I used to hate it. I mean, I really used to hate it. I would have been the poster girl in my teens and 20’s for saying “Valentine’s Day is just like any other day of the year.”
While there is truth to the idea, that you should not wait for a certain holiday or calendar date to tell someone you love, that you love them, the “Hallmark Holiday” can really carry a sting if you’re single.
Because, you’re supposed to be part of a couple! You’re supposed to be getting gifts. What!? You didn’t get a Valentine’s Day card? Wait! You did. From your dad. That doesn’t count. Or does it?
It ranks right up there with the theory you’re supposed to have a date for New Year’s Eve when you don’t.
See, Valentine’s Day – if you’re single – no one will give you roses or candy. You can’t go out to dinner with a boyfriend or girlfriend if you don’t have one. There’s so much pressure from society to “couple-up” on February 14th annually. And whether you walk into a Dunkin’ Donuts or a dollar store, beginning right after Christmas, it looks like Valentine’s Day threw up with red and pink hearts and decorations – All. Over. The. Place.
There’s no escaping it.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not anti-Valentine’s Day at all. At least, not in the sense that my daughter enlightened me to.
My daughter is 11 years old. I asked her what her favorite holiday was besides Christmas (and her birthday – she thinks her birthday is a national holiday on some levels : ) ). She said, “Valentine’s Day”. I was surprised. At age 11 she has not had any relationships or boyfriends. She really doesn’t understand romantic involvement yet.
I asked her why Valentine’s Day was her favorite holiday.
Manda answered, “Because it’s a day when people love each other. I love “love”. I love hearts and what they represent. I love you. I love Brisk (our dog). I love people telling each other, ‘I love you,’ always.”
Wow. Just wow.
She’s right. Isn’t that what Valentine’s Day should be about?
Through the eyes of babes…we can learn a lot.
It’s not about having a boyfriend or girlfriend. It’s not about being married or being single. It’s about loving others. It doesn’t matter if you love your dog or pet goldfish. And, you can (and should) love yourself. And even if none of those things thrill you, isn’t the concept of LOVE wonderful? That we, as humans, are capable of it!
She actually changed my thinking about the holiday.
When I was in my teens and 20’s, I dated. But, fate laughed at me, and I always wound up single on Valentine’s Day, no matter how hot and heavy things got in the months or weeks before with boyfriends at the time. So while some of my girlfriends were getting roses and bragging about them, I honestly wanted to hit them over the head with their bouquets. (Come on, some of you have to admit, deep down you felt the same way.) (It was kinda inconsiderate of them to flaunt their floral arrangements in front of me, after all.)
Even when I was in a relationship on Valentine’s Day, later on in life, it always felt like my significant other gave me flowers, candy, or a gift out of obligation – because it was February 14th… And honestly, I have to take an educated guess, that out of everyone who is attached to someone on Valentine’s Day, there are about 50% of couples where one person says something to themselves like:
“OMG. It’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow. If I don’t get her some roses and candy, she will never let me hear the end of it; and I won’t be able to sit and watch the game on TV without being yelled at. I better get her something just to keep peace, or I’ll never live it down.”
Or a version of that, which, can go vice versa, guy or gal, if their significant other comes up one flower short.
Is THAT what the holiday is all about?
Sadly, that is the truth in many, many relationships – and I know it is because many people have confided in me that exact kind of story. Societal pressure causes people to buy the mandatory card and go out to dinner on one of the most crowded nights of the year for restaurants, just because it’s – “Valentine’s Day”.
And, equally so, there ARE the couples that are truly enamored with each other and keep the magic alive, and can’t wait for another reason to celebrate their love. That’s awesome! But, you can do that any day of the year, and you should.
I wish Sex and the City (the movie) (the first one), was around when I was a teen. Watching the famous Valentine’s Day scene between Carrie and Miranda changed the way that I view Valentine’s Day. To recap for those of you who have never watched it, both Carrie and Miranda just broke up with their significant others and were single (again) on Valentine’s Day. They decided to go out to dinner and the restaurant was decorated like V-Day on steroids with pink and red balloons dangling curly ribbon that danced in front of your face while you sat at your table. All meals were made special “for two” that evening. Before they placed their orders, the waitress referred to them as girlfriends in the couple sense. There was no escape.
I admired the characters portrayed. They were brave and attempted to go beyond the boundaries of Cupid’s definition of what one should be doing on Valentine’s Day. That scene encouraged me from that moment on to not be so concerned if I were single or dating on the date in question. Whereas, in my 20’s I felt crushed if I didn’t have a date or delivery of flowers.
Honestly, it’s no big deal. The quantity of flowers and candy received does not equate to the measurement of feelings that someone has for you.
(And ok, some of you at this point may be pointing fingers at me and saying in front of your smartphones, “Girl, you’re just bitter is all. Only a single woman who is a hater of Valentine’s Day would say this stuff.” My response: “I truly am a very, very happy woman, and will never need a man to measure that for me. Been there; done that. I’ve been married and am happily divorced. I love the single life. Give me my guy on any day of the year, and you’ll see me smile from ear to ear. And even when I choose not to post my relationship bliss to oblivion in public forums, I’ll still never make the mistake of judging someone’s love for me by materialistic mis-appreciation. Oh, and P.S. It's kinda hot keeping my private life private. It keeps people guessing! ;) )
(P.P.S. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate gifts on any given day - I'm just sayin' there's too much ado about Valentine's Day.)
If I’m in a relationship and the 14th rolls around – great. Awesome. That works for me. If I’m single, then I embrace the day for exactly what it is – and celebrate those who love me, and who I love back – whether it be my daughter, dog, best friend, or a kindhearted soul who comes across my way.
Marching to the beat of my own drum was just reinforced by that S.A.T.C. scene – once I saw it, I no longer worried about what others thought of me when I went to see a movie alone, or when I sat in a coffee shop at a table for two, with an empty chair across from me. I never was one to blend into societal “norms”. I have always been much more independent at heart. And when I follow my heart, not the heart-shaped boxes of candy on Valentine’s Day, I am much, much happier for it.
And with that, I end this with an “xoxo” to you all – and big, huge hugs.