Valentine’s Day Schmalentine’s Day

Other than a New Year’s Eve kiss at midnight, on what other date is so much pressure placed on being a couple? Yes, it is different for girls. Valentine shamed when no large vase of long-stemmed red roses appears on your desk at work–the horror of glaring singleton status on Valentine’s Day. Mind you, those red roses probably sold for twice their usual price on February 14. Whoah, he must REALLY love you.

Because this is how love is measured on Valentine’s Day.

Well, I am here to tell you that I might have to call bullshit on this heart day myth. I’ve had wannabe boyfriends, real boyfriends, lovers, husbands, and even former husbands compete to show an expression of love for me in varying degrees of this holiday of hype. And I’ve also observed the male species struggle with the perfect gift dilemma trying to meet this pressure to please.

Are flowers enough?

Delivered to work? At home?

If I buy my own flowers and vase, does this count?

Can I give her candy if she’s on a juice diet?

Oh gawd, is this a jewelry occasion?

Dinner. Fack, you need reservations?

I loved the years when I was fussed over as if I were royalty–because I am indeed a princess. My enlightened men recognized this right away. And I remember so fondly the clever ones who created handmade cards with heartfelt pledges of undying forever love.

Forever turned out to be not so forever, but the sentiment tore at my heartstrings.

Nowadays I run on the single path. There will be no red roses for me at work. No cards or romantic dinners. Just another day just like any other. I usually buy a package of colored candy hearts and write dirty messages on them like, “Blow Me” and mail them to other single friends. It amuses me and has become my Valentine’s Day tradition. Perhaps this year I’ll expand my candy production and send a few out to some of those former boyfriends, lovers, and husbands. I laugh myself giddy thinking of the message possibilities.

It is too bad we had to leave the simpler times of a big box at the front of the second-grade classroom, when everyone was guaranteed a Be Mine Valentine card, and we dreamed of who might have sent this oh-so-romantic sentiment.

But life moved on to the grownup holiday that somehow morphed into a Couples Competition. I actually don’t miss it. I’ll likely spend the day binge-watching Downton Abbey, ordering random things online for myself and having them gift-wrapped.

To: Dori

From: Dori

“I know you’re really going to love this!”

So, in honor of this upcoming holiday, I celebrate my singledom in the face of Hallmark pressure and say here, have a candy heart …

Happy Valentine’s Day. Bite me.


Photo Credit: France1978 via Compfight cc

  1. Rachael,
    Hahaha, I’m STILL buying Valentine presents for myself–no boyfriend or husband! Oh, the immense pressure on my former husband. Overcrowded malls, overbooked restaurants (I worked in one, too), everything has always felt so obligatory and forced to me. You’re so right about the commercialization of some holidays. I call them the Hallmark Holidays. I actually feel sorry for my son on Mother’s Day. Poor baby, he has terrible anxiety, and I know this is his Hallmark hell! I am laughing so hard about buying candy on February 15 because this is exactly what I intend to do! Tonight I might just take your Valentine idea and do the couch in my jammies. Downton Abbey night! Thank you so much, Rachael, for reading the essay and taking the time to share your comments……Dori

  2. Mary,
    Same same same here! I am so embarrassed by once shaming a former husband for giving me, “obligatory” red roses…ouch! I just took my dog for a walk, looked around, and it SEEMED like just any other day–haha. I made little jars of candy for my son, mom, a friend, and one of my brothers. That was really the best I could do for Valentine’s Day. If I wasn’t going to be fussed over, I figured I could do something nice for people I knew who were in the same situation. Although, I can just picture my son rolling his eyes when he opens the package I shipped to him, LOL!

  3. haha, amen! I love the one about dinner reservations….as someone who quite often works in restaurants on Valentines day I see this happen!
    I’m just not excited about participating in the ‘commercial’ aspect of tradition’s anyway and I especially don’t like paying an excess fee because of it. No “Valentine” for me in over four years now and I haven’t been married for over 10 so haven’t had much reason to participate, anyhow, except with my kids (and also to swoop in like a vulture when the chocolate goes on sale the next day…..). Even when I was married I would more make use of the sentiment of the occassion without buying into the commercial aspect. My then-husband hated the mall more than everything in the world so my gift was to release him of the ridiculous pressure of expectation (according to some set ideal) and most likely we would avoid the crowds and stay home to make a nice dinner in our pyjamas. I would show him the present he bought me (which I’d selected for myself and was probably on sale) and then thank him for it with a massage and some monkey business. Win/win.

  4. Awesome, Dori! It’s a terrible holiday for so many reasons. I started hating it in high school when the school sold roses that people could send to their Valentine–or prospective Valentine. It was torture walking the halls all day with no flowers, while the popular girls ran around looking like they’d just won a pageant. Then there were the torturous bad-boyfriend years when I’d work myself into a lather over whether he’d remember the day. Ugh. Even now that I’m happily married, Valentines Day gives me terrible anxiety.

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