There are two types of people on Valentine’s Day. First, there are the people who are just way too into it. They decorate their house, post approximately 1,000 photos of them and their significant other on Instagram, and wish literally everyone they see a happy Valentine’s Day like it’s Christmas. The whole nine yards. Then, there are the cynical anti-Valentine’s Day people who roll their eyes at all the hype, just praying that they get through the day as quickly as possible.
Speaking as a former Valentine’s Day hater, there are two subcategories of Valentine’s Day cynics: the single person who is reminded every year how painfully single they are and will watch all the couples be grossly adorable and in love with so much disdain, and there is the person who says Valentine’s Day is nothing more than a dumb commercial holiday created so that companies can exploit people for their money.
I’ve always been cynic number one, hating Valentine’s Day solely because of a lack of a partner around that fateful day. There was actually one year where I had a boyfriend during Valentine’s Day, but it was just my luck that he was living pretty far away. I was so tired of being alone every Valentine’s Day that I asked him to come visit me. From another state. Which he did. He booked a flight for the next day even though he probably should have been at work. Valentine’s Day does weird things to people, I’m telling ya.
Anyway, I think this is the first year ever where I’m perfectly happy staying home with my cat and reading a book like any other day, but also totally down for it if someone were to (miraculously) want to be my “Valentine,” because it’s just another day. I believe that’s called growing up. Or maturing, character development, whatever you prefer.
If you are currently dreading the 14th, if it feels like a bad storm is barreling toward you and there is nowhere safe to hide, let me offer some consolation. It’s really not a big deal if you’re single on Valentine’s Day because that just means you don’t have to share your candy. There’s a massive perk. Also, you don’t have to be stuck with gifts you won’t know what to do with the next day, chocolates you don’t like (am I the only one that thinks those little heart-shaped boxes of chocolates are gross or are we all collectively pretending to be happy whenever we receive one?), or the regret of realizing you only went out with somebody because it was Valentine’s Day and you didn’t want to be left out.
Go out and buy yourself one of those oversized teddy bears if you want one that bad. Treat yourself to a nice dinner out. Buy a dozen roses if that’s what you really want! Be your own Valentine.
All Valentine’s Day is is an excuse to spread a little love. To show the people you care about that you cherish them. It doesn’t have to be all about your significant other, or lack thereof.
My mom used to leave a little box of chocolates and a card for us kids when we’d get home from school every Valentine’s Day. Sometimes, she’d even throw in a stuffed animal or a balloon or something. That probably means more to me than any romantic Valentine ever will (sorry to my future boyfriend wherever you are, but you have to admit that it is really sweet). I used to love getting Valentines cards from everyone in class, too. Why did that have to stop in elementary school? Those were the best, even if it was pretty much required to bring one for every kid. Even that weird guy who still ate glue in the fifth grade got an equal amount of love as the cool kid who was kind of a jerk but every girl was secretly in love with. I wouldn’t mind giving those little cards with a Hershey Kiss or box of candy hearts taped to them to strangers on the street or to my coworkers without it being weird. I also always got a Valentine’s card from my grandmother for no reason other than because she wanted to. See how fun Valentine’s Day can be when you stop romanticizing it?
That’s why Valentine’s Day is more than just a commercial holiday. Yeah, companies love to sucker you for your money any chance they get, but so what? There’s nothing wrong with having an excuse to be extra loving to the people around you. It’s a fun thing to do and makes everyone feel a little warmer inside.
So, I will not be a Valentine’s Day cynic any longer. Nor will I feel like some sort of failure for being single, because I never feel like that on any other day of the year. It’s not rational. I am a strong independent woman who don’t need no man. (When will people stop finding that expression funny? Oh, they already have? Well. I mean. Too bad, I guess.)
Enjoy your Valentine’s Day because there really is no escaping it. Make the best of it, if you must. Send an anonymous rose to somebody to cheer them up or take your spouse/significant other on a fun date or eat ice cream and watch Netflix with your cat. Whatever floats your boat. No matter what you do, I think it’s time we stop making Valentine’s Day a bigger deal than it really is and just enjoying the day.