Our resident romantic tells us why there's a silver lining on the day that people love to hate
There are so many things wrong with Valentine’s Day. Forget the commercialisation – we all know it’s ridiculous the prices we pay for roses, chocolates and stuffed bears during the weeks leading up to the 14th of February. What really irks me about this celebration is that people think buying flowers and chocolates, and doing something special for their significant others – on a day specifically meant for that – is for some reason, ‘incredibly romantic’.
But what hits closest to home is that Valentine’s Day is a constant reminder that I am very, very single. There was a time I’d spend this abominable day sitting in the shower, in the dark, listening to Alkaline Trio. While my relationship status hasn’t changed at all, my attitude towards Valentine’s Day has quite a bit. In fact, I hardly dread it at all. These are five realisations I’ve had that make what was once my least favourite observance much less gloomy.
It’s about who you love, not who loves you
Much like how Christmas is the season of giving, Valentine’s Day is more about loving than being loved. While single people may lack the lovey-doveyness of having a significant other, we often forget that it’s an opportunity to commemorate our platonic relationships as well. So I go out, shoot some pool and have a few pints with my single homies. It’s made me realise that I’d much rather celebrate a rad bromance than a bad romance. In fact, in Finland, Valentine’s Day is celebrated as Friendship Day (yes, Finland is officially the first country to friend-zone a holiday).
You don’t need to outdo yourself
This really rustles my jimmies. Every time you pull off some amazing movie-like date night for Valentine’s Day, you’ll only feel the need to outdo yourself the following year. It’s emotional extortion almost, especially if you’re in a relationship with someone who has certain expectations about what the perfect Valentine’s Day date should be. But, being one of the few men in the Honeycombers office, I often ask my female colleagues for advice. When the topic of the perfect date comes up, the answer quite often involves pizza, movies and maybe a home-cooked meal. Turns out, most people in stable, healthy relationships want nothing more than to spend quality time with the person they love the most – no matter where they are. So relax; you don’t need to impress anyone.
It’s a chance to rekindle the romance
A common sentiment among detractors of the world’s most commercially lucrative celebration is that love should be celebrated every day, not just on this one arbitrary date. The truth is, we live in a pretty fast-paced society and end up working long hours, and what free time we have, we spend kicking back. Even if we spend that downtime with our significant others, it’s not usually spent over a candlelit dinner at a swish restaurant followed by an evening of romance. I’m not saying you have to or are expected to do all that, but if Valentine’s Day has to be a universal symbol for a storybook romance, why the heck not? You’re not winning any points for being edgy if you decide not to observe Valentine’s Day.
You’re not alone
There are more single adults in Singapore than ever before. So if you’re feeling lonely, chances are, there are throngs of other people who feel the same way. I’m not saying this is your chance to go out and ‘score’, but take advantage of all those couple dinner offers and go on a friend date with another single you know. It might be platonic, or it might even lead to something a bit more intimate. Who knows?
Valentine’s Day is no longer just about couples
This is perhaps my favourite thing about Valentine’s Day today. The old joke about it being Singles Awareness Day has probably played a part in spawning a whole lot of Valentine’s Day events aimed at singles who are ready to mingle. While it’s near impossible not to be reminded of your singlehood on the 14th of February, at least there are way more opportunities to change your relationship status.
See? Whether you’re single or attached, a lot of what bugs us about this much-maligned celebration can be chalked up to lofty expectations and simply forgetting what celebrating love really is about. While I might be celebrating another Valentine’s Day ‘alone’, you can bet your last piece of overpriced chocolate I’m not going to be lonely.