Ah, Valentine’s is just around the corner. It’s that one day of the year when romantic love reigns supreme and red and white are everywhere. It’s all hearts and couples and expensive dinners out.
Yes, Valentine’s Day…when singles feel pressure to find a date and couples are pressured to have a romantic dinner with plenty of gifts.
Actually, everything I know about couples on Valentine’s is strictly through observation. I have never had a date for Valentine’s, but I have frequently worked it while I was in hospitality.
Let’s just say that when you see a lot of tables being booked for 3 or more people, you start to get a different view of this particular holiday. Especially when you hear the servers saying “The menage a trois has been seated!”
Or, after looking at the bookings, you can’t help but ask a coworker “Since when did Valentine’s turn into an orgy?” because there’s a table booked for 10.
But I digress.
No, my biggest problem – and the one I know the best – is the general depression in singles because of the pressure to have a date. So when you haven’t got one…
Cue sympathetic pats, pity, and worst of all, the syrupy sweet tones of someone telling you ‘Next year’ or ‘Don’t worry, you’ll be next.’
I have to admit, while I would like that permanent relationship, I’ve never exactly been rushing around trying to find a date for one day so I don’t feel like a failure. Because I don’t feel like a failure, but I’m pretty damn tired of the world telling me I am.
And I’m pretty sure that St Valentine himself would be losing his mind at what we’ve done.
Not surprisingly, no one knows exactly what the story is behind St Valentine, mostly because it was a bloody long time ago. Apparently, there are 3 potential candidates for the original story, too.
The one I heard first was that Valentine was imprisoned (I don’t know what for) and set to be executed. Like today, they often have years between sentencing and actually following through on it. During that time, Valentine fell in love with the jailor’s daughter.
I think it might be because this is the only girl in there, but that kinda ruins the romance, don’t you think?
Anyway, they fell in love. Cue long conversations through a jail door, maybe some flirtatious glances through the bars, and of course, romantic dinners.
Finally, Valentine’s execution day arrived. He left his love a note, telling her how he felt, and that she was the best thing to happen. All of this was worth it because he met her. And he signed it ‘from your Valentine.’
Another version is that Valentine was a priest who served with the Roman army. The emperor of the time decided that single men would fight better than married ones, so he banned marriage.
In defiance of the emperor, Valentine continued to perform ceremonies in secret. He was later caught and executed.
You get the idea. He was a figure who championed or embodied romantic love.
What about the Rest?
By ‘the rest’ I mean the other types of love.
I get why we have a day set aside for romance – though seriously, guys, if you’re only romancing each other on one day, I think St Valentine would be appalled – but there’s a real problem today.
We’ve hyper-fixated on romantic love to the point where all others are considered inferior.
When a friend says “Hey, at least we’ve got each other!” it’s said as a salve, to ease the fact that you don’t have a significant other. That friendship is seen as a poor second, which is a crying shame because that friendship has been around for a while now.
People will actually say they’re completely alone simply because they don’t have a boyfriend/girlfriend!
My dude, you still have your family and friends. Don’t you love them?
And what about yourself?
We’re so worried about romantic love that we completely neglect ourselves. You should really be the person you’re trying to woo and get to know first.
In the Spirit of Things
Normally, I do my level best to ignore Valentine’s Day. I don’t go out, I avoid people – especially the ones who think I’m a poor, deprived girl because I haven’t got a date – and I just wait for the mess to be over so I can buy some cheap chocolate.
However, this year, I’ve decided to try to get more into the original spirit of things.
I’ve decided to run away with the one person I should be caring for and loving first:
I’ve had a pretty rough relationship with myself over the years. When people would ask “Don’t you love yourself?” I’d stay silent. I didn’t even like myself, much less love myself.
In those days, I spent a lot of time trying to be a people pleaser. Do what they wanted, when they wanted me to do it. Be the Good Girl and all that shit. After all, that’s how we’re supposed to be, right? I still got flak and criticisms from people, though. I’d get sideways looks and little comments if I didn’t fit in with the crowd.
Funnily enough, I was miserable. And then, when you have people telling you to serve others when you feel bad, I want to scream at the computer.
Okay, maybe I do scream at it.
Because it’s perpetuating the myth that you’ve got to be completely for other people. Lately I have seen more people saying serve others when you feel emotionally like shit, but leave time for yourself. It’s a bit better, but doesn’t quite make it.
Serving others to feel better is still not how everybody in the world works. For some of us, the best way we can help ourselves when we’re emotionally in the outhouse is to simply walk away from people altogether. There are different ways to take care of yourself!
Now…well, I openly acknowledge that I can be an asshole. I also happen like myself a lot more since I got honest about things. I used to bottle up everything.
These days, I’m brutally honest. Not about my opinions on other people, but about myself. I’m from a culture that really doesn’t like you to drink, swear, or any of those fun things. I know people who operate on the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell method. They won’t go to a local liquor store just in case they meet someone they know.
Then there’s me.
I admit that I’ve gotten drunk on more than one occasion. Hang out with me for more than five minutes and you’ll probably hear half a dozen swear words.
A couple years ago, I was at church with my sister and her family. Her daughter threw up on her lap while there was a speech. You could hear a “Ssshhhit!” throughout the church as she snatched up her daughter and ran for the bathroom before the kid could puke again.
Later, my sister’s father-in-law (a man most consider to be a bit of a stick-in-the-mud, super religious type) came up to me, grinning. “Did she drop the F-bomb?”
“Noooo,” I said, shaking my head. “She dropped the S-bomb. But, for full disclosure I drop the F-bomb.”
He starts giggling. “I know. I’ve heard you!”
And that was it. No judgement. No comments. Just straight up, Okay, you swear, and you’re you.
That’s a lot of what I’ve found. It’s like they only judge you if you act guilty.
Of course, if they did get serious about judging me, I’d just walk away, and their egos probably couldn’t handle that, either.
So if they mention drinking, I’ll be open about that, and they generally don’t say anything. I mean, I worked in pubs in the UK for 1.5 years! If you weren’t aware of it, the Brits and the Scots drink. A lot.
So, in short, I’m an asshole who’s honest with people about who I am as a person. I haven’t liked or loved myself in the past, and now I’m working on it.
To that end, I am taking myself to a lovely little cabin in the woods for a while. I might even light a candle and have dinner by candlelight.
Peace out, bitches.
If you’ve made it this far, Congratulations!
No…no, you didn’t win anything! Why would you think that?
Listen, congratulations only means that! It does not automatically win you a prize!
Okay, okay…Tell you what, if you want a prize…um, nope. You’ll have to wait a few months. I’ll publish a book then. I’ll post on here about it and give you a heads up.
Will that work?
Keep an eye out for that post!