Frankly I couldn’t care less about Valentine’s Day. Not because I’m one of those obnoxious ‘every-day-is-Valentine’s-in-my-special-relationship’-types; it’s simply that I don’t like the idea of being manipulated by marketers using a made up holiday to sell me crap. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as romantic as anyone!
Ask any of my exes. They’ll tell you. Better yet, let me tell you. Valentine’s Days etched into memory have included….
-recently breaking up with someone;
-having just met someone I thought was promising shortly before Valentine’s–I got so freaked out when they called me on the day that I jinxed the whole thing (probably ranked as a great day for him too);
-having been dating someone for a short-ish while, I thought delusionally that VDay might finally be something special. We had an argument, made up, and he came over with a bouquet of flowers which was memorable to me only for NOT being a dozen long stemmed red roses. I have no idea what they were, except that it registered loud and clear what they were NOT—namely, the only acceptable flowers to give on Valentine’s. Anything else, just forget it. Please. (and…..resume argument)
Now that I think about it, you really have to either be solidly single or solidly with someone for the day to make any sense. At the start of a relationship, VDay can really eff things up. If you ignore it completely, the relationship should probably get scrapped; if you go out it’s too much pressure; if only one of you mounts a VDay response—one person awkwardly hands over a token of affection? One person feels like a moron; one like a heartless monster? Good times.
And they just kept coming, year after year….
-the first year of my current relationship, my partner was leaving home for a band tour on the fateful day. I figured he was either ignoring it purposely or had forgotten and basically just hollered “Happy Valentine’s Day!” as we parted ways that day;
-the subsequent one, I remember I ran into my Dad on the subway as I was en route home. I had an adorable vintage valentine to give my dude, and had made cupcakes decorated for the occasion, iced with “I love you” and decorated with SweetTarts. My Dad laughed and said something like “Yeah, you can tell it’s a new relationship”.
The thing is, I am completely allergic to PDAs. So any public display of flowers, a heart shaped box, an OMG stuffed animal, a Mylar balloon or whatever are strictly out. I would shrivel from embarrassment to be seen nuzzling my dude in public. I’m shrivelling just thinking of it.
Probably one of my favourite VDay memories was many years ago; it fell on a weekend. I was single as were many of my friends. The occasion seemed to demand staying home, but instead we decided to go out to our usual dive bars, wearing homemade “anti-VDay” badges that we made—it was just a simple stamped heart with a cross through it. We all pinned them to our clothes and went out bar hopping; and got way more male attention than usual. I remember a guy asking me if I would “be his valentine”, and being stunned. I remember thinking that no self-respecting woman would EVER say to a man she just met at a bar; on—did he just say that–Valentine’s Day! (I still feel like guys get away with saying things that women would never say for fear of looking needy. Ladies, it’s not us, it’s them.)
Another year I bought those little kids’ boxes of cards at the drugstore and sent them to all my friends and family. I still really like those ones the best.
The way I figure it, VDay isn’t really kind to anyone. I think I’ve experienced every combination and permutation of relationship status on the big day, and none of them are that great. Happily single is better than sadly single, to be clear (I’ve been both, I know). There are too many opportunities for something cringe worthy to happen.
These days, 6 years into a happy partnership, we don’t do Valentine’s Day. My partner asked me the other day if I wanted to do anything, and my suggestion was that I would make dinner and we could rent a horror movie. This is perfect, this it is what we do pretty much every other night of the week. Honestly I would feel like a complete moron sitting in a restaurant with dozens of other couples, doing what we were programmed to do on this most special of made up imaginary days. (I guess I’m not actually ‘as romantic as anyone’!)
I think for me, VDay peaked in kindergarten, when it was mandatory for everyone to exchange them. The days of walking home with 25 valentines in my pocket really can’t be beat. These days, I’m ignoring it, call it a solidarity stance with single ladies everywhere. Dinner at home and a horror movie sound pretty alright. Although I can’t promise there won’t be cupcakes.
Sarah Innis loves reading, watching horror movies, cooking + eating vegan and sitting on her couch pondering the big issues (Taylor Swift and feminism mostly). She sometimes breastfeeds rubber dolls. She's contributed to xojane and hellogiggles and tweets at @sarahinnis. You can also follow her blog-lite at https://witchfox.tumblr.com/
datingandhookup.com is a website that explores modern romance in the Millennial era – which, let’s be honest, looks nothing like we were taught to expect. We feature essays, advice and social commentary with humor, compassion and brains, and we vow never, ever to publish a piece called “The 10 Best Ways to Satisfy Your Man in Bed”. Do click to submit your work to us. We love you.
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