Okay, ladies, I’m sorry for this, but it has to be said.
No, Valentine’s Day is not a Hallmark holiday. It was established by a Pope in 500 A.D. and honored a martyred Christian. So, the celebration is legitimate but you can take heart in knowing that women have been freaking out about February 14th for more than 1500 years, so you are part of a long, strong tradition.
Oh, sure, Hallmark and florists and jewelers and candymakers and wine bottlers and hotels have seized the day to make it an ode to both sex AND crass commercialism, but it is, indeed, a legitimate celebration.
So the time has come for all of us to stop saying we hate Valentine’s Day. We don’t hate the day. We’re upset that we don’t have someone to celebrate it with this year, and therefore the entire holiday (and industry surrounding it) must be vilified. I admit that it doesn’t help when Cupids and hearts start appearing in Walgreen’s the day after Christmas, and seven weeks filled with reminders and build-up can really be a bit much, but look on the bright side: at least a week before February 14 the Easter decorations will start popping up and then you can turn your focus to Cadbury Creme Eggs.
My point is, don’t let the day upset you. Why even acknowledge it? You survive Flag Day and Groundhog Day intact–why should Valentine’s Day be any different? Do what you do on Presidents Day and Arbor Day: ignore it.
Don’t tell me you can’t. For goodness’ sake, you know that’s crap. Don’t wear red but don’t go out of your way to wear black, either. Make a real statement and wear acid green or Syracuse orange. Better yet, go with a pattern–plaid or stripes will keep them guessing.
It’s not like every store you walk into is going to be playing Valentine’s carols, so suck it up. Don’t walk down the card aisle. Feel sorry for the girl whose guy is buying the last bouquet of wilted daisies at Harris Teeter at 8 p.m. And between you and me, despite what those jewelry store commercials want to make you think, everyone you know is NOT getting a diamond engagement ring or heart-shaped pendant for a gift. If they are, well, pity the cliche and move on.
And the giant arrangement of two-dozen roses on the receptionist’s desk? Be happy for her. No woman should ever begrudge another woman happiness in love (unless that other woman is enjoying happiness with the man she stole from you, but that’s another blog entry).
And please, please, please do not stage one of those single-girls-only dinners in a public place that devolves into a drunken sobfest where your poor waiter is afraid to show his face in the dining room because you are burning old photos and momentos in the bowl that formerly held the Splenda.
Valentine’s Day is for lovers and if you don’t currently have one, there’s no reason to mope for 24 hours about it. Now, if you want to be sad because you’ve lost the love of your life whom you spent Valentine’s Day with last year, that’s totally fine. But if you want to mourn what you haven’t found yet, that’s bullshit.
If you can’t just ignore the holiday, make it about you and all the things you love. Wear your favorite color (which in my case is actually red!) or that soft, camel-colored cashmere sweater that makes your boobs look awesome. Eat carrot cake for lunch and take a Starbucks break at 3. Listen to heavy metal or alt-country or rockabilly, without the headphones, all day long in your office. Take the long, scenic route home instead of the highway and put the top down even if it’s 30 degrees (that’s what the heating system is for). Whip up the pasta sauce from fresh tomatoes and basil and eat a second helping because carbs don’t exist on Valentine’s Day. Wear the fleece pajamas with the hole in them with a lace thong underneath while you watch “Bridget Jones’ Diary” for the 69th time. It’s okay, because that’s what you love.
Ladies, let’s take back this day. Let’s stop being stereotypes of our own making. Bitter is unattractive, especially the older you get. Just suck it up.
Then tomorrow you can go out and stock up on Peeps and start talking about how the Easter Bunny is another creation of the capitalist establishment.