Every 14th of February, people find themselves subjected to colorful, sugary, sickeningly romantic store displays and a seemingly endless supply of happy couples dying to express their love, as if they need a designated holiday and a box of candy hearts to celebrate their relationship. Seriously, that is what anniversaries are for.
I appreciate romance as much as the next person, but packing so much of it all into one day gives me, and every other single out there, a distinctly uneasy feeling. It’s been called “Singles Awareness Day” for a reason: every February, the romantic dream of Valentine’s Day clashes with the meaningless, commercialized reality and leaves far more people disappointed and unhappy than happily in love.
Singles everywhere exchange valentines with their friends, but it’s just not the same, is it? In eighth grade, I received two Valentine’s grams from friends, but I couldn’t help feeling disappointed that I didn’t have a secret admirer. I knew it shouldn’t matter, but I couldn’t help myself, and neither can many other singles out there.
Every 14th of February, singles watch the privileged few who have someone to celebrate with, and spend the entire day wishing they had a rewarding relationship like the ones they are suddenly noticing absolutely everywhere.
According to the Retail Marketing and Advertising Association, 14 percent of women purchase flowers for themselves on Valentine’s Day. What does that say about the correlation between Feb. 14 and self-esteem? What a lot of singles don’t realize, though, is Valentine’s Day isn’t all it’s rumored to be, even for those who are expecting valentines from a partner.
Fifty-three percent of women would end their relationship if they didn’t get something for Valentine’s Day, and, oftentimes, whatever they receive isn’t the perfect expression of love they expected, and so their fantasies are shattered along with the rest of us. It seems the only ones who come out on top are the candy companies, with 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate sold every February.
There is no point in giving into the promises of commercials and all of the unnecessary hype. The truth of it is, Valentine’s Day is just another day, and there isn’t any good reason to be envious of those who happen to have a partner when February rolls around.
Love isn’t something that can be packaged into a box of candy or a Hallmark valentine card. It’s one of those valuable, unexplainable things that people stumble upon when they least expect, and Valentine’s Day does its best to undermine, simplify, and commercialize it. The best way for a single—or anybody else—to approach Valentine’s Day is to see it for what it is, not have unrealistic expectations, appreciate the well-meaning gestures of others, and, of course, enjoy the candy.