I am single this Valentine’s Day. And does that mean my opinion on this Hallmark holiday is due to my Sex And The City style single-girl bitterness? Nope! I have (almost) always thought Valentine’s Day was a bullshit holiday, even when I was in happy relationships. That’s not to say that I never once placed stupid expectations on my past partners or felt hurt if they forgot, but as I got older (and more emotionally stable – sorry, ex boyfriends), I came to understand why it’s bullshit – for the below reasons.
It puts meaningless pressure on relationships.
Something weird happens to otherwise reasonable people on Valentine’s Day. Even if you’re perfectly happy with your partner the other 364 days of the year, suddenly this anxiety emerges and your entire relationship boils down to one day. You start worrying about what dinner reservations your partner has planned, if you’ll be the only one NOT to receive a flower delivery at work – yet you don’t ask or remind your partner, because it’s a test to see if they remembered on their own. It’s happened to the best of us, but is this not crazy person behavior? If you see your love as being defined by a grand, often expensive gesture by your partner – I think that says a lot more about you and your own insecurities than it does about the strength of your relationship.
It turns single people into pussies.
Believe it or not, being single on February the 14th is actually not the end of the world. I am so over the “woe is me” single-girl-on-Valentine’s-Day bit. How sad is it to place so much of your identity and value on your relationship status? There are single people who are completely happy and fulfilled, and there are couples who are completely miserable. Sitting at home watching Bridget Jones’ Diary and pounding down a pint of ice cream because you’re single is not only sad, but that mentality certainly won’t help you attract a partner into your life. Bitterness ain’t cute, and the sooner we can learn to celebrate each other’s love and happiness, the sooner we’ll experience it in our own lives, too.
It perpetuates stereotypical gender roles.
For heterosexual couples, Valentine’s Day is overwhelmingly considered a “woman’s holiday”, where the man’s duty is to shower his girlfriend/wife with presents, dinner, flowers and the like. I’ve heard the reasoning for this being due to the fact that women (supposedly) do so many small, thoughtful things for their male partners all year long with (supposedly) no recognition or thank yous, so she deserves ONE NIGHT to be lavished in praise to make the playing field slightly more even. Stereotypes abound. If you are constantly keeping score of the favors you do for your partner, or if you’re feeling unappreciated – a romantic Valentine’s Day ain’t gonna fix that, and it’s probably time to ask yourself some tough questions. Plus, all of this implies that women need a man to validate or take care of them, which is obviously, bullshit.
Let’s be honest – it’s for Instagram.
If you don’t flex about it on the gram, did it even happen? In a world full of social media oversharing and comparison, I think the most romantic thing sounds like a night alone with your partner, where neither of you touches your phone once, enjoying and staying present with each other (without having to prove to everyone else that it happened, on Feb 14th or otherwise) 😍 Just me?
We should be showing love to our partners every day.
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with praising your loved one on social media or buying presents, why do we need a designated day for this? Love should be expressed on a daily basis, and not always with over-the-top gestures. Showing up for someone when they need you, picking up the slack for your partner during times of stress, or even something as simple as sending an “I’m thinking of you” text out of the blue are all equally as loving gestures that strengthen a relationship little by little every day.
Moral of the story:
Does all this mean I’m a hater who thinks couples shouldn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day at all? Also nope. If two consenting adults want to go all out with a romantic evening, have at it. But at the end of the day it should be about two equals, celebrating each other in a way that’s free from anxiety, stress and expectation. After all, it’s supposed to be about love. Last year when I was in a relationship, my ex-boyfriend and I made zero plans, so when I did receive flowers from him it was the sweetest, most unexpected surprise that I genuinely appreciated. To me, these gestures mean so much more when you don’t see them coming, but they also don’t make or break a relationship. When we finally did break up, I can assure you it had nothing to do with what we did or didn’t do on Valentine’s Day!
Dress | Reformation (different print here)
Jacket | Levi’s
Boots | Jeffrey Campbell (similar here)
Bag | Zara (similar here)