I hate Valentine’s Day.
No, it’s not because I’m single. (Because I’m not…this year. So there.)
No, it’s not because I spend many evenings on the couch with a bottle of wine and a book. (My boyfriend still thinks I’m sexy.*)
It has nothing to do with my level of attractiveness. (I am adorable, I assure you.)
My hatred of Valentine’s day can be traced to the year I turned 11. We had just moved to a new city, and it was time for the V-Day exchange. While the trading of construction paper hearts and sweet tarts was supposed to be mandatory, somehow, the memo hadn’t reached my prepubescent classmates. I received 5 Valentines that year. One of them was from the teacher. And so I sat alone at my desk, sucking on a chalky candy heart drawing little guillotined stick figures, knowing from weeks of library lunches** that Valentine’s Day was actually one of those saint days dedicated to a guy who had died in some really violent way in defense of his beliefs. Either that or it was invented by the French. Or both. ***
Since then, I’ve viewed Valentine’s day as sort of exclusive parade. Westminster for lovers****. Like the mutts of the world, the single folk are relegated to the sidelines.
Don’t get me wrong, being single isn’t so bad. I was single for a long time. I used to have kitchen ABBA underwear dance discos for one. It. Was. Awesome.
But I hated being single on Valentine’s day more than any other day of the year. Even Christmas.
You see, I’m a big believer in holidays. I like any excuse for a bunch of people to get together and consume copious amounts of food and alcohol. But Valentine’s day isn’t about bunches of people. And it certainly isn’t about food*****. It is about couples. Not families. Not friends. But couples. And gifts, whether they be the expensive, sparkly variety; the aromatic, floral variety; or the nerdy, antithetical variety. It is a holiday meant to segregate and separate; to award the most pedigreed, posh, and polished couple; to encourage excessive verbiage chock-full of alliteration and saccharine.****** On this day, I have to pay twice as much for a bottle of wine, listen to every sappy love song ever written, overhear some lady talk about how many dozens of roses she has on her office desk, and watch made-for-tv films on television because the major networks assume that diamond commercials are right and we are all out eating prix fixe menus instead of worshiping the moving picture box.
And it sucks.
This year, my friends are busy being couply. I suppose, technically, I should be doing that, too. But it’s more likely that I will cook dinner and Ryan and I will then watch Daily Show reruns on the couch.We are romantic like that.
Next year I’m going to throw a dinner party. We will all make construction paper valentines and decorate things with lace doilies. We shall rock polka dots and touch glitter. We shall be crafty–in all senses of the word. It will be Valzilla: The Valentine’s Destroyer. And maybe for the first time, I won’t hate Valentine’s day quite so much.
Or maybe I’ll just watch the dog show.
*Though can you really trust a man who takes off his pants as soon as he steps inside the door? It makes me look back fondly on the early days of our relationship and appreciate that for me he would wear pants while sitting bolt-straight and uncomfortably on his white slip-covered sofa. He also always wore shoes. Turns out, he can’t take off his shoes without taking off his pants. Who knew?
**Not because I was a loner, but because when it rained in that school we ALL spent recess in the library. It had been a very rainy season.
***Hence the guillotine.
**** It should be noted that when I wrote this post, I had NO idea that the West Minster dog show actually fell on Valentine’s day this year. I like to think the fates conspired to support my analogy. Either that or I just had a subconscious link to the poodle parade.
***** Have you ever tried to go out to eat on Valentine’s day? It is actually easier to fly to a deserted island, inspect a shipwrecked boat, locate a golden bridal, summon a dolphin to ride across the ocean, walk across the beach to a field to locate a unicorn, slip the bridal on the unicorn, and ride the unicorn to a castle in an effort to convince the woman who lives there that you aren’t a spy than it is to get a reservation for a reasonably priced meal on Valentine’s day. It easier still to just play through King’s Quest IV: The Peril’s of Rosella. But that is neither here nor there.
****** While this post, on the other hand,was accidentally designed to propagate semicolon appreciation. The semicolon is one of the great under- (and mis-) used punctuation marks. To quote The Oatmeal, “Using a semicolon isn’t hard; I once saw a party gorilla do it.”