Everyone by now knows the story of St. Valentine. He created a bad name for himself peddling heart-shaped boxes of chocolate and greeting cards with sappy sayings on them. The final straw came when he did “a diamond is a girl’s’ best friend” commercial and he was beheaded. Those Romans might have been cocky, but they didn’t mess around.
For the first time in 21 years I’m experiencing Valentine’s Day as a single person and I’m absolutely fucking thrilled about the idea. Can you say stress free? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy being in love and doing things for my partner. I’ve done more candlelight dinners than I can count. I’ve read heartfelt poems with tears streaming down my face and willfully performed a host of other gestures that would be worthy of happening on February 14th. The kicker is that very few of them have occurred on that day. I’ve just done whatever, whenever I’ve desired.
I have also been lucky that my past partners haven’t been too hung up on the day as a way to define a relationship. Even so, Valentine’s day has always been an uneasy fit for me; a forced gesture that if not fulfilled, society seems to insist, renders all of my other relationship qualities and occurrences meaningless.
To me Valentine’s Day feels like the dis-ingenuousness of a window dressing or an election campaign. It’s mainly subterfuge and not representative of my real world experiences with my loved one’s. There’s a tendency of not just trying to prove the worth of my relationship on this one day, but to prove it against other people’s relationships as well. “Did you hear what Jim did for Brenda on Valentine’s Day? He jumped out of a plane with only white doves slowing his descent and a banner trailing behind him professing his love while he sang a song he wrote with Coldplay (because not everything can be A-list).”
I think this day can be whatever we want it to be. We each have to make our own way in this life, but for fucks sake people, let’s not get carried away. Remember that this day has been created for you by a greedy corporate class. At it’s core Valentine’s Day is a way to commoditize our emotions and sell them back to us in the form of products and services. If corporations have to use your insecurities to get what they want (your money and loyalty) then they’re cool with that. Hell, those slimy bastards went to college and studied hard so they could learn to do that very thing.
My hope is that you don’t wait for a single day throughout the year to tell those close to you how you feel (or to judge the state of your relationship). Tell them now, show them often and say fuck you to the commodity based holiday calendar.
For those of you, like me, who are single on this day. Count your blessings. Maybe you want to date someone or maybe you don’t but realize that there is a certain freedom in being free from the rat race of consumerism. Besides, if you feel left out you could always take up celebrating Christmas.
So with all the smarmy sarcasm I can muster, “Hey Fucker! Won’t you be my Valentine?”