I’ve never been much of a believer in Valentine’s Day – single or coupled. Most guys interpret “I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day” as “I want you to buy me things and am just pretending to be modest,” but I mean it: I love acknowledging romance, but that’s what anniversaries are for. I also think it’s important to let the people in our lives – and not just boyfriends, I mean friends, your mom, that guy who smiles at you at the bodega when you get coffee, whoever – know how much they mean to you. But I don’t think there should be a sanctioned holiday for that – it should be part of the regular practice of our lives. And it also shouldn’t involve convenience-store roses or stale heart-shaped candy, that’s for damn sure.
I’m far from the only person who dislikes Valentine’s Day. People in relationships often feel pressured to spend a lot of money on the “perfect” day, and singles often feel like they’re inadequate on a red-draped, love-festooned holiday. Every year I get several Valentine’s Day-related event invites, and one of them is always an “Anti-Valentine’s Day” party, complete with black decorations and cookies shaped like hearts with knives in them. And I never go to them, because backlash against something is still acknowledging that that “something” exists and is important enough to rail against. If you really don’t care about Valentine’s Day, the way to deal with it is to treat February 14th like any other random Monday. By exerting time and energy hating something, you’re still validating its reasons for existing. But if you just walk past Valentine’s Day on the sidwalk without noticing, instead of spitting right in its hot pink beribboned face, you win. Think of the advice your mom gave you about handling a bully in elementary school: don’t show emotion, because the bully wants to provoke a response. Valentine’s Day is kind of like a third grade bully. Instead of kicking sand in your face, he or she mocks you in every store you enter. But if you are so busy being awesome and having a life to even notice that everyone you pass on the street is wearing red heart-bedecked sweaters, the bully will go find somebody else to pick on.
Also, you know what day I really love? February fifteenth. Because it’s the day all those chocolate hearts are on sale for half off.