Valentines Day. How did you respond to those two words? Did you smile or sigh or turn the page (and therefore are physically unable to read this) or did someone’s face spring to mind?
The 14th of Feb is a day that garners mixed reactions from us privileged folk. This year you may have fell into one of the three following categories; and if not, perhaps you are a special snowflake who is so amazing you can’t be categorized. Were you either:
1. All loved up? You exchanged gifts that may or may not have included red roses, heart shaped boxes, teddy bears that will inevitably collect dust or letters with achingly honest words. Additionally, words like ‘love’ and other crazy things may have been muttered.
2. Of the ‘forever alone’ variety? You either solely, or with other ‘forever alones’ indulged in self-pity and the idea that single equals sad, lonely and doomed. You sent death stares as sharp as daggers to couples and all things cute. While the Smiths and Morrissey’s sorrowful soul kept you company.
3. Alternatively you fell into this last category and undoubtedly my favourite. You were single but Valentines was no biggy. You aren’t single and Valentines was still no biggy. The people who walked past you whilst holding hands didn’t stir any bitterness, because you also have solid and significant relationships, albeit platonic ones.
I know people who celebrated Galentines Day (although officially this occurs the day before V-Day) and enjoyed brunch together, celebrating their female friendship, their female companions. I know people who rang up their siblings and friends in different cities or friends from just down the street. I saw one of my friends who recently came out of a long-term relationship complete with a difficult breakup, leave her room (!); leave her house (!!!); and cook dinner with her pals (go girl).
Yet while I was complaining about other people complaining about their single status on V-Day, it was suggested to me that like people without Mums on Mothers Day or their Dads on Fathers day, similarly for single people, Feb the 14th is an astute reminder of what they are missing.
This might be true for some, but the point I am making is this: my newly single friend didn’t allow Valentines Day to become an all consuming reminder of what she had recently lost, it became a day in which she subconsciously celebrated what she had: friends who had supported her in her lows and highs, with a platonic love that sometimes outlasts the romantic kind. Not to say that tears and buckets of ice cream (hello, emotional eating!) is wrong, and should be banished from a balanced person’s life. After all, of one thing that is certain is that one of our primary functions is to procreate and necessary to this, is finding a mate. As a result it can be disheartening and isolating when it seems everyone else is winning at this and you can’t even get a text back, in reply. This experience almost warrants the ‘dagger stares’ I have previously described (almost), yet in reacting in such a way, we undermine the importance of other relationships we all have. And until such a ‘friends’ or ‘siblings’ day is created, my Valentines Day will be another day I get to tell everyone I love, that I love them. So if in one years time when V-Day rolls around again and you find yourself single, don’t wallow in the knowledge that no one thinks you’re cool enough to date. Instead, bask in the corny glory that there are other people who have seen you at your messiest and dealt with your head when it’s at its craziest, and despite that, love you all the same.