I just walked past the mirror and high-fived myself for remaining single for another Valentine’s Day, it’s been tough, these guys have been making it soooooo difficult (eye roll). While most of my friends started to find their winter time cuddle buddies, for me, dating from November 1st– Feb. 13th is completely off limits. November – February is love and commitment on steroids. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, its love and family and more love and more family and so many gifts and the pressure. And THEN, the one day to rule them all, Valentine’s Day.
Now, this day is especially troublesome for me because I hate the color pink, I can’t stand hearts, butterflies, or teddy bears, those mystery boxes of chocolates give me anxiety, the candy message hearts remind me of chalk and taste just as great, and I hold a world record for killing flowers. So it really comes as no surprise, actually that’s a lie, a lot of people are surprised when I say I actually hate Valentine’s Day. I get that I’m in love with love, but I’d rather have the flu and be on my period at the same time than deal with that day. (Which has actually happened to me before and I wish that on NO ONE.)
Having been on both side of the fence, here’s my completely accurate description of Valentine’s Day for couples and singles:
A bunch of couples faking liking each other pack every restaurant in town, it’s overcrowded, the service is shitty, you can only order off of a “special” menu (because they’re going right after the guys’ wallets- they know he HAS to spend it), the guy is pissed off and hopes this will just get him laid, the girl really doesn’t like the restaurant or her cliché, meaningless gift, but she’s busy Facebooking and Instagraming her pricey filet and glass of wine #BestValentinesDayEver, #MyManLovesMe, #Spoiled, because she has to prove to everyone just how much she’s loved. Just like girls get a pass to act like little hookers on Halloween, girls also get a pass on Valentine’s Day to brag about how much better their man is than yours- via pictures and hashtags, naturally. And for couples, that’s what Valentine’s Day is. A show.
A bunch of singles faking liking being alone pack every bar in town, it’s overcrowded, the service is shitty, drinks have cheesy names like Love Potion- a reminder that they have to drown their sorrow, they buy 10. The guys are pissed off because they just want to get laid, the girls are pissed off because they too would love to finally get laid by a guy that won’t get whiskey dick from all that Love Potion. But here they are again at the same shitty bar acting like this is exactly what they want, and they’re only taking breaks between sips of their Love Potion and random make outs to hashtag the hell out of some staged photos- #LoveBeingSingle, #WhyHaveOneWhenYouCanHaveThemAll, #BestSinglesAwarenessDayEver, because they all need to prove to everyone just how great it is to be single. And for singles, that’s what Valentine’s Day is. A show.
At the end of the night everyone goes home and stares at their newsfeeds and wishes they were on the other side of the fence. The couples want to go out and get hit on and remember what the rush feels like. The singles want to spend an evening with someone they actually like, someone they can have an actual conversation with and don’t want to kick out of bed.
Everyone wants love.
I was talking about how much I hated Valentine’s Day and my friend asked if I wasn’t divorced if I would still have the same opinion. No, I definitely wouldn’t. I think my experience is unique and if I’m being honest, it’s a reminder that I failed.
Married people actually get their own special Valentine’s Day category because they are basically the worst relationship offenders. For some reason when you get married you get a pass to become lazy. Gifts for birthdays and holidays are combined- we need new sheets for the bed, we need to fix the roof, we need to save money for _____ (there’s always something). At first it’s kind of cool because you’ve reached that point where you really don’t need to try too hard to impress each other, but then you kind of stop trying altogether. As time goes by, you each abuse the pass that lets you become lazy. The laziness turns into neglect, the neglect turns into resentment, and well, it’s all downhill from there.
For me, Valentine’s Day exposed the problems in my relationship and each year I chose to ignore it, I didn’t understand that it was a huge red flag. He’d always ask me what I wanted, I’d say nothing. He’d come home with stupid flowers and a stupid card because he had to. I’d smile and say thanks because I had to, and I’d throw them in a vase and take bets with myself on how fast I’d kill them. I hated the flowers and the card because it was all out of obligation, he did it because he had to and not actually because he wanted to. Which only made me feel awful and made him feel awful because he couldn’t win. He gets me the flowers and I’m pissed, he gets me nothing and I’m pissed. I know this makes me seem like a brat, but it really was a huge misunderstanding that we should have talked about instead of ignoring year after year.
What I really wanted was for him to surprise me, I wanted something thoughtful and creative and that was just beyond him, he wasn’t that guy. I just wanted a reminder, a reminder about why he loved me, and why he wanted to be with only me. I wanted a card with a nice note, a playlist of songs that made him think of me, and yes, I’m finally actually confessing I wanted to be the girl in the office that got flowers. For 11 years I wanted to be THAT girl, just one time. (I’m still rolling around on the bitter bus about that one.) But I didn’t want those things on Valentine’s Day, I wanted them all year and I didn’t know how to have that conversation with him. I was looking for nice gestures, those are free, but for some reason we make them the most difficult. They take thought and time and if we disappoint someone, it’s too personal so we vow not to do that again. It’s easier to monetize love, it doesn’t take a whole lot of thought, and if it comes with a hefty price tag that means love, right? Wrong.
In his defense, I didn’t do too much for him either. I took him for granted and I was so mad about the lack of time we actually invested in each other that I didn’t even want to do anything because I knew it would never be appreciated or reciprocated- which was selfish on my part. I remember a few times I got him gifts and his replies were less than enthusiastic. He wasn’t an excitable person to begin with, but it crushed me and after that I had no desire to really do anything. I would get him cards and write him little notes, but I always skimped on what I said. When we started dating we got into a fight and I had so much to say that I just wrote it out and sent him an email. He made fun of me and it was crushing and I felt so stupid, I never told him it bothered me- that was 14 years ago. He didn’t like the things I did so I stopped trying, I didn’t like the things he did so he stopped trying. We were two people that had two different ways of expressing love and we never talked or attempted to find a common ground.
I actually don’t hate Valentine’s Day, I guess what I hate is hearing people complain. I get it, I get that it’s a made up day and it puts pressure on everyone. Guys, you can ask any girls, it’s not about the amount of money you spend, it’s the amount of time that you spend. We want your time and we want your attention, always. The good news is, that’s all free! Love is simple, and when you love someone you want to do nice things for them but the key is doing them all the time and not allowing yourself to get lazy. That way when Valentine’s Day actually comes around it’ not filled with so much pressure, maybe it could actually be fun.
As per usual, I’ll be tearing up the town with the other members of the lonely hearts club. I finally had that discussion with cupid, I put him on long term leave- target practice. While he’s away I’m going to take matters into my own hands and I’m going to go old school with this. On Saturday I feel like I’m going to walk into the bar with a decorated shoe box. All interested bros can write down their names and phone numbers and write one line telling me why I should call text. God, I’m a genius!
Ain’t love grand?!