Monday, February 14, 2011
Science has yet to discover anything less original than a single person whining about how tough they have it on Valentine’s Day. “All those couples are giving each other gifts and slurping pasta romantically and then going to bedrooms to have sex as a couple, and I’m all alone and I’m just going to get drunk and watch TV in my underwear—my gross, staying-at-home-alone underwear, not the sexy underwear the Valentine’s couples are wearing—and then masturbate and feel awful about myself! Wahh! It’s so hard being single in the city!” Jesus, calm down, imaginary straw-man single person I just invented. There’s nothing wrong with masturbating and watching television. Do you know how many of those couples would rather not have the stress of having to have a romantic time out on a night mandated by a greeting card company?
The more thoughtful single people know that no one wants to hear them whining, so they acknowledge that Valentine’s Day is bad for couples too. That argument works like this: Romance that’s forcibly squeezed into a specific date isn’t romantic—it’s not spontaneous, and what’s more, the traditional Valentine’s Day trappings are pathetically unoriginal. Flowers, roses, chocolates, a red tablecloth? Bleh. I remember last Valentine’s Day, when I was coupled, standing in line at a chocolate shop, buying the same heart-shaped box of chocolates that a dozen other men--UPS workers, businessmen, and deli clerks--were also standing in line to buy. The alternative is to spend days thinking about, planning, and executing some grand, romantic-comedy-esque gesture, something involving her favorite album and a skywriter and dirt from the first park you ever had sex in—and who has time for that?
Some people actually like Valentine’s Day, though, and that should be respected. Maybe they don’t have a lot of time for romance, and maybe it’s nice for them to have a day set aside to eat chocolate, dress up for your partner for once, eat a good meal, and have some sex. Doesn’t that sound nice? Who honestly scoffs at that for being “unoriginal”? Especially if you’re in a long-term coupling situation, where you don’t do that stuff ordinarily, and especially if you’ve got kids and can’t do that stuff ordinarily.
The real problem with Valentine’s Day is that it’s the only secular holiday that actively excludes people. Are you really good at Valentine’s Day? Do you give great gifts and love trading smoky glances over candlelight? Well, you better have a significant other when February 14 comes around, or you can’t celebrate. You’re out in the cold with the other single people, going to some awful “ironic” Valentine’s Day event where the other singles reek of loneliness and cheap perfume. “We don’t care that we’re single!” the single people at these events will tell each other nervously over too many drinks. “Haha! We’re self-actualized individuals who know that happiness comes from an inner sense of accomplishment, not validation from a romantic life partner who will end up leaving us, just like everyone in our life to this point has left us! Haha!” I heard about a speed-dating event scheduled for February 13th, which depressed me immensely. If you are single the day before Valentine’s Day, for God’s sake, just keep being single. Have some pride, or at least pretend you do.
Single people have to ignore Valentine’s Day. We have no other choice. Banding together in groups and making a big deal out of our singledom just reminds us, and the world, that okay, maybe we do kind of care that we never wake up to someone holding us and even if chocolates are terribly played out it might be nice, once in a while, for someone else to buy us some. That sometimes we go home and drink wine straight out of the bottle because what really is the point of a glass when we are all alone, anyway? Just about the only thing that will make us feel better is blogging about how awful Valentine’s Day is. Aren’t all bloggers single?
To end on a moderately up note, Andre 3000’s “Happy Valentine’s Day” is a good song. But we are trying to ignore Valentine’s Day, so: