let Valentine’s Day be your day to cherish your intimate relationships with all those who shape your life!

Michelle Lemire is a sophomore sociology major and a Relationship Peer Education Co-coordinator.