Excluding widows, prepubescent’s, and, er … that’s about it, there’s pretty much one of three positions you will find yourself in.
a) You are single. This means, under no circumstances, ARE YOU ALLOWED TO TAKE A STANCE ABOUT VALENTINE’S DAY. Whether you hate it or you love it, the moment the words ‘Valentine’s Day’ leave your mouth, people will feel sorry for you, no matter how much you love being single. Clearly you are a freak of nature and nobody wants to get freaky with you.
b) You are in a relationship. Oh, the minefield! Are flowers enough, or does chocolate need to be involved? Do both parties receive extravagant presents? OH GOD IS SOMEONE GOING TO PROPOSE? Or will being on top suffice?
c) You are sort of sleeping with someone and sometimes you text each other but it’s not exclusive and you’re not even sure you want it to be. Are you allowed to even talk on Valentine’s Day? Or will simply saying ‘Hi’ imply you are uber-keen to get serious?
See what I mean? Total social pandemonium. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like I’m not alone in this one…
I’m currently single. I was single last Valentine’s Day too, and I have absolutely no idea what I did that day. Like, nothing whatsoever is coming to mind. Chances are I was either working or drinking, but the point is that clearly the day passed with zero stand-out memories.
The Valentine’s before that, I was with my then-boyfriend, and it was coming up to our three year anniversary. I remember meeting him at work, and we walked over to Glebe to grab lunch (as usual, he was working late that night). As we walked down the street I remember feeling ridiculously self-conscious, thinking that every single person passing us would be thinking ‘Aww, they’re celebrating Valentine’s Day, how cute.’
Or even ‘THAT’s how they’re celebrating Valentine’s Day? Pffff.’
I felt awkward at lunch, too. Lunch wasn’t anything special. At this point in the relationship we didn’t so much go on dates as just be hungry in proximity to one another and decided to go get food. We’d been in this scenario a thousand times before, yet today it felt stilted. It felt like a first date, only without the delicious butterflies.
So why was I embarrassed?
I think it’s because the very way we’ve come to celebrate Valentine’s Day is false. Flowers on any day of the year say ‘I thought of you.’ Flowers on Valentine’s Day say ‘I’m buying in to how Hallmark and rom coms have taught me what love is. Also, if I do this I’m all set until your birthday.’
Love to me is little things, like being the big spoon, remembering how I like my tea, and not judging me when I eat chocolate immediately after the gym. Love is not buying me roses just because you think you’re supposed to.
I’m a romantic at heart, but Valentine’s Day? Single or not, happy or not, it’s a day that’s always going to make me cringe. At least you can say it’s consistent!
Just to end this post on an awesome note, here’s something in favour of Valentine’s Day: so things like this can exist. Enjoy!