Kitchie Ohh: Love and Valentine’s Day

Pin up model in studio silhouette
Photo courtesy of Delta Pinup, Copyright 2022

Text by Kitchie Ohh, Copyright 2023


Love and Valentine’s Day


Well, it’s February and there seems to be absolutely no way to avoid the ‘elephant in the room’ holiday that is Valentine’s Day. As soon as the stockings, trees, and candy canes come down, the hearts, flowers, and chocolates come out. Let’s discuss.

Humans have been celebrating this time of year – roughly the second week in February – with some type of matchmaking, fertility, lustful, gluttonous, love-fest for centuries. There’s some confusion as to how long ago, by whom, and why this whole thing began but it’s believed to be rooted in Roman history and, as with many of our modern-day celebrations, received a Catholic church-sanctioned makeover to keep the fun but remove the heathen-ness of it all. Honestly, I’m a bit relieved we don’t celebrate the way the Romans did. It was brutal; including sacrificing animals then whipping women with their freshly-skinned hides, and a completely-at-random lottery that paired the selector (male) with a local woman for the duration of the festivities to do with as he pleased. Oh and let’s not forget that the majority of these things were done entirely naked and likely, blindingly drunk. 

Not judging anyone’s good time, but I’m fairly certain some of those ladies probably weren’t jazzed about getting slapped with animal guts by some random drunk man they got coupled with by chance. This is what seems to have stuck around longest, though: the obligation to participate, buy in, celebrate and swoon anyway.

Religion may have covered the nudity and drunkenness, while poets like Shakespeare and Chaucer softened the brutality with romance, and generations of humans watered it down even further to be appropriate for children, but I’m still not a fan of Valentine’s Day. There’s probably no way I can express this without someone out there assuming that I’m anti-romance, or hate men (which is another type of assumption all to itself to discuss another time), that I am a cold-hearted bitch, or some other equally untrue, and probably unflattering, thing that makes it make sense to them. I’m fine with that. 

I say it often: other peoples’ opinions of me are none of my business. But here is the truth that I owe to no one but myself: I get overwhelmed with big feelings and their expression. I feel them, sometimes all of them, deeply and at once. However, I function best when I process them in my own time, and way, before reacting. And yes, this includes expressions of love. I’m an over-thinker, seeing all the possibilities, entertaining the what ifs, and often ending up temporarily paralyzed by them. I question over the top gifts,  actions, attention, and words. I weigh whether I deserve them, or if there’s some ulterior motive behind them. Unfortunate remnants of past relationships and friendships that were not at all healthy. So you can see how a holiday that encourages this could be anxiety-inducing for me. Most people don’t get to see my process. They don’t even hear about it, but I guess my secret is out now. I can count on my fingers the number of people who’ve reached that level of trust. 

But, that, to me, is love. That a handful of people, who see when I’m doubting myself, when things are messy – emotionally and literally – when I’m a total spaz, spiraling through every possible scenario, stay. They don’t try to fix things, or fix me. They’re solid, supportive, nonjudgemental. They especially aren’t giving gifts or expressing feelings on a who-even-knows-why-it-was-chosen date in February because that’s what’s expected. It’s certainly not an expectation that I have of anyone on any day, holidays and even my birthday, included. I appreciate, but never ask for, expect, or demand any of that.

I also don’t understand the one-to-one focus and romantic love only themes that come with Valentine’s Day. Why put extreme effort into showing one person you care on one day when it’s easier, and very likely cheaper, to spread that effort to cover, well, everyone, every day? You don’t have to go out of your way or over the top on this day to show affection. Inevitably, there will always be those who do. But it’s a choice you can make instead to be kind and show love every day. To do small, thoughtful things, that cost little to nothing with zero strings attached and without a calendar-prompted reason for people you know, as well as those you don’t. 

Love doesn’t have to be a romantic intention. In fact, there are multiple definitions of love, including that of humankind, and of self, that are just as important and should be equally celebrated- on February 14th and beyond. Remove the restriction and make every day Valentine’s Day. 

And if you made it this far, know that I love you. 


Portrait of Tony Ward Studio contributing columnist, Miss Kitchie Ohh. Photo: Delta Pinup. Copyright 2023
Portrait of Kitchie Ohh courtesy of Delta Pinup, Copright 2023

About the Author:

Kitchie Ohh is a full-time professional fundraiser who has worked with a number of health and human services nonprofits in the Philadelphia area over the last 20 years. She found her passion for modeling after a pinup-style photoshoot in 2013. Since then, she has worked with many talented photographers, stylists, hair and makeup artists in a variety of styles. She has been featured in- and on the covers of – multiple print and digital publications. Over the years, she has branched out from pinup studio modeling to serve as a figure model for live sketching, walked a runway, and was part of two campaigns for Philadelphia designer K. Vaughn.

In addition to her philanthropy-focused career, she has volunteered with art, historical, and community organizations, and even the events team of a local brewery for a while, pre-pandemic.

You’re just as likely to find her whipping up something deliciously plant-based in her kitchen or knitting a sweater as you are to find her on a photography set. Her motto is “be both.” The model and the homemaker, sultry and sweet, serious and silly. All the things, all at once.


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