February, 14. Valentine’s day or also known as just another day to compare ourselves to others. It is definitely a day full of cliches and a good day to buy stuff you don’t actually need but marketeers made you believe you do. It’s another chance to go to that restaurant you have been wanting to go for a long time but it’s a bit out of your budget. But hey, it’s Valentine’s day so it’s okay to go a little bit over your budget this month.
“So what are you girls doing for Valentine’s day?” – my friends ask in a group chat. “It’s just another day. I don’t really care.” – says one of my friends who is about to get married. “Yeah, we also don’t celebrate but this year since we are in lockdown we want to do something special” – says another one who is also in a relationship. “We are just gonna order some food.” – says the only one in the group who is married. “I also never celebrated. At the most we were going out for dinner.” – I said. “I really don’t like Valentine’s day. It’s all about hearts and shit.” – says the only one who is not in a relationship.
I wondered: are we all ashamed to assume that we actually celebrate Valentine’s day? Or is it just that we don’t want to rub in the face of single people our love story? A quick run through Instagram confirms that we don’t really care about single people because everyone is sharing that surprise (perhaps a staged surprise? How could they be already filming before knowing what it was about to happen?) that his/her other half did. After all, every life coach will tell you to love yourself first so single people have no reason to be depressed over Valentine’s day, right?
But why this day attracts so much love and hate at the same time? A day that was suppose to be all about love, it’s kind of ironic how it can trigger so much hate. I guess it’s all about the social pressure that this day represents and how we always try to fit a standardized pattern. Oh my God, are you still single? How come your boyfriend didn’t give you a present (Sorry ladies! But in this case, I think there’s more pressure on the man to give a gift or prepare a surprise!)? What are you doing for Valentine’s day? These kind of questions represent a pressure that even if we are in a relationship we don’t want to have over our shoulders.
Most single people don’t want to be reminded that they are currently not in a relationship and people who are in a relationship are afraid to be reminded that their relationship is not as perfect as that of its peers. Our society made us believe that we are much happier and fulfilled when we are in a relationship than when we are not. In some cultures, if you are a single woman in your thirties or forties you’re completely doomed because you were not capable of conquering love and a man, even if you have an amazing career and you feel totally happy by yourself. So many times people stay in abusive relationships because in the eyes of society being in a destructive relationship is better than being alone.
There are so many expectations to live up to that sometimes is just better to say that we don’t celebrate Valentine’s day or that we hate this day so we don’t feel that much pressure. No other random celebration day gives us so many mixed feelings. I mean, did you know that 1st of March is the national peanut butter lover’s day? I didn’t. Not everyone likes peanut butter but I don’t see people ranting about it online, because who cares? Why do we care so much about Valentine’s day? Because the media won’t shut up about it, because every brand sees it as an opportunity to sell and fills your inbox with “buy 1 get 2” emails, because the hashtag #valentinesday is trending topic on social media, because we don’t want to be left out.
At the risk of sounding like a life coach – which is not my intention at all (what do I know about life?) -, my advice would be take it as it is: a day to celebrate love, any kind of love (yourself, your parents, your pet, your partner, your food, your plants, your books, etc.). Don’t hate this day or any other day. If you want to be corny and embrace all the cliches in the world, do it! There’s nothing to be ashamed of. If you are happily alone, there’s nothing to feel guilty about. If you feel that you don’t fit in this day, there are 364 other days for you to fit in. At the end of the day, it’s just a day.