V-Day Revisited

12Feb08

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Single or not, I never liked Valentine’s Day. The consumer focus and the pressure to harbor and display emotions that I may not actually feel — well, the whole thing just turns me off. I would always tell my love interests not to buy flowers or presents. We would go out to dinner so as not to feel like social pariahs, but the main goal would always be to defy big brother and go about our business as usual. Of course, there was always a sense that it was a special night, which may have made whatever we decided to do more enjoyable than usual; but for the most part, the whole thing was rather ho-hum.

I have only spent Valentine’s day without a man twice in the last ten years or so. I am not proud. A serial monogamist, I am. Self-disparagement aside, however, I have to say that Valentine’s Day is much more fun on this side of the fence. How could it not be? What was once ho-hum is now a day of zealous rebellion. Look at all the things available to stoke a fire: couples that pretend to be happy but are really miserable (joke’s on them!), Hallmark and the Valentine’s Day Industrial Complex, ex-love interests, social pressure to marry and breed … In addition to reminding me of why I am lucky to be alone, Valentine’s Day empowers me (through rebellion) to remain steadfast in my thinking.

I know I sound bitter and self-righteous. I am not. Let me explain: Valentine’s Day is silliness. Couples that are genuinely in love don’t need a Valentine’s Day to show it. In my mind, those are the only people better positioned than myself; if they’re going to make me feel bad about my own state of affairs — well, let’s just say that those instances aren’t confined to Valentine’s Day. Perhaps it’s when I see real love that I feel the way some do on Valentine’s Day. That’s just it, though. I can’t feel that way on Valentine’s Day because there is so much fake love in the air. Manufactured love. Contrived love. All driven by our love affair with being in love (plus manipulative marketing). To me, it’s a reminder of all the ways that life can steer you wrong in the name of love. If I am to be steered at all, it will be me who does the steering and it will be in the right direction. Right now, that direction is heading inward. So here are some ways that I think singles should use this opportunity to celebrate their solitude. The way I see it, self-love is better than fake love any day.

  1. Purge yourself of bad will toward your exes. It’s hard to love being single when you’re brooding. Some may have to meditate on forgiveness and on accepting some part of the blame. Others may have to take a key to a car, Shania-style, or burn mementos, junior-high-style. My personal route to closure will fall somewhere in the middle. Normally I would spare you the detail, but I think my idea is constructive, so I’ll share. WELL, I recently saved myself from a relationship with a man of questionable character who liked designer clothing. Now that all is said and done, I have more men’s Gucci, Hugo Boss, and Calvin Klein than I know what to do with. So right after my cruise to Mexico (see below), I plan to take the clothes to goodwill. Here is my logic: so long as he is a douchebag (which, I believe, is intrinsic to his nature), he will not be in possession of, or using, the clothing. I will not be using the clothing. Being a somewhat decent guy, albeit a douchebag, I know that in the alternative, this is what he would’ve wanted. The thought of a dirty, cold, person lifting his Gucci tie out of a pile of stained sweaters from the mid-90’s would really warm his heart. Or … do I mean my heart? WHATEVER! Glad I have no incentive to think about that one too hard! Because the most important attribute of this exercise is that it will be therapeutic for me to dispose of his belongings in a way that will bring about good. I want to end this by channeling all of that negativity into something positive. And since this is my day … err, week … of self-celebration, that is my plan.
  2. Take a trip. Escape the mass hysteria and high strawberry prices by taking suggestion 4 (see below) to new zip codes. Obviously, the more relaxing the better. Along with some friends, I will set sail to Mexico at 4 p.m. on V-Day for four days of eating, working out, and laying around. All of a sudden, Valentine’s Day can’t come soon enough!
  3. Celebrate V-Day (Violence Against Women Day)!! V-day is a movement and an organization that seeks to end violence against women and girls. For events near you, click here (make sure to zoom in until you can see your town — at first the listings may appear deceptively sparse).
  4. Celebrate yourself! Take the time to center and do the things that you like to do. Normally, I would suggest some kind of self-indulgence (i.e., shopping, spa, etc.), but I am trying to wrangle my will from that mindset. How about a bath? Some meditation? Cooking or buying yourself a healthy, nutritious meal? Doing an extra-long workout? Engaging in some kind of creative activity that you enjoy? Reading a good book? Whatever your thing is, do it!
  5. A night out with other singles. Tried and true, this may be cliche, but it’s always fun.

And most of all — have a happy Valentine’s Day!

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