A lot of virtual ink gets spilled at this time of year over The Problem Of Valentine’s Day. If it’s not agonising over the tone and value of the gift to buy (is a diamond bracelet too much for a relationship that’s only 6 weeks old? Probably, but it depends on how desperate you both are to be Not Alone), it’s dealing with the Spouse Who Forgets Valentine’s Day, or the Partner Who Forgot To Make Reservations, or listicles of 30 Ways To Have A Romantic Valentine’s Day On Less Than $10. But supreme among the articles is the one on how to survive V-Day without a Significant Other in your life.
As a more or less professional aloner, my advice is: the same way you “survive” every other day. Better yet, decide to live it rather than merely survive it. In other words, ignore it and spend the day or evening doing something you actually enjoy instead.
Fundamentally, I dislike the whole idea of V Day anyway. Years ago now, I had a boyfriend who thought buying me a bunch of roses and a box of chocolates and having them delivered to my work was a supremely romantic gesture that was sure to win me over (to what I’m not sure). It did not work. I found the gesture embarrassingly cliched and it was excruciating to have my private life intruded into my work life without my consent (not sure if you can intrude something into something but you get the gist).
I am willing to believe, if the Internet bears any relation to reality, that there are hundreds of women who would have found this behaviour utterly swoon-inducing and who quite likely think I’m an ungrateful sour old biddy who deserves to be alone with an attitude like that. Fair enough. May your day be filled with cliches.
I view V Day gestures with deep suspicion because they are so scripted, and because the very public display of them suggests they are more about winning performance points from bystanders than they are about a personally-motivated expression of feeling, as in an expression motivated by this particular person and what they like/ appreciate/ enjoy.
That’s why I hated the flower-and-chocolate delivery from the ex boyfriend: it had absolutely nothing to do with me and everything to do with him showing the world (in this case, my colleagues) what a Perfect Boyfriend he was. If he had paid attention to who I actually was and what I liked, and had done something FOR me instead of TO me, who knows what might have come of it.
Gross miscalculations aside, if V Day is about showing love then why not show yourself some love and do what makes you happy.
That may or may not involve chocolates and flowers.