If you desire a romantic rendezvous with love, there is no day better suited and more pregnant with meaning than February 14th, Valentine’s Day. As with most everything in life, we humans need reminders to stay on track. So it goes with love. As much as people decry this date as commercialized and pitiful, in as much as love needs no crutch if it’s real, men all over the occidental world on the morning of February 14th dash across street medians to grab the red rose bouquet from a street vendor’s remnant stock, as women reveal the hiding place of a carefully wrapped eau de cologne pour home purchased months in advance.
Clichés aside, whenever another Valentine’s Day approaches, we bear witness to the different reactions and statements this day invariably elicits. To the couple “in love” it can mean a romantic picnic on the beach with baguette and cheese; to another it may just consist of a rapidly exchanged set of gifts, for her, for him, and it’s a wrap, and to others still, it is an occasion to boycott love not yet manifest or momentarily severed.
Over the years, refusal to adhere to a prescribed holiday that asks us to honor love on a specified date reigned supreme. In between erratic relationships, I would observe and intermittently participate in various single behaviors reflecting strong feelings and attitudes toward the institution of love. In the past, my girlfriends and I have seized the occasion to meet up among women, eat out, and watch a movie at the theater. One year, my closest friend and I decided being one another’s date and went out dancing. She looked lovely in red, and love in a more inclusive guise received due recognition that night.
Considering the available alternatives, is Valentine’s Day worth a sinkhole of depression? Cannot we, who currently do not reside inside the ‘relationship’ box celebrate our loved ones within our circle of friends and family? Is not the culprit in question the media/ consumerist machine that places undue pressure on our single selves? This country sports many holidays, traditions that are upheld by most; however, we are at liberty to put an individual spin on how we wish to celebrate or commemorate. No one stands at your door on Valentine’s Day asking you to assess your love-filled or lover –less life. We don’t have to feel like a pariah and unworthy of love on the day assigned the color red.
For those of us, who are currently single, we don't have to merely “survive” Valentine’s Day; ample possibilities to live memorable moments in the name of unbound love abound. I am reminded of Charlotte’s words at the end of a Sex and the City episode that centers on Carrie’s disastrous birthday dinner party, to which no one showed up. The four girls are eating cake at a late night diner, and while Carrie bemoans that she is one year older and has no soul mate in her life, Charlotte lifts the mood by suggesting that the girls be one another’s soul mates.
So, why not simply use February 14th as an occasion to spend quality time with a close person in your life?