You’re better than this. Seriously.
In the film “Valentine’s Day,” starring apparently everyone on director Garry Marshall’s email list, Jessica Biel’s character throws an “I Hate Valentine’s Day party, because she’s single and fed up with the glaring pressure to be coupled up, at least for that evening, and the disgusting displays of happiness and cannoodle-ness of the stupid happy people rubbing their stupid happiness in her face.
I, too, was glaringly single for most of my adulthood, so when this guy from high school I had been hanging out with as friends asked me out for an official first date for that Saturday night, I did some quick math and screwed up my face.
“That’s Valentine’s Day!” I said. “That’s not a good idea. That’s too much pressure for a first date. Can we do it some other day?”
What I didn’t know was that this guy had decided that he was in love with me for months, since we met for a friendly drink and he’d laid eyes on me for the first time in 20 years. He says he knew he was going to marry me in that moment. He also decided to keep all that to himself, aware that this could sound a wee stalkery, and because he correctly identified me as a skittish tiny fawn with a sketchy track record who was just looking for a reason to flee out the back door and run far. Far. Away. He also says he knew that I might balk at having a first day on a such a traditionally loaded date, but took the chance.
And so did I. And now we’re married, so I guess he was right.
Here’s the thing – just because I’m now a wife doesn’t mean I forgot all of those years of being solo on the supposedly most romantic day on the calendar, right up there with the anxiety-inducing New
Year’s Eve and its all-important midnight kiss, and Every Wedding Where The Line For The Bouquet Toss Gets Whittled Down To You And The Bride’s 10-Year-Old Niece. I have tried very hard not to be a so-called “smug married,” as Bridget Jones would say, because I was single way longer than I’ve been married and would never assume that having a ring on my finger qualified me for knowing anything more than my single friends. I hate those people and I’m determined to never, ever be one of them.
I noticed that a bar when I spent about a year as a regular in my single early 30s was having the Jessica Biel special, the anti-Valentine’s Day party. And if they’re going to make a lot of money on it, I wish them well, because times are rough and any occasion that can draw more business to you is awesome. And if you’re single and need an extra special reason to go drink, or a fun night out with single friends who don’t wanna be alone, or don’t want to face the smoochers, I get it.
Then again…I wish that when I was single I had not let some arbitrary day get to me, like it was extra-illegal to be without a partner that day, or the Pathetic Police were gonna show up and cart you out while slapping a scarlet “S” for single, or spinster, or sadsack, on your chest while the villagers mock and laugh. It’s just a day. You were single yesterday. Maybe you’ll be single tomorrow. Maybe you’re good with that, and maybe you rue each day. But rather than allow Hallmark and your coupled friends and your mama make you feel bad, remember that while it may be a bummer not to be included in something that seems to welcome all your friends and their partners, that its better than being thrown into depression, or maybe even talking yourself into some sloppy kissing situation you would have avoided on any other day.
I’m not going to say “Be your own Valentine” or anything like that, because that’s condescending. And I’m not going to say “Just buy something for your cat, or your Grandma,” because while those folks deserve something good, it’s not the same. So just know that you’re awesome, no matter what the date. Focusing hate on a fake holiday doesn’t do anything but make you want to drink and eat chocolate, and possibly hate-dial your Xs. You’re better than that. And tomorrow is another day. Maybe there’s a nice non-stalker around the corner waiting for you. One could always hope.