I keep my mouth shut throughout all the Christian holidays. Or rather, the uber-Christian holidays. I don’t demand that people explain to me why rabbits are synonymous with Jesus being resurrected. I don’t roll my eyes at people giving up things for lent, only to betray their own moral compass by gorging on chocolate within the first week or going straight back to the cigarettes. I really, really, really, REALLY don’t enjoy New Year’s Eve but I always tell myself that this year will be different and I pretend to have a great time. I celebrate your right to fast, I encourage your right to paint ash on your forehead after Shrove Tuesday. I love Diwali, Passover, Chinese New Year, Christmas, Halloween–I even celebrate International Men’s Day in Movember.
So why, why, why, WHY….can’t people celebrate and respect my wish to enjoy Valentine’s Day without turning into insufferable, grinch-like holiday hipsters? There is never indifference in regard to Valentine’s Day; only deep, bubbling, burning hatred that can only come from a soul that is salivating in complete misery and bitterness or an ego that is so in love with its own self-importance, it can no longer see itself for the societal sheep it has become; the kind that it claims to hate so very much.
Yeah, I said it.
“I don’t need a specific day to say I love you, I do that every day.”
No, you don’t. Only a certain few can get away with this line of bullshit, my friend Johanna being one of them (hey, Jo! Don’t mean you, girl. You’re good) because that’s what it is. A crock of bullshit.
If we showed our other half, our friends, our friends with benefits, how much we actually appreciate them every single day, it would not only lose its value as an affectionate form of expression, it would also drive a wedge into the relationship. For God’s sake, one of the reasons I despise “Fifty Shades” so much is because they’re constantly crying at the idea of being apart and listing off essays to one another every hour about how they cannot live without each other.
“Babe, went to get more coffee beans, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH DON’T EVER LEAVE ME YOU’RE MY ROCK AND THE BREAD TO MY BUTTER AND I WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU KNOW THIS EVERY SINGLE MINUTE OF EVERY SINGLE DAY!”
So we say it every now and then, or when it’s desperately needed. We throwaway the odd “I love ya”, the “ya” being a deliberate choice to lessen the intensity of the moment but still assure the other party that they matter.
Valentine’s Day is the day for everyone. Every kind of love that ever existed (as long as there’s consent, y’all, come on–it’s still me) and that’s what people seem to forget. It’s not only a day for couples; a day for them to flaunt their partnership to lonely hearts and newly made single people who take every public display of affection as a personal attack.
It’s a day for friends who haven’t spoken in forever, where they can pipe up and say, “I’m busy and I’m far away but I’m still thinking of you”. It’s for family members. It’s for people in long-distance relationships. It’s for parents and children. It’s for pets. It’s for hopeless romantics. It’s for cynics who want to get together and be cynical. It’s for the person who has been working up the courage to tell someone else how they actually feel.
The only people allowed to actually hate Valentine’s Day, or Single’s Awareness Day if you prefer, are waiters and bartenders.
Turning your back on a day that, in essence, encourages human connection and affection is not cool or original. It’s lazy and boring.
“It’s a money-making scheme, trying to get me to spend money on cards and flowers.”
Yup. Tell that to your iPhone that you’re glued to, you maverick, you. Capitalism sure hasn’t got its claws in you.
Maybe presents are why I love it. I loved coming into school and getting little packages in my cubby made up of candy hearts, sherbet sticks and a little red envelope. My friends would instantly own up to the ones from them, but the anonymous cards would provide mystery for weeks on end.
The anonymous aspect of Valentine’s Day is quite rare now, I will grant that. You know who your gifts are from but they’re welcome nonetheless.
Anyhow…I will be spending my Valentine’s Day with a good dinner and then a large, professional screening of my favourite film (The Apartment) at the Southbank. I can’t actually wait. And I’m tired of being patronised and ridiculed for loving this particular day. My friends are getting little gifts whether they like it or not and I will be playing cheesy music for the entire weekend.
I encourage you to do the same. Maybe when your other half goes, “Oh, yeah, me too” when you slag off V-Day, they’re actually very disappointed. Maybe your best friend needs some spoiling. Maybe you need to phone home. Maybe your dog needs an extra long walk.
Maybe try living one day not all about you for once? Or maybe, if you’re newly single, try living one day all entirely about yourself?
Happy Valentine’s Day, Shaders. We’re all still here, aren’t we? Let’s celebrate that.