Monday, February 11
I hate Valentine's Day.
If you're single it can be such a blow to everything about you that makes you feel awesome. Even if you're not looking for someone, even if you're happy being alone, the marketing campaign for Valentine's Day is such a ruthless onslaught of HEARTS and LOVE and COUPLES that it's really hard not to feel bad about yourself for something that you actually have very little control over. Valentine's Day and the pervasive love culture in our society make us feel like it's easy to meet someone, it's easy to fall in love, it's easy to be happy, and it's fucking not. It is very difficult to do all of those things regardless of your relationship status. This year is the first year in many that I have more single friends than I do in couples and it bums me out to no end thinking about them thinking about Valentine's Day and feeling bad about themselves because some shitty construct designed only to make money is telling them that's how they should feel. It bums me out that it's not something they can avoid, really, and that by week's end they'll be listening to The Cure and The Magnetic Fields and just feeling like shit. And if that's not the case, awesome for them!, but that's exactly how it would go for me if I were single.
I've had someone to spend Valentine's Day with for most of my adult life, and it's still pretty awful. There is something about this holiday that is so forced and so fake that it's awkward and shitty. Maybe it's me? I just can't remember that last time I didn't cringe when the man I was dating turned to me and said, "What do you want to do for Valentine's Day?" Well, here are our options: We can try to go and eat at a stupid packed restaurant, we can go see a shitty movie, probably a horror movie because they release a lot of those around this time of year, why? Or we can cook dinner at home, which sounds nice, but then there's still this pressure for it to be special or perfect or whatever, and when I eat too much because the food is good and I'm bloated and I don't want to have sex, somehow the evening is ruined. And then we can't find anything on Netflix and we're not really speaking to each other anymore but it's not really a fight, either, and the night just sucks because it wasn't what the Valentine's Day Gods say it should be. We didn't slaughter the lamb. We didn't drink each others blood. We didn't gaze into each others eyes in a trance and chant the old rites: I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you...
And fuck flowers, man. I love a garden, but do not buy me flowers. Buy me a pair of tights. Buy me a cup of coffee and a pastry. Do not buy me something that is going to die and make a mess on my table and then I'm going to feel bad when I throw them in the garbage and don't save one of them and press it between a book.
Valentine's Day enforces this idea of a ridiculous, fluffy romantic love that is so difficult to produce, and is so cheesy that it feels wrong and stupid when you're pretending you've got it. I've had a lot of boyfriends with a lot of different ideas about love, romance, sentimentality, etc., but I can for sure say this: romance is, first of all, not pink, and it's not something you can buy. It's organic, it's spontaneous, and a lot of times its really simple. Romance is being bored together on a summer day and deciding to go for a drive and you made a new mix CD and together you caught the sun going down over the prairie and it was nice for a few minutes. It's waking up on a Sunday with hangovers and feeling terrible but still good because you're in bed together from dawn to dusk laughing and sleeping and eating sandwiches and maybe trying to watch a Star Trek movie but making out instead, even though you both reek. It's the very drunken early morning dance party that kept you up until dawn but you just didn't want it to stop. Romance is a tiny thing that only happens every now and again and you can't ever make it or plan for it, it just happens, and that's why it's lovely, because it's rare.
Valentine's Day is not romantic. If anything, Valentine's Day should be as unromantic as possible. It should be about telling people you love, all the people you love, that you love them and you appreciate them. It should be about making cupcakes for all your friends and family and going to watch a horror movie and eating too many slices of pizza, and if you get laid, you get laid. That could happen any day. Just like you could make cupcakes any day, just like you could tell someone you love them any day. It's whatever, February 14th, just some day. Fuck it.