There are many words the Greeks use to express “love.” I’ve been reflecting on this in light of the holiday season and I think they were on to something. In English, we use one word to stand for a wide range of sentiments, while in Greek, each translation has a different connotation.
Ludus is a flirty, frivolous playful kind of love. From kindergarten crushes to barstool banter, this is kind of love is experienced with strangers, new flings or old friends. Pragma is practically the opposite of ludus. It’s a mature, enduring sort of connection characterized by deep understanding of the other. It’s loving responsibly, practicing patience and tolerance to make the love last.
One kind of love commonly forgotten in our fast-paced society is philautia, or self-love. Considering what makes you happy can feel selfish and giving yourself a compliment can seem narcissistic. I say that’s hogwash. Taking care of yourself is the first, and arguably most crucial, step in loving another. On the other end of the spectrum is agape, a love for everyone. Agape means loving humanity, seeing past differences to reach an empathetic connection with people from all walks of life.
Eros refers to romantic, passionate love. It’s an infatuation, really. The kind of love Valentine’s Day typically conjures up in the mind. The kind we see in the movies, scoff at and secretly want. Finally, philia is a love of deep friendship. It’s sisterly or brotherly love. Loyal, sacrificial and true; this is perhaps the most invaluable form of love. And this, my friends, is what Galentine’s Day is all about.
What’s Galentine’s Day? “It’s only the best day of the year!” according to Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), the fearless feminist on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”, who first introduced the world to this perfect, commercial-free, patriarchy-crushing holiday. Ultimately, it’s a day for honoring philia, the friendship kind of love. Put simply (in the words of Knope), “Galentine’s day is about celebrating lady friends.” As the name denotes, it’s a day to recognize the women in your life.
Since Galentine’s Day is only just becoming a thing, you might be wondering how to celebrate. To sum it up: brunch, booze and Beyoncé. The first step to a successful Galentine’s celebration is gathering all your gal pals. While I support gender-inclusivity in most situations, sometimes an estrogen-heavy environment is much needed.
Next, choose a location. It could be in someone’s home or at a restaurant, but breakfast food is non-negotiable. Waffles, eggs, bacon, you name it. St. Louis has plenty of brunch-serving options out there: MELT on Cherokee Street, The London Tea Room in Tower Grove South, Rooster downtown and Crepes, etc. in the Central West End, just to name a few. Stir in some Mimosas or Bloody Mary’s if you please.
Last but not least, pump up the jams, because who run the world? Girls. All women who are independent, Imma need you to throw your hands up at me. Whether you’re a single lady or crazy in love, Galentine’s is a day to put your philia on top.
Be sure to mark your calendar on Feb. 13 because Galentine’s Day “is wonderful and should be a national holiday!”