How To Survive Valentine’s Day

14Feb10

I, as a single woman on Valentine’s Day, am in apparently in grave peril.  I have been showered with advice on how to survive this most dangerous of holidays.  My method of impending doom is rather strange — it seems that one of the heroes from my favorite romantic films is going to come alive, climb out of my television screen and murder me.  I have been instructed to avoid romance movies at all costs, and instead take solace in four women from New York City who enjoy getting together for lunch and discussing their sex lives.  Large amounts of alcohol, along with these women, will apparently protect me from all threats (I can only assume alcohol works on evil reanimated romance film heroes the way garlic does on vampires).

Look, I know that there are some people out there who don’t enjoy Valentine’s Day unless they have a significant other.  I can understand why, especially if they usually do have someone with whom they can celebrate the holiday.  However, articles speaking of being single as if it’s an epidemic to be avoided at all costs only make the perception of singleness seem worse.  It’s also rather offensive that the general assumption is that all single women must be miserable on a holiday intended for couples.  It does not help single women who are already upset about being alone get through the holiday, and instead makes them feel even more as if something is wrong with them.  It does not help single women who are fine with being single get through the holiday, and instead sends the message that they should be thinking something is wrong with them.

Furthermore, the methods of “convincing” single women that they’ll be able to somehow (with great effort) get through the day tend toward the incredibly stereotypical.  Of course I want to watch Sex and the City and drink martinis!  Don’t all women love to do that?  Also, I should be grateful that I’m single so that I don’t have to pretend to enjoy the crappy gifts my boyfriend would get me.

Now let’s say, hypothetically, for the sake of this discussion, that you are an awesome single chick who begrudgingly acknowledges that V-Day is not going away. How do you live through it? The first thing you do is rejoice in the fact that you don’t have to try to figure out what new Apple gadget to get your boyfriend since you are morally opposed to buying him something called an iPad. Even better, you feel relieved knowing that you don’t have to pretend to be excited when he gets you a box of Whitman’s chocolates from Walgreens and forgets a card.  See … isn’t this great? And do you know what is even greater? The fact that you are a strong, independent, happy woman who feels totally content and at peace with being single. Phew. Glad you finally got to that place.

Now I don’t know anyone who gets their significant other a new Apple gadget for Valentine’s Day (or, really, anyone who calls them “Apple gadgets”), but that’s not really the point I want to make with this.  The way to “survive” Valentine’s Day is not to trash the other gender.  Even if you are lonely on V-Day, it is not acceptable to start making broad generalizations about how thoughtless and incompetent men are (because hey, they aren’t).  It’s bad enough that I’m told I should be depressed and drowning in alcohol and bad television in order to get through this day (one site suggested that the men have a Halo night…that sounds much better, why can’t we have that option?), I don’t need to see the encouragement of negative gender stereotypes getting so much media time (it isn’t like it doesn’t get enough as is).

Spike, aside from perpetuating some of those negative stereotypes about women, also has this to say:

If you are single and have a crush on a girl, but have been too chicken to do anything about it, Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to seize the day and make something happen. Be bold and ask her out on a date. If she’s single, then there is no chance she’ll say no,  as no one wants to be alone of Valentine’s Day.

(Typo theirs, not mine.)  That’s right, guys, now is the time to act — if the girl you like is single, she will be so depressed about being alone on this day that there is no chance she’ll say no.  Furthermore, if you’re single then you will get laid:

If you are single this Valentine’s Day, then there is no excuse not to get laid. This is the one night of year where single, lonely women swarm bars and clubs en masse. They might venture out on the pretense of a girls-night and talk BS about single girl empowerment, but deep down what they’re really after is some man meat. This is because Valentine’s Day is the one day of the year where single women are constantly reminded that they’re all alone…and no one wants to be reminded of that. It is your job to make them feel wanted, so make them feel beautiful and give them hope that a special someone is out there somewhere. Play your cards coolly and you’ll end up in her lonely pants.

If you’re in a relationship and don’t get action on Valentine’s Day, then there must be something seriously wrong with you. All you have to do is make an effort. Buy her a rose, make her dinner, and give her a sensual, sexy massage. Do this and you’ll be in like Flynn.

Thank you, Spike, for explaining to me my true feelings.  It isn’t that I actually don’t care very much about Valentine’s Day (and never have, even when in a relationship), I’m just trying to cover up how much I want some man meat.  If I go out to enjoy myself (and, in doing so, express my enjoyment of being single), I am absolutely asking for some jerk to come up and try to take advantage of my obvious, unavoidable loneliness so that he can get into my pants.  And guys, be sure to question your manhood if you don’t get laid on Valentine’s Day.  After all, we women are so easy — just give us a rose, make us dinner, and give us a massage, and we’ll be all over you.  See, all the instructions laid out right there for you.  No excuse.  There must be something seriously wrong with you if you don’t get action. Be sure to feel inadequate, and do something stereotypically “manly” to regain some respect.

My problem with Valentine’s Day is not the actual holiday, it’s how the holiday seems to bring out the worst in gender relations.  This is not a call to banish romantic celebrations on February 14th, but to attempt to change the behaviors the media encourages on Valentine’s Day.  Living with gender stereotypes and the negativity inherent in them is difficult enough the rest of the year.  So please, guys, be respectful of others on Valentine’s Day.  Get on with your day however you would most like to spend it.  Don’t try to push your perception of Valentine’s Day (or how people should feel about it) on others.  Remember that, just as you likely do not fit neatly into what the media says all members of your gender should be on this day, other people don’t, either.  Human experience is highly individual, and it is not only inaccurate, but also unfair to try to lump all members of a gender together.  It can only benefit all of us if we are careful not to encourage stereotypes, if we recognize and embrace the wonderful diversity of all people, regardless of gender.

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2 Responses to “How To Survive Valentine’s Day”

  1. you write well

  2. 2 Tianlong Nine

    Mmm. I think I treated it like any other Sunday. There is no “surviving” just another Sunday. It’s just another day. Too much melodrama surrounds singleness and relationships. I’m single now and am tired of people trying to make me feel like I’m flawed because I’m happy being this way. Sorry, it’s not a front. You know, if the right person came along, I’m sure I’d feel happy about that, too. The clue is to not have an agenda. Sure, have goals, but be realistic. Enjoy life. And don’t do things at the expense of others. Just my personal view.

    And learn to stand on your own two feet. 🙂


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