Valentine’s Day is exhausting. Amidst the red and pink Pantone hearts and streamers and pastel colored candy hearts, is a minefield of faux pas and pressure induced headaches. Credit cards suffer fatigue from overuse, and expectations are inflated to larger-than-life sizes practically daring you to employ a pinprick of disappointment to allow the air to seep out slowly (if you’re lucky enough to avoid an explosion.) It’s a completely fabricated “holiday” that was invented in the name of commerce. However, it’s awfully nice to receive presents, even if it’s because corporate America and society at large forced someone to give them to you.
Like any other day, Valentine’s Day – sponsored by Hallmark – has its pros and cons.
From what I’ve written, you may think that I am completely soured on the idea of Valentine’s Day, but I can certainly find a bunch of positive attributes about it. For example, Valentine’s Day is a wonderful excuse for me be showered with the gift I desire – nay, require – most: attention. My significant other is obligated to at the very least acknowledge that he’s chosen me to hang out with in the long term. We don’t exchange gifts, (how gauche!) but we do make sure that we set aside time from our busy schedules to be with one another, even if it’s just to get in pajamas and watch Downton Abbey. And that’s probably what we’ll do.
Beyond just significant others, people in general tend to make nice gestures on Valentine’s Day. Some workplaces have the occasional do-gooder who will bring in delicious pink-frosted baked goods or Whitman’s Samplers chock full of caramel or cherry filled chocolates. It’s much easier to get through a long workday on a sugar high, even as the late day crash lurks in the near future.
I still receive Valentine cards with scratch-off lottery tickets in the mail from my parents. I never win, but it’s always nice to receive mail.
For every positive thing about the big day, I can think of something…not so fun. For example, it’s not the most exciting day for single people. It’s ridiculous to even fathom that people would be made to feel bad on a day to celebrate love, but it happens. The more single people claim to be totally OK on Valentine’s Day, the sadder it seems. I know, I’ve spent several by myself, and was the recipient of many a look of pity accompanied by the patronizing head tilt that’s supposed to convey, “Oh honey, you poor thing.”
It’s not an easy day for couples ,either. There’s so much pressure to do the right thing, to be cute and romantic, and to break the bank to prove how much you love another person. You look into the eyes of your partner and say, “We should act like this every day, not just Valentine’s Day.” But really, no relationship could ever sustain that much focus on the other person. Proper negotiations for how you’re going to handle the holiday are necessary. No one wants to be the victim of dashed expectations.
Some people absolutely love Valentine’s Day, and these people are to be avoided at all costs. These are the same people that will talk for a half hour before they ask you how you’re doing. These people will project their own insecurities on you.
I’m afraid if you’re looking to go out to eat anywhere in the city on the day itself or the weekend after, you’re simply out of luck. Reservations will be overrun with couples or large groups of friends. You’re better off staying at home.
Enjoy the day – or don’t – it’s up to you. Either way, don’t succumb to the pressures of society to celebrate in any way inauthentic to yourself.
And manscape. Don’t forget to manscape.