I don’t hate Valentine’s Day because I’m single. I don’t even hate Valentine’s Day because it’s so commercialized.
Mostly, I hate what the holiday does to people’s egos. I’ve been spending the last couple of weeks in preparation for this holiday wondering if men are bothered as equally as women seem to be if they are single on Valentine’s Day – I’m speaking exclusively about heterosexuals. I’m coming to the conclusion that men are not as bothered as women are, and this is because the way the holiday is marketed towards women.
As many of my heterosexual male friends and acquaintances have pointed out, Valentine’s Day is a waiting game for women, with most of the pressure being on men to provide the ideal notions of romance. Men are traditionally encouraged to shower women with expensive gifts, jewelry, roses, and chocolate, then take them out to a fancy dinner, among other things. It is a lot of romantic pressure to place on men because they are supposed to be the initiators, while women eagerly expect some sort of gesture to validate their love. And when that initiator does not exist, women that subscribe to this patriarchal idea of courtship are left feeling bothered, bitter, or even resentful.
The idea of finding “the one” is specifically geared towards women; Valentine’s Day is a holiday that focuses on celebrating “the one,” and when people cannot live up to that standard, the social norm is broken. The patriarchy is upheld, and single folk, particularly women, become the deviants. There is a reason for why people gloat about their affections on Facebook and Instagram this year: they are validated in knowing they are following these patriarchal social codes.
I challenge you all to challenge the way you would normally celebrate February 14th. Spend the day with someone special. Spend it with your mom, your best friend, your coworker, your roommate. Do anything that you can to make the day more enjoyable for you. No one should have to feel left out on any holiday. Do not let this holiday win, because you can go against the grain and enjoy the holiday without feeling empty.
Or, you can do what I do to undermine this heteronormative holiday – buy all the discounted chocolate on sale starting February 15th. Joke’s on you, Cupid.