The worst part of Valentine’s Day isn’t being single, or consumerism; it’s the tired idea that we should all hate it. And seriously, people hate it. Every year, a flood of “Valentine’s Day is bad” takes flood the internet, and surveys even show that the holiday is losing popularity year after year.
I’ve been there. I’ve been the single girl who can’t for the life of her seem to wrangle an unenthusiastic repeat Tinder date into relationship-territory, stuck feeling like something’s wrong with me every time I see a happy couple on the street. I get it. When you’re vying to be with someone, Valentine’s Day feels like the world is just pummeling you with evidence of your loneliness. I’ve also had a boyfriend during Valentine’s Day. And guess what? Getting flowers didn’t solve my loneliness or make the day the bright, shiny, magical holiday I assumed it’d be. Because even when you are dating someone, it feels like the only socially acceptable thing to do is downplay Valentine’s Day and call it a dumbass corporate holiday and go off about how “you don’t need consumerism to show your love for one another.” But deep down, you know we’re all shitting on Valentine’s Day because even though it’s corny, we just want permission to like it.
Well, here you go! Whether you’re single or dating or hopelessly crushing on someone, you have full permission to engage in the corniness of Valentine’s Day. Look, I get it. Hating things has been the mark of coolness and apathy forever. Why else would “no make up” make up looks that require 10 tools be everywhere you turn? Effort and earnestness has never been cool. I’m sure there were dinosaurs roaming the earth trying not to look as lame as that one panicky brontosaur when the meteor hit earth. But, when it’s something as easily enjoyable as a silly holiday, it’s a lot less effort to just roll with it and shamelessly embrace it. Hell, in a world where hating on everything is the default cool and edgy thing to do, shamelessly loving a corny holiday is the best thing you can do for yourself.
People say, “You’re just buying into a holiday invented by the greeting card companies!” Okay, and if they feel like making a cheesy, love-centric holiday in the middle of June, I’d be stoked too? What’s your point? If you’re reading this on your iPhone, you’re also a consumer zombie too. Everyone is. Is it really so bad to spend a little time and effort celebrating love? You don’t have to buy the mass-produced greeting cards if you don’t want to, either. You can just as easily make a cute gift from the heart (the most impressive gift of all, IMHO) or just cook your friends a special meal. Why is the norm to act performatively outraged over innocuous things? Hating on Valentine’s Day is so unnecessarily boring.
Let’s look at some more facts. Valentine’s Day is just a girlier, cuter Halloween. You don’t hear about people hating on Halloween nearly as much as you hear noise about hating Valentine’s Day. It’s just a fun reason to buy special candy. Who’s arguing against that? Life is one long painful annoyance. The least we can do to break up the monotony is take pleasure in silly holidays.
Plus, the argument that Valentine’s Day is less fun if you’re single is bananas. What other holiday encourages self-care as much as Valentine’s Day? You get a free pass to ignore vegetables and be selfish. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, and the like are way too family-based to truly ~relax~ and you know it. Why would people hate on self-care? What’s more grown up than a boyfriend bringing you flowers and chocolates to show his love for you? For starters, buying yourself some nice-ass flowers. Sure, someone thinking of you is nice, but have you ever felt the swell of pride of swiping your debit card through at the florist for a totally unnecessary and luxe bouquet for yourself? There is something so satisfying about marching home with some soon-to-be-dead plant trimmings, plunking them in water, and knowing that every time your eyes catch the flowers, you earned them yourself. Flowers from someone else say, “I guess this is what everyone does?”. Flowers from yourself say, “I put up with Mary in accounting’s rank coffee breath to earn this” or “I kept my cool and cried in the stockroom only once last week to earn these.”
Being single isn’t something to self-deprecatingly joke about or faux-shame yourself or anyone else for. It’s just a cute day where you can wear pink and red to be thematic and enjoy candy that comes in fun, pink colors temporarily.
Maybe everyone should stop thinking of Valentine’s Day as the worst day ever, and start thinking of it as an endearingly corny month-long period where drugstores rip out the brakes on chocolate sales and even adults are somehow down with stuffed animals again. Valentine’s Day is cute AF and hating Valentine’s Day just gives more power to Big Relationship and their evil conglomerates. Chocolate for everyone!