Tomorrow, millions of unoriginal people will give and receive chocolates, flowers and diamonds for the elaborate courting ritual of Valentine’s Day. Women will wear red or black lace lingerie and men will take them out to dinner at expensive restaurants with prix fixe specials for V-Day, and if he went to Jared, which he did because of those abominable commercials, the women will receive diamonds. Then these people will go home and have boring, conventional sex.
Meanwhile, hip couples will have smug “anti-Valentine’s Day” things in which they ironically wear red and make their own artisanal chocolates at home. While all this is going on, single people will feel kind of down all day and either stay at home and get drunk by themselves or get together with their other single friends while everyone assumes a false mien of cheerfulness about being single.
Valentine’s Day is the absolute fucking worst.
This article over at Slate, which is your standard Slate-y fare but regardless!, argues that the hatred for Valentine’s Day is unfair and unfounded. We should just enjoy it.
Torie Bosch writes:
I’m almost afraid to say it: I have plans for Valentine’s Day.
And I don’t mean ironic, anti-Valentine’s Day plans that attempt to reclaim the holiday for feminism, for singletons, for the smart and skeptical and disaffected. My longtime boyfriend and I have sincere, romantic plans. If I’m lucky, there may even be chocolate and flowers involved.
Well la-dee-da! Your boyfriend is a real visionary. Chocolate and flowers.
Bosch goes into detail about how one of the main criticisms of Valentine’s Day — that it’s a fake holiday spawned by greedy corporations that hawk diamonds and cards and stuff — is unfounded, because the holiday actually dates back farther than you’d think. That’s besides the point, because it doesn’t change the fact that Valentine’s Day is the worst.
It’s bad if you’re single, for obvious reasons. When you’re single, Valentine’s Day is an extended version of that scene in Bridget Jones’ Diary where she’s lying on the couch in flannel pj’s listening to “All By Myself” and drinking wine. Or that’s what it feels like, anyway. Even if you think V-Day is stupid and generally ignore it, it forces you to reflect on your relationship status and probably feel bad about it.
Couples don’t have it any better. I knew my last serious relationship was falling apart when my soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend gave me a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day. I opened them and thought, “I could be anyone. This could be a present for anyone.”
I suspect there are men reading this right now and being like, “What! Women love chocolates for Valentine’s Day!” Guys, listen, you’re thinking that because you’ve been brainwashed and you’re probably wildly unimaginative. And that’s why Valentine’s Day sucks so hard: because it turns everyone into one type of boring person. If you’re in a relationship, you have to act out this codified ritual, and if you’re single you do too. Single people are made to feel lonely, while people in relationships are made to feel pressure.
Not to get all cheesy and shit, but why do we need a holiday to celebrate the individual and special (oh my God, please let me not have just really written that) love that two people have for one another? Why would you want your relationship to be lumped in with millions of other peoples’ relationships? Celebrate your anniversary, if you care about that kind of stuff. Celebrate the first time you had sex or realized that you both loved 2001: A Space Odyssey or something. Do something that’s about you and your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/sex slave/whatever, not something that’s about a trite idea of what relationships should be.
Ugh! God. It’s just the worst. And don’t even get me started on the hideous spectacle of New Year’s Eve.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 13, 2011