Well it’s that time of the year again, the day that polarizes the community like no other, Valentine’s Day. Or as I like to call it ‘Couple’s Gloating Day’. Don’t get me wrong I like the idea of celebrating love but why is it only couple love that we celebrate? This whole day is designed to make anyone not in a relationship feel like the last kid picked for the tee-ball team.
Whether in a relationship or not, I have never been very good at Valentine’s Day. My first ever Valentine was written on the back of a flattened out ciggie packet. This was to colour my experience of Valentine’s Day for years to come.
I had my first Valentine’s Day in a serious relationship when I was 18. My then-boyfriend and I were in different states, and, knowing he was about as romantic as Athlete’s foot, I rang him a week before to remind him. I warned him of the dangers of forgetting me and, bless him, he took my threats seriously. Sure enough on Valentine’s Day a dozen red roses arrived. Unfortunately I had forgotten it was Valentine’s Day. I was awoken from a particularly nasty hangover by the sound of my dog going mental at the front gate. I dragged myself out of bed, ran outside, threw the dog in the house and angrily opened the gate.
“Um…I think these are for….you?” the flower delivery man said, looking at me like I had just crawled out of a drain. I caught sight of myself in the reflection of the window. I did look like I had just crawled out of a drain. My hair had gathered into some sort of demented flock-of-seagulls-bouffant-gone-wrong. I had bags under my eyes the size of dinner plates and a streak of miscellaneous food down my shirt. The delivery man kept looking behind me, as if expecting the rightful owner of the flowers to emerge from the house and pry them from my undeserving grasp. I quickly thanked him, grabbed the flowers and ran inside to hide my shame/face. The flowers themselves were completely overshadowed by the delivery man’s judgement.
After many more disappointing/uneventful/downright depressing Valentine’s Days, this year I have found myself in the most stable, loving, and dare I say romantic relationship I’ve had for years. So perhaps this year will be the year that saves Valentine’s Day for me?
Alas no. My beloved has been sent 300km away for work. His boss offered to give him the day off but only one, which would mean spending six hours each way on a bus to come home and spend twelve hours with me. No one loves anyone that much. If Romeo had been given that option I’m sure he would have said ‘parting is such sweet sorrow that I will see you in a week because I’ll be fucked if I’m spending twelve hours on regional public transport’. And besides, he has just happened to breakout in an all over allergic rash and I have just happened to break out in the worst acne of my adult life just in time for today. If he did make the journey back our night together would probably resemble some sort of romantic version of connect the dots rather than a Hollywood movie.
So alas another lonely Valentine’s Day for me. When not in a relationship I have spent Valentine’s Day looking around at all the loved up couples feeling like my life was missing something. When I have been in a relationship I have spent Valentine’s Day wondering why it didn’t look like the hallmark card moment I imagined in my head.
So today am I going to sit around feeling sorry for myself because I’m not at a fancy restaurant? Hell no. Not this year. This year I’m going to thank my lucky stars that I have found a great man who is working his arse off 300km away so we can have a better life. I guess my point is, whether you’re in a relationship or single, spending the day focusing on what other people have and what you don’t have is a futile exercise. Today you should embrace the people and things you love, whether that’s in a romantic relationship or not. If you have found that special someone then cherish them. If not then grab your single pals and go and have a pint. For you this can be I-don’t-have-to share-the doona day. Or I’m-free-to-do-what-I-want-any-old-time day. Or that-great-first-kiss-with-someone-new-could-be-just-around-the-corner day. Just embrace love in all its forms with all its lumps and bumps and imperfections. It’s never going to look like ‘Titanic’ anyway. And thank fuck because that movie sucked.