The Valentine's Day Trap
I had an interaction a few days ago with a woman one or so decades older than myself where she looked around at the surrounding Valentine’s decorations and said, “are you excited for Valentine’s Day?” I beamed looking at the tacky shades of pink and red glitter hearts filling the room and said “yeah, I actually like Valentine’s Day.” She looked down and thumbed through the treats in front of me and replied, “I’m not excited. This will be the second year in a row I’ve been single,” dropping a piece of candy back into the bowl. I paused for a moment, feeling sad that a holiday based around all forms of love could make someone so put-together and powerful feel poorly about themselves. The only thing I could think to respond with was, “well I’ve been single on Valentine’s Day for 24 years in a row if that makes you feel better,” smiling as I looked around. “That’s fine for you. You’re still young,” she said. “The way I see it, if you’re single on Valentine’s Day you’ll always get exactly what you want. You can buy the chocolates you like, the jewelry you’ve been eyeing, or get your own flowers!” A small smile emerged as she conceded, “that’s true,” with a small nod.
While Valentine’s Day is primarily based around romantic love, it is widely celebrated in all types of relationships. Growing up my mom, dad, and grandma all bought me little tokens of love for Valentine’s Day. I got cuddly stuffed bears hugging hearts, tiny Russel Stover chocolates, boxes of conversation hearts, and single red roses. As children at school we learn to show love to our friends through Valentine’s cards (handmade or store-bought) before having class parties with goodies from our teachers and parents. By the time you hit high school though, Valentine’s Day has taken on its usual romantic connotation. That first Valentine’s Day when you become blatantly aware of your singledom does really sting. I know I wasn’t a fan of being 16 with no Valentine. It wasn’t until I went away to university that I began to reclaim my love for the holiday and rid myself of the self-criticism and inward pity.
The weekend of my first Valentine’s Day at school I had one of my new friends stay over to watch all the romantic movies we could stomach while we binged on chips, chocolates, popcorn, and whatever other snacks were lying around. It was an all-weekend lock-in complete with mani-pedis, girl talk, and happiness. Following our girls’ weekend, I knew I could stand tall on each Valentine’s Day and enjoy myself regardless of the company I might or might not have.
I celebrated Valentine’s Day a little early this year during my visit to redesign Millennial Pink with Brittany last weekend. Although queen and inventor of the Galentine’s tradition that Kim, B, and I participate in, B had never played chocolate roulette. My favorite thing to do on Valentine’s Day is to put on a romantic comedy and chow my way through a giant box of “fancy” chocolates. The twist is that I take out the chocolate key so that I don’t know what any of the chocolates contain. As you make your way through the box you’ll be savoring the sweet victory of the chocolate covered caramels and laughing as you bite into whatever indiscernibly flavored quasi-nougat that lies within a deceitful milk chocolate coating. We managed to play a round before our trip to Comma Vino, and enjoyed the roulette even more as we saw the horror of “fruit flavor or not?” come across each other’s face.
So while I am batting 0-24 on the romantic front this year, I am spoiled by familial love, platonic love, and self-love. I hope that our readers will also take the time to share the love with whomever they can to avoid the slippery slope that is the Valentine’s Day trap.