Every February, we make a big deal about the remnants of some ancient, pagan matchmaking festival and a dead roman martyr who may or may not have handed out paper hearts. When the truth is there are modern saints living among us who are more deserving of our respect and admiration for their valiant efforts in the field of love and romance. These are the saints of Valentine’s Day we should really be celebrating.

Saint Brandon
Patron Saint of Mommy Issues

After several unsuccessful relationships and years of ongoing therapy, Brandon recognized that he was recreating the toxic relationship he shared with his overbearing mother and vowed to make a change. Through practice and discipline, Brandon started clearly communicating his emotional needs, stopped confusing overstepped boundaries with intimacy, and just celebrated his three-month anniversary with a fiercely independent reiki healer.

Saint Jessica
Patron Saint of White Lies

Jessica’s most recent partner surprised her by writing her a love song, which rhymed the word “babe” with the word “babe” a second time. When she heard it played on an acoustic guitar, not only did she manage to express a convincing amount of enthusiasm for the lackluster lyrics, but she was also able to maintain a straight face while suggesting that he consider recording an entire album, graciously allowing his ego to remain intact.

Saint Todd
Patron Saint of Emotional Baggage

Upon reentering the dating pool after getting out of a long-term relationship, Todd resisted the urge to mention his ex despite the fact that it was actually a pretty funny story and totally relevant to the conversation. After taking a deep breath and excusing himself to the men’s room, he wrote several drafts of a text to the aforementioned ex and successfully resisted the urge to send it.

Saint Liz
Patron Saint of Compromise

Once she officially decided to move in with her loving and committed partner of several years, Liz was resolved that this would be their first truly adult living space together. There would be no hodgepodge of hand-me-down flatware, no predictable movie posters hastily taped to the wall, and no consummate trip to IKEA. Imagine Liz’s horror upon discovering that her beloved possessed a previously undisclosed collection of Game of Thrones action figures, which he was determined to display in their new home. Liz used all of her strength and maturity to refrain from mocking her partner’s taste in decor, and instead graciously offered up a corner of their shared desk as a place for the toys. After all, they can always get “lost” in the next move.

Saint Josh
Patron Saint of Gift Giving

In the face of overwhelming commercial and cultural temptation, Saint Josh has never once purchased a heart-shaped box of chocolates, an oversized stuffed bear, or a bouquet of red roses for any of his romantic partners. Not even in his tender youth. Not even ironically.

Saint Kevin
Patron Saint of Clear Communication

Projecting a refreshingly accurate representation of his personality on a first date, Kevin clearly communicated his beliefs, priorities, deep-seated neuroses, and complete lack of interest in procreation, saving both parties the trouble of a second date. He then proceeded to clearly communicate to their server that they were ready for the check.

Saint Kelly
Patron Saint of Self-Restraint

After matching on Tinder with the man who would one day become her fiancée, Kelly internet-stalked her date before actually meeting him for drinks, but managed to stop herself at the bottom of the first page of a Google search result. Several years later, upon receiving his thoughtful proposal and gracefully understated engagement ring, she didn’t even post about it on social media, despite capturing the moment in a series of extremely flattering photos.

Saint Whitney
Patron Saint of Emotional Labor

On what was supposed to be a fun and flirty Galentine’s Day date, Whitney listened to her friend lament her slowly disintegrating long-distance relationship, before selflessly offering her already tear-soaked shoulder to a second friend, who had recently been ghosted by the man she was supposed to move in with in a mere two weeks. After this massive outpouring of emotional energy into the romantic lives of her friends, Whitney then somehow still had the strength to open her own dating app profile and make space for the emotional needs of a recent match who asked her, “Why should I look for a therapist when I can just talk to you for free?” Thus completing her emotional martyrdom.

Saint Adam
Patron Saint of Reciprocated Oral Sex

It would be easy to accept oral sex from a partner and then quickly concede to the haze of post-coital exhaustion that inevitably follows, but that is not the way of Saint Adam. Where other men embrace the satisfaction of drifting into a contented slumber, Adam rallies and reciprocates. Despite having to be at work early tomorrow morning. Even though he already brushed his teeth earlier. And in the face of his partner’s half-hearted and unconvincing attempts to release him from any obligation. Adam always reciprocates.

Saints Sidney & Maya
Patron Saints of Just Staying In Tonight

Two days before the holiday, Saint Maya announced that they should opt-out of Valentine’s Day this year after reading a scorching exposé about exploitative practices within the red rose industry. Despite having already booked a non-refundable reservation for an overpriced prix fixe dinner, Saint Sidney went along with it, adding that the holiday is most likely problematic now anyway, and the two of them stayed in and enjoyed a night of takeout sushi and predictable sex.