Valentine’s for the lovers, Festivus for the rest of us

My first Valentine’s Day alone since I was 15 years old is two days away. Until this week, I’d never really thought that was a big deal, but with the Kay’s Jewelers commercials on heavy rotation and pink things all around me, I’m finally starting to feel helpless against the V-Day hype.

Valentine’s Day and I have been at odds for a while now. I’ve gone back and forth on how I’ve felt about the day that’s marked personal disappointment, relief, turmoil and even the loss of a v-card (cliché!).

But about a month ago, in a drugged-up stream-of-consciousness writing session, I wrote a single thought about Valentine’s Day that’s been sticking in my mind ever since. The idea behind it was something like “it’s just unrealistic to show your affection for someone every day like you do on a day when everything around you is cute and red and pink and heart-y.”

Fast-forward to two days ago – I was chatting with a girl-pal of mine and she was telling me about some issues she was having with a guy. She was explaining to me that her anticipation of Valentine’s Day was forcing her mind to f*ck itself, and all she expected by the end of the 14th was a dismal feeling of disappointment.

While she’s not exactly the type to like a candlelit dinner and a bouquet of roses (more so a picnic on a rooftop and a handful of sunflowers), her Valentine’s Day wishes are simple – she wants her guy to make her feel special.

I told her it was a good thing that she expected that on Valentine’s Day from someone she cares about. And if her guy can’t deliver, it’s his own fault because he wasn’t ready to make an effort.

She threw up her hands and asked if she was expecting too much on a day that’s so ridiculously over the top with fake love propaganda. So I thought about what we really expect. I thought about what we really long for on that day.

It’s certainly not those tiny candy hearts that say “B Mine” or “Ur Cute.” Nor is it an outwardly cute sentiment like roses that have no real emotion behind it. What we really want is to feel special. We’re all constantly reminded we’re so regular and normal throughout the year, that on one day we just want to be convinced by someone that we’re so much more.

Valentine’s Day is just two days away, and I’ll likely be spending it alone, ideally listening to some mellow hip-hop and playing Madden. In all honesty, I prefer it that way, because for once I can figure my own shit out without a girl telling me I’m adorable or funny or other flattering adjectives over a bowl of alfredo.

But for one moment, or for the full 24 hours of V-Day, we should all look around at the genuine joy of the people in love around us and be happy about the joy and special people we have in our own lives.

As easily as it could be, V-Day doesn’t have to be a sad day. It doesn’t have to be one spent in the bottom of a vodka bottle because that cute guy from French class just doesn’t seem to notice you.

If you have a Valentine, enjoy your time spent with them and remind each other how cute and unique you both are. And if your Valentine is a shot glass, try to remind yourself that you’re extraordinary and you will be, whether you have someone there to tell you or not.