Sad-Faced Valentines: Happy singles’ awareness day

Let’s face it: Valentine’s Day is overrated. For all those who have been dumped, crushed, and heartbroken or are just miserable in this season of over-affectionate romance, take heart! You’re not alone. This post is part of Converge Magazine’s cynical celebration of heartbreak.

It never fails. Every year, Valentine’s Day somehow gets worse.

I try my hardest to avoid being cynical, but the cheesy commercials about all the jewelry, cars, and chocolate guys’ should get their girls on Valentine’s Day is rather sickening.

Other than being an excuse to eat candy, I always dread February 14th. Don’t get me wrong. I have indulged in my fair share of romantic dinners, flowers, and heart-shaped boxes of chocolate. But I never seem to have the elated sense of ecstasy those women in the commercials have.

The ratio of Valentine’s Days I’ve spent single compared to the ones that I haven’t equals a number I am usually entirely ashamed to admit.

You see, Valentine’s Day for the majority of my existence has always been more of a Singles’ Awareness Day. A day to remember that yet another year has gone by, and I still don’t have anyone sending roses to my office or leaving love notes in my mailbox.

I criticize the advertising industry for capitalizing on love in order to make a profit.

I roll my eyes at all the twitter-pated couples, gushing at each other over a candlelight dinner. And then I place bets on who will actually stay together.

Despite my adamant protest of this overrated holiday, deep down, there’s a twinge of sadness.

I don’t get to participate in the pathetic exchange of consumerist romance, and maybe I kind of want to. And I’ve always refused to admit it.

I suppose my valiant pursuit to be unmarred by Valentine’s Day stems from always being the girl who got flowers from her dad instead of a boy.

When I was in high school, the cheerleading squad would sell heart-shaped balloons for Valentine’s Day. Every year I would hope that anyone, even someone I didn’t necessarily like, would send me a balloon. But every year, it didn’t happen. I convinced myself I didn’t care about stupid things like getting notes in my locker or getting balloons from secret admirers.

But of course, I did care.

Looking back, I would like to tell 14-year-old me, sitting in class watching the other girls get their balloons, that spending Valentine’s Day with someone brings just as much happiness as television would make you think.

Unfortunately, what I actually want to tell a deflated, Valentine-less 14-year-old me is this.

Though spending a holiday with someone you love or care for is special, the entire message of Valentine’s Day has created an opportunity for singles to feel inferior.

Once again, the advertising industry has figured out a way to create a sense of longing for something you don’t have. They’ve convinced us that being single will continue to perpetuate misery and emptiness.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to avoid your singleness. Wanting to jump from February 13th right into February 15th, forgetting your status as that lame person without a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife.

But maybe February 14th wouldn’t be so bad if we just ignored social obligations and embraced being single for all its wonder and glory.

I love the show Parks and Recreation. One of my favourite episodes is when a single, Leslie Knope invents “Galentine’s Day,” a day to celebrate all of her closest girlfriends. They drink mimosas, eat waffles, and indulge in how awesome each other are.

I know it’s from a TV show, but bear with me here. Leslie Knope found a way to use her singleness to bless others. She refused have her man-less status steal her joy. She wasn’t blind to the fact that she was surrounded by amazing people who love her.

This year, instead of eating buckets of ice cream alone while screaming at Ryan Gosling in The Notebook, share the day with some people who know how awesome you are.

Don’t let the advertising industry win by causing you to loathe your singleness. Be single and proud. And enjoy the heck out of February 14th, in any way you please.

Flickr photo (cc) courtesy of Andrew Rennie.