How did you spend your Valentine's Day? Did you spend it taking a new girl or guy on a date filled with awkward obligation? Did you shuffle through your damaged remnant of a financial budget from Christmas in attempt to find some gift for your significant other? Maybe you spent it with a friend, going out or by yourself, but regardless you spent it doing something.

Why do we celebrate this day, and what does it mean to be someone's Valentine?

Well, as we look to define the indefinable, we must go to the source where any 10-year old with Google capabilities can get information: the media. Let's look at the typical Valentine's love movie, full of those ooey-gooey moments that supposedly perpetuate the perfect relationship. Love isn't physical right? What a coincidence that the main characters are always attractive and always have the physique of someone with a physical trainer. Hmm.

In the real world of dollar hamburgers and addictive TV shows that will magnetize you to your sofa, I have to say that is the first hint that maybe this movie is a dream and not a reality. Nevertheless, let's move on to the timing of the relationship.

Most of these movies only cover the first couple months of people meeting and falling in love, followed by an inconclusive "they live happily ever after." Oh! How convincing. I have seen and experienced what I like to call the obsessive stage of any relationship. "He is so cool, she is so cool, she totally understands me, etc. etc." But that doesn't define love does it? I refuse to accept love as an ephemeral glimpse of the apple of your eye, so I must persist. To continue, however, it becomes obvious that the cinema and the media is not the place for this answer, so where to next?

The obligations. The chocolates, the flowers, the sweet tart necklaces that range from cute to extremely forward messages: these are all parts of how America defines Valentine's Day. Sad is the day where the general public believes that $20 and a trip to Kroger's flower section will buy you love.

Let's not even get into how competitive this money spending can get and how it imposes judgment on the quality of your relationship. Getting presents to celebrate your appreciation of another is fantastic but should not be necessary just because it happens to be the 14th day of February.

But this date is the last hint that Valentine's Day may be able to offer me on my conquest to find love. Originally celebrating a Christian Saint Valentinus, the date has history that goes back to the Middle Ages. As it celebrates this Christian saint's support of Christian marriages during Roman oppression, one can see how this day became important. However, my eyes wander to other holidays. Christmas, Easter and Independence Day all celebrate definitive endings, beginnings and events. But is love definitive? Isn't the truth of love one that you celebrate just as well every single other day?

I have lost the battle in attempt to define love, as Valentine's Day poses no help for me.

However, there is something to be acknowledged. Maybe the perfect relationship is not something that can be defined or quantified. It's quite possible that people care in different ways and have just as much love in their relationship as some couple completely different from them.

All I can say for sure is that love isn't $100 in jewelry, or periodic or judged by physical appearance; it is not as cliché as it is illustrated in the movies. It can be as simple as your favorite color, as long as it always is.

Cullen Hamelin is a junior in chemistry. He can be reached chamelin@utk.edu.