Single women do not need to "survive" Valentine's Day

Posted at 12:48 PM Feb 05, 2010

By Andrea Grimes

Does every media outlet, blogger and writer out there know something I don't know about Valentine's Day? Is someone going to come at me with a gun? Cut my brake lines? Slip arsenic into my High Life?

If you're single this February 14, you had better look out. Because to read most love advice surrounding this most holy of romantic days, single people are in grave, grave situations. Dire straits. Mortal danger. Single people must be helped to "survive" Valentine's Day.

And oh, woe is the singleton! Think of how painful normal days must be: every morning, I only just barely manage to roust myself out of bed, eat a meager meal of porridge and weak tea and plod through my grossly unsatisfying, highly depressing single life. I don't know how I manage it--sheer will to survive against all odds, I guess--but somehow, someway, I crawl back into bed at night, weeping softly to myself and live to fight another lonely day on the brink of suicide because of my single status.

But Valentine's Day! My god, the fact that us single folk don't jump off the closest available roof on, say, a sunny June 20th is shocking enough. How do we manage to wake up on February 14 and not reach for the closest unregistered handgun? How does the sheer weight of the trauma of the single life not bear down with such force that it renders us totally unable to function?

(I think you might see where I'm going with this, yes?)

Singlehood, on Valentine's Day or any other day, isn't a condition to be "survived" any more than marriage or life-partnership. They're all states of relationship being that are almost always in flux. And so, I might understand a Valentine's Day "survival" guide for, say, the recently dumped--lord knows if you were looking forward to being loved up on any day, and then that opportunity was taken away from you, you might feel a bit down in the dumps. And the ridiculous marketing clusterfuck that is Valentine's Day makes it all that much worse.

But even otherwise thoughtful blogs seem to have gotten on the "survival" bandwagon--especially with articles aimed toward that most pathetic of creatures, the single woman. Per The Frisky's "Valentine's Day Survival Guide For Single Chicks:"

Now let's say, hypothetically, for the sake of this discussion, that you are an awesome single chick who begrudgingly acknowledges that V-Day is not going away. How do you live through it? The first thing you do is rejoice in the fact that you don't have to try to figure out what new Apple gadget to get your boyfriend since you are morally opposed to buying him something called an iPad. Even better, you feel relieved knowing that you don't have to pretend to be excited when he gets you a box of Whitman's chocolates from Walgreens and forgets a card.  See ... isn't this great? And do you know what is even greater? The fact that you are a strong, independent, happy woman who feels totally content and at peace with being single.
Something tells me a "strong, independent happy woman who feels totally content and at peace with being single" isn't reading articles on how to survive Valentine's Day. Because she doesn't care about or need it. People who need to make a big deal out of V-Day "survival" or hating on the holiday aren't strong and empowered, they're whiny and insecure. If the mere concept of Valentine's Day makes you angry, upset or jealous, your issues probably don't just show up 1 day a year, anyway.

(And really, if it makes you incredibly happy to think about the fact that you don't have to buy someone a present, you are maybe kind of a jerk. Presents are fun, friend. Besides, if the guy you would, theoretically, be dating on V-Day expects a pricey gift like an iPad, you probably need to DTMFA.)

How will I survive Valentine's Day? By working, looking at funny cat videos, hanging out with my friends, watching television, maybe going to a movie or doing grad school homework: exactly what I do every other day of the year.


Nielle said:

In my personal experience valentines day wasn't all that great even when I had a boyfriend for the holiday... there is too much expectation placed on the perfect evening for love & romance on a night when all restaurants are full and crowded... it's such a ridiculous holiday!

as a single lady now, I don't pay it any attention or if I do I use it as an excuse to shower love & devotion to friends & family.

Susan said:

My plan for surviving Valentine's day is buying myself a heart shaped Whitman's Sampler and eating it slowly over the course of many days. This is something I do whether I am in a relationship or not, mostly because I like the excuse to buy a Whitman's Sampler. And because if I am in a relationship, sometimes on lucky years I get TWO.

sam said:

Instead of worrying about how to survive Valentine's Day single folk, who have a problem with being single on Valentine's Day should group up with other single folk and spend the day together.

Michelle Mathews said:

Married, don't celebrate Valentine's Day. And yet it is possible I will vomit myself to death if I see the Valentine's Day trailer or another "every kiss begins with Kay" commercial.

Judy said:

I'm not single, but most of the time I'm ignoring Valentine's Day anyways. It's way more important for me to live a healthy relationship all the time than exaggerating everything with gifts and whatever in one single day. It's just a day to make money with flowers and stuff.

No need to survive it ;)

Emily said:

Agreed on all points. I've been both single and with someone on Valentine's Day, and either was just as fun or not-fun as any other time, depending on, you know, life at that moment. I seriously sometimes actually forget it is Valentine's Day, and if it's on a weekend I probably will forget entirely (can't forget entirely when suddenly everyone in your office is wearing red, heh!) When I'm single I couldn't care less, and when I'm not I like to keep it fairly low-key anyway.

And as for needing a "survival" guide? Hah! I have a nice life with many awesome friends, and sometimes boyfriends, and I would be ashamed of myself if I felt depressed just because I was not seeing someone on one particular day of the year. That's just lame and an indication of weak character. (Pls. note recently broken up folks are a different story, as you said; if one has a nice memory of the last Valentine's Day with an ex or something, then yes, it might make one sad the next year.)

I think the only thing I really consistently enjoy(ed) about V-Day was that my parents would get me a little box of chocolates and a card every year when I was a child/teen. I did enjoy that (and they still send me a card every year). But all this hype and pressure on people to get great gifts for partners or whatever? It's just marketing and noise.

LeeboZeebo said:

Valentine's Day is just like any other holiday - you have to own that sucker for it to have any meaning. If you're trying to play to some overwrought stereotype, the end result will pretty much always be disappointment. Case in point, my wife and I are giant nerds, so we just gave each other videogames. Not a heart shaped candy product, or dinner at the local candle-lit restaurant. Who the hell wants to eat in a place where you can barely see your own food? "Mood Lighting" my ass.

Do I need a special holiday to give my wife a fresh copy of "Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story"? No. Does that very gift fit within the socially accepted norms of Saint Valentine's special day? Probably not. It doesn't matter. This is just how we celebrate the thing.

Before I was married, I would use Valentine's Day as an excuse to get together with my friends and have multi-player game sessions. So I'm pretty satisfied that I have officially warped whatever Cupid intended towards my own selfish desires, and have stayed true to it.

erika said:

I have never been into Valentine's Day, at least not since 8th grade when I was the only girl to not get a single Rose-a-gram in class. Whatever.

That said, if one more person tells me that V-Day is coming up and, oh my gosh, my boyfriend just might propose now, I may have to strangle them.

Antique Zombie said:

My last v-day, I primped and styled myself into a sultry lil morsel in a red dress, just to be taken to... Village Inn... when their power was out... and got no card or compliment... and my boyfriend's gross dreads smelled like guitar strings and sweat (really not sexy, I don't care who you are). So this year, I'm SO excited to be single!! To have guides for "survival"?? What the hell?! It's something to be enjoyed! FREEDOM! It's too much work to be excited about the holiday just to be disappointed. The trailers for this new movie make me gag.

Jules said:

Valentine's Day is my epic self-love holiday; I eat chocolate and buy myself nice things and take myself to movies no one else wants to see. I think I would actually miss my V-day traditions if I ever had a boyfriend on the 14th...

Catherine said:

Since it's the first Valentine's day on which I've ever had a boyfriend I'm going all out and making him a cake but apart from that there's not much difference to how I'm going to spend the day than any other day. Well, I want a chinese for tea because the 14th this year is Chinese new year (I think). Anyway, I'll have just come back from band camp and will be exhausted.

Roxanne said:

This year for "Singles Awareness Day" my friends and I are celebrating by watching violent movies, eating junkfood and drinking lots of alcohol. There's no reason couples should get all the fun.

Kathy said:

Im not opposed to valentines day at all, the only thing is that its not a holiday because you dont get a day off from work or school, excluding this year of course because its on a sunday.

Spark. said:

Just another excuse to go to a V-Day event... as in, Vagina Monologues.

Jill aka The Nerdy Bird said:

If you happen to be in a relationship on Valentine's Day then be happy and appreciate the person you're with, if not, what's there to be stressed about?

Btw, I got an email from Apple the other day telling me an iPod was the "perfect gift for Valentine's Day." Not bloody likely.

Bobbyskizza said:

Last valentines my girlfriend and i had a party for all our friends, we played gitaur hero, drank, ate chips and her mum started an impromtue disco in our dinning room. the fact that it was valentines day wasn't mentioned once. it was great.

Tolly said:

Love this post, Andrea.

First, a confession: I indulge this holiday. I make a card, buy flowers and do a little tap dance for the husband (figuratively speaking; would be way cooler if I DID, in fact, actually tap dance). We take ourselves someplace nice, toast ourselves for being awesome, yada yada.

But dear GOD I wish the people who made Valentine's Day, and its 2008 precursor He's Just Not that Into You would. Stop. Making. These movies. And not only because they are so clearly a heavily focused-group brand of chick flick cash cows, but because we see ALL of these actors in the tabloids! All the time! Even the most cursory glance at Us Weekly/Life & Style/People/etc. at your nearest grocery check-out line will confirm that Ashton Kutcher is married to Demi Moore, Jennifer Garner is making babies with Ben Affleck, etc. It's hard to appreciate films anymore for their creative escapism, because instead of seeing characters, we see Jessica Alba. Jessica Biel. And so on.

Aleya Bamdad said:

Married people want to think that they've got it made, and although I'm very happily married, let's face it, every now and then I miss being single and doing whatever it was that I did in my single days. So don't worry about what married people say and go out with your friends, have a couple of drinks and have fun.
I just read a article about a woman who's husband was romantic while they were dating, but as time went on so did the romance. It's really funny so if you want to see it, you can go to

Spark. said:

For the sake of conversation, I thought the book He's Just Not That Into You was based off of was pretty decent as a highly watered down version of feminism. Though I didn't get much out of it, I know girls my age (around eighteen) who would get a lot out of it. The movie, it's true, bsed its way through a storybook ending.

That being said, there's no freakin' way I'll pay money for the latest. It's a joke.

Regardless--I won't bash on a book intended to start teaching girls about their self worth, if they weren't born with it. It's not ideal. But it's a start.

guadalupe correa said:

My name is guadalupe and I am a twenty -four turn twenty-
five year old young lady and I was born on v-day but I still do not a boyfriend but I wish I had one what can I do so I do not feel bad about it

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