So Valentine’s Day is upon us, which gives us singletons every reason to be bitter and sickened at the day that is devoted to celebrating soppy love of the worst kind. But as I am sat writing this in Black Medicine Coffee, I realise that, as a singleton, I love Valentine’s Day.
Yes, I may be surrounded by loved-up couples; but, as I eavesdrop on their banal conversions and their petty squabbles over who gets the last bite of the cookie, I thank myself for remaining true to myself. For not giving into finding someone, anyone in fact, even the fat, ugly and the boring, to keep me company this February fourteenth. Okay, so I may not feel this elated on Valentine’s Day every year. But I am very lucky this year to have friends to celebrate the day of love with. After all, the celebration of love shouldn’t be confined to simply Eros.
If you look closely, you can see society’s move away from the romantic element of Valentine’s Day, or I should say its increasingly commercial aspect. The cynics have banned the word, the feminists are using it as a day to celebrate menstruation and the O-thing, while the lonely and depressed have invented Singles Awareness Day, aka SAD, to combat feelings of deficiency.
In the past, I have tended to follow the cynics. I do bitter and twisted very well, and quite enjoy the feeling of irritation when I see an amorous couple. To evoke this feeling of bitterness and exasperation, just picture the nauseating Valentine’s Day cards with ‘You’re the one for me’ and ‘To the best girlfriend in the world’ (because they have tried all the other women on this planet, and they just don’t cut it compared to you, obviously). Now I realize exactly why the Valentine’s Day cards that I have received in the past always disappoint me; they are empty and meaningless.If I had a Valentine this year (by which I mean someone to whom I felt obliged to send a card) I found the perfect card in Paperchase. Do you recall the kidnapping letter font used in all scary, stalker films? Well, scrawled across my Valentine’s Day card of choice was ‘I love to watch you while you sleep’, in those kidnapping letters. If that doesn’t spell out love then I don’t know what love is. I am not trying to say that I am a stalker, it’s just that I think two people who are truly in love they would be able to see the irony in the commercialism of Valentine’s Day, as opposed to buying whole-heartedly into that shit.
Last year, I moved away from the cynic’s position on Valentine’s Day. So I celebrated V-Day by reading a short story from Speak (an anonymous collection of sexual experiences, collated by the University of Edinburgh’s Feminist Society) in a Vagina Monologuesque performance. It was empowering, meaningful, and an event that was, thankfully, lacking in commercialism and starry-eyed heterosexuals; it was my idea of bliss. Sadly, this year’s alternative feminist celebrations have been taken over by a local Anarchist-feminist group in a week dedicated to ‘Femstruation’. It reeks (sorry for the schoolboy pun) of clichés, with the tagline ‘Starts heavy, ends light’, and an entrance discount for those dressed in red. Yes, menstruation needs to be destigmatised, but celebrating it is just a step too far. It is just plain weird.
This takes me to those individuals who may be celebrating SAD. I may have rejected the path of the cynic and the radical feminist, but I cannot bring myself to celebrate ‘SADness’. Being single on Valentine’s Day brings enough self-awareness and labelling the condition just delves into the realm of self-pity, which is why I have created my own celebration of platonic love on Valentine’s Day. It is an opportunity to celebrate friendship and to remind your best friends, some of whom you haven’t spoken to in months, that you love them and cherish their friendship.
It is such a brilliant feeling when you receive texts that read ‘I love you too’ and ‘Aw thanks hun, happy Valentine’s Day!’ It reminds you what really matters in life, and it certainly isn’t a ‘To the best girlfriend in the world’ card.