For the past 20 years, I have looked forward to Valentine’s Day. Not out of any romantic sense, mind you, but out of close proximity to my birthday, a simple love for the color red, and the chance to replenish my chocolate supply between Halloween and Easter. I understood the holiday academically, but as far as I was concerned, those romantic gestures had benefits that didn’t just please the recipient, but the singles in close proximity, like myself. I never decided to call the holiday “Singles Awareness Day,” I never moped over being unattached, and I didn’t wish death on all happy couples everywhere.
This year, however, I’m now actually one-half of a couple and highly enjoying the experience. I’m still a little giddy about my first Valentine’s Day as somebody’s girlfriend, so if this veers off into incoherent statements of happiness, I apologize. It’s just that the prospect of having a date for the most romantic day of the year for the first time makes me excited and thrilled. We’re not even doing anything that extravagant, outrageous, or over the top and I still feel like I have live birds flapping away in my stomach when I remember I’m in a relationship on honest-to-gosh Valentine’s Day. My heart skips like I’ve drunk three large, sugary coffees or a two-liter bottle of Coke, and I’ve got the biggest smile on my face that makes my mug shot right above this article look like a flattering picture from Vogue. Even just writing this article makes me jittery.
I’m really happy that I’m seeing a really nice guy right now, but if you’re single, don’t feel bad. Valentine’s Day is not meant for singles to mourn while couples flaunt their happiness in the most ridiculous ways possible. Yes, it’s about love and romance and all the wonderful things that come with it, but if you’re single and miserable, find a group of friends to hang out with and do something fun. If love has not been kind to you, go to somewhere as unromantic and boisterous as possible, like Jeff’s Wings, or rent Die Hard or some other mindless action movie on Netflix and lose yourself in the testosterone, explosions and cheesy manliness. If you decide to go on a blind date and it turns out the two of you have no chemistry, try and make a new friend instead.
It should go without saying, but burning mementoes from lovers past to cleanse your romantic luck is a very, very bad idea. So is sitting around in your bathrobe crying and eating ice cream straight from the carton. Letting yourself be sad because other people are happy is unkind and upsetting, and reveals some uncomplimentary truths about you.
To those of us who are coupled up, just because the calendar says it’s February 14, it’s no time to rush a relationship. Trying to force yourself to take the next step because of the date is another very, very bad idea. If you’re not ready to say, “I love you,” have sex, or propose, just don’t. Valentine’s Day is no reason to jump headfirst into a new part of your relationship before you’re certain you’re ready. Rushing only leads to awkwardness, resentment and issues that seem small at the time but have an annoying tendency to crop up later on, having grown ten times their original size and having developed sharp, pointy teeth. Like Diana Ross sings, “You can’t hurry love.”
For all of us, what’s not to like about free candy or balloons? There are always people on the Plaza every year handing out fun-size (why are the small ones called “fun-size” instead of the bigger ones? That makes no sense) bags of Skittles or free hugs or bringing puppies that are meant to be cuddled or passing out balloons. Everyone likes candy, don’t they? Balloons are fun, hugging can brighten your day, and come on, who doesn’t love puppies?
Valentine’s Day may separate the singles from the pairs, but as for the singles, that does not mean you don’t have people who love and care about you. You have friends that are always there for you, you have siblings you can lean on, you have parents who will always love you—you’re not alone. You might feel like you are, but you don’t need anyone romantically to be a complete person. You’re always going to have people who love you, and you’ll always have yourself to rely on. You are strong, you are wonderful, and you are brilliant.
Allison Chase is a lightheadedly happy junior majoring in Creative Writing and an Aquarius. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a recent half of a couple, I’ve found that my perspective on Valentine’s Day has shifted
Whether you have someone to show your love for, or whether you’re riding solo, make plans on the big day and have the best time you can
You always have people to love you- Feb. 14 is no different