Column: Valentine’s, Shmalentine’s – it’s all about Pal- and Galentine’s Day

Saba Moussavian, Author

Girls hold up big white posters adorned with hearts and the word “SADIES?” Students all over campus chatter and stress about how to best illustrate their love by means of $5 gifts. Bottles of artificially colored pink soda are delivered in the middle of classes to uncomfortable recipients. Red and pink streamers that were likely purchased for less than a dollar decorate the doors of the more spirited teachers on campus. Yes, the coming of Valentine’s Day has become almost palpable as the aura of synthetically manufactured love taints the air.

As you can tell, like most Palo Alto High School students, we are wholeheartedly enlivened by the fast-approaching date of Feb. 14. Don’t get us wrong, we appreciate and have even participated in the school’s efforts to brighten up the campus, but we would like to pause for a moment and invite our fellow classmates to partake in an arguably worthier tradition that takes place the day before Valentine’s Day: (modified) Galentine’s Day.

Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) provides her lady friends and family with a number of sentimental gifts over a Galentine’s Day brunch. Photo courtesy of NBC.
Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) provides her lady friends and family with a number of sentimental gifts over a Galentine’s Day brunch. Photo courtesy of NBC.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, Galentine’s Day, as coined by “Parks and Recreation” character Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), is a special day dedicated to the appreciation of female friends, coworkers, family members and strong female influences in women’s lives. Stories and gifts are shared over a hearty brunch meal, and as Knope would say, it’s all about “ladies celebrating ladies.”

As wonderful as Galentine’s Day is – and believe us, it is wonderful – we’d like to broaden its sentiment and apply it to the general realm of friendship, regardless of gender: something we’d like to call Pal-entine’s Day.

With the long weekend upon us, it’s an especially ideal time to take your friends out to a glorious brunch excursion and shower them with gifts and appreciation. If you have sufficient time, dedication and knowledge, then you can try pulling a Knope and provide your friends with bouquets of hand-crocheted flower pens; mosaic portraits of each of them made from the crushed bottles of their favorite diet sodas; gift certificates for facials; needlepoint pillows with their faces and the leading headlines from the newspapers on the days they were born on them; and personalized 5,000 word essays of why they’re all so awesome. If your gift giving skills aren’t quite up to par, though, never fear – any expression of your love and affection for your friends can be more important than material gifts.

Ultimately, we must remember that love is never exclusive to couples. There’s no need to fall into a gloomy funk or secretly hate on those who are in relationships just because it’s February. So, whenever February rolls around, instead of distressing and obsessing about your romantic relationship or lack thereof, choose to obsess about the gals and pals in your life who you care about most and who will never leave your side.

As Leslie Knope, the epitome of a workaholic, once said, “We have to remember what’s important in life: friends, waffles and work. Or waffles, friends, work. But work has to come third.” While we agree that friends vs. waffles is an eternal debate, we encourage you to get a healthy dose of both by going out with your friends for some fantastic breakfast food and finding out for yourselves, as we plan to do.

The streamers and boxes of chocolates that you purchased for Valentine’s Day will fade and likely pollute our planet, but the memories you make of waffles and laughter with your gals and pals will last forever.