For All the Single People on Valentine’s Day
This one day a year is inconsequential compared to the love that surrounds you every day.
I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day. But it’s not because I’m single. Or lonely. Or bitter about my past.
In fact, I delight in sharing my disappointing Valentine’s Day stories. They never fail to crack me up.
There was the well-meaning boyfriend who knew I loved Carly Simon and surprised me with an at-home date in which he lit candles around his bedroom, turned on her greatest hits CD and pulled me into a slow dance.
The song he chose: That’s the Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be.
Not wanting to hurt his feelings or express ingratitude, I whispered, “Do you know what this song is about?”
He smiled, dreamily — I’m pretty sure he was high, as he usually was — and said, “Yeah. They want to move in together and have kids.”
I decided not to correct him and stood there letting him sway with me as the overwhelming sadness of that song threatened to drown me.
I also laugh at the memory of my first Valentine’s Day with my last partner, and how excited I was when he invited me over and told me we were going to dance and he was going to make a homemade meal for me. We’d never done anything romantic at that point, and he’d never, ever cooked anything for me, so I was pretty stoked.
Unfortunately, I got my period that day and wasn’t feeling great, but like a champ, I showed up at his front door with a smile and hope in my eyes. He told me to lay down and relax for a while until I felt better, and so I spent the next hour on his couch while he played on his laptop.
Finally, growing a little impatient and feeling incredibly neglected (he hadn’t touched me other than to hug me the entire evening), I mentioned that I was excited to get on with the festivities.
Looking flustered and annoyed, he took the hint and disappeared into the kitchen for twenty minutes. Then he brought me a bowl of Kraft macaroni and cheese.
Folks…I was 31 years old and my boyfriend had just cooked noodles and covered them in cheese-flavored powder for our first Valentine’s Day dinner together. Keep in mind, a week prior, when he had been sick, I’d driven 14 miles to his house to bring him two bags of groceries and then I stayed and made him soup and hand-mixed herbal teas that I thought would help him feel better. And yet, on our first romantic holiday together, he couldn’t have at least given me real cheese?
And if you’re wondering, I never got my dance, either. That was the first time I discovered that he didn’t like to touch me when I was on my period.
Super romantic, right?
Believe it or not, these memories make me laugh today. How can I even convey the absurdity of it all?
The entire concept of Valentine’s Day seems so absurd to me. Some women have such high expectations of it, and some men treat it like a chore they really don’t want to perform. And in the end, honestly, who really cares?
Because the reason I don’t like Valentine’s Day is that it’s not a real holiday. Yes, it has roots in the Christian stories around St. Valentine, but let’s get real. This is one of those days that really was conceived by the people who knew they could make a profit off it. And the way we celebrate it today feels stuffy, false, and suffocating to me.
If I was in a relationship, I’d rather have a lover who celebrated Imbolc (February 1st) with me. Maybe he or she would be buy me a special candle and then we’d light it before spending a long night in bed worshiping my nipples. You know, as a symbolic gesture to honor the theme of the holiday (its name comes from the word oimelc, which means ewe’s milk). Now that’s a romantic celebration to me.
Just because I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean that I would ever be so foolish as to ignore an opportunity to celebrate love.
I can get down with some of the traditions of this (fake) holiday. What a great excuse to send a love note through the mail. I just received a Valentine’s Day card from Frank with an owl on the front and it made my day.
When I’m financially able, I love sending my girlfriends flowers. Receiving flowers is such a delight. It doesn’t matter who they are from, how they got to you, or why you received them. Please, don’t save buying flowers for only the person (or people) with whom you are sharing physical intimacy. And please don’t save flowers for one day a year. Buy some for your best gal pals, your mother, your sisters, your nieces, your daughters.
And chocolate…oh heavens. Is there anything better in the world? Well, sex, okay yes. But chocolate gets me there every single time. Dark. Salted. Maybe with dried fruit, nuts, coconut, or caramel. Dear gods, it makes me hot just to think of it.
And self-care items. Don’t forget that. Give your friends organic herbal teas, bath and body products, or gift certificates for massages or acupuncture. It’s so important to remind ourselves and each other to take care of oneself.
At the very least, take this day to tell the people that you love how you feel about them.
A friend of mine recently confided that she is dreading Valentine’s Day because she has been lonely for a romantic partner. Of course I understand this. There have been so many times in my life when I have felt this way. Loneliness is, after all, part of the human experience.
What’s important to remember, and what I think I have finally truly understood, is that loneliness doesn’t belong only to single people. We all feel it, even in a roomful of close friends and relatives. And the loneliness I have felt when in a relationship was somehow even worse than any of the loneliness I’ve felt as a single woman.
There will be times when I feel lonely, no doubt, but I’m perfectly happy to celebrate this Valentine’s Day on my own — this year and any other year in the future.
I have to admit, ever since I bought my own house and built a fence around my garden, I’ve been completely enamored with myself. I can operate a circular saw without flinching. How hot is that?
Plus, I have made it a point this past year to deepen my platonic relationships and take notice of all the love I already have in my life. For instance:
- As I mentioned, I have a BFF who just sent me a Valentine’s Day card.
- I have another bestie who will likely make me feel very special this Valentine’s Day.
- Then there’s my old friend from college who sends me daily love-themed GIFs throughout the month of February every year for the past decade.
- There’s another friend who lives across the country who is sending me a care package.
- I have a darling, beloved friend who just bought me a bunch of beautiful yarn with which I’m going to knit a cozy shawl.
- Hell, I even have two hot witch-sisters who care enough about me to dream up a sexy, sapphic, forest threesome for us. Now that’s love.
I don’t feel sad to be single for another Valentine’s Day. Not in the slightest. Because I feel adored.
Of course, I would love for my Valentine’s Day to include a long cuddle on the sofa, a bubble bath with a partner who can’t keep his hands off me, and a few hours of rocking against one another in bed after we dry off.
But I have a nice, fluffy blanket and can enjoy a solo cuddle just fine. I can’t even fit a second person in my tub, so a solitary bath will suffice. (I can’t keep my hands off myself in the bathtub, anyways, so it all works out in the end.) And of course, I can have all kinds of fun by myself in bed afterwards.
For me, Valentine’s Day is not about romantic love but about love, in general. The way it used to be when we were kids and would give everyone in our class a card. We showed love and appreciation for everyone and never felt that we, ourselves, alone, were lacking.
Because we’re not. Even when we’re single, the world is flinging love at us — likely more than we can carry if we really pay attention.
© Yael Wolfe 2020