I was recently asked by one of my friends what I had planned for this year’s Valentine’s Day. She, being in a relationship, looked at me with doe-like, sympathetic eyes, as if she was expecting me to burst out in tears and begin a spinster-esque therapy session in the middle of Leeds City Center. However, at that moment, I began a little song and dance to the tune of Beyoncé’s Single Ladies. Of course, being loved up and all, my friend could not understand my enthusiasm. She has never been single on the ‘holiday’ and is, like most of the capitalistic Western World, under the assumption that Valentine’s Day is the one day of the year that couples profess their love and appreciation to one another, while single people, like myself, are meant to hide our shame under our duvets. However, as my Beyoncé tribute (or shame, however one sees it) proves, I could not be happier to join the single masses this Valentine’s Day.
I have been lucky enough to enjoy being single the past few Valentine’s Days. That’s right – lucky (go ahead, freshers… gasp). Being single on Valentine’s Day is liberating (not to mention cost effective). People all over the world feel pressure to make the day perfect for their partners by buying into artificial ideas of love. While men work out the least embarrassing entrance to Ann Summers and women convince themselves their partner is Romeo himself, I and “all the single ladies” have nothing to worry about. Not a single drop of our student loans will be spent proving to someone our love is true. Not an ounce of stress will be produced wondering if he likes football or rugby more (and how to turn that knowledge into a gift he will appreciate). And we wont have to turn down any planned nights out with our friends because we have a pre-paid meal at an over-crowded and over-hyped restaurant in town.
While some of my fellow singletons out there may not share in my level of excitement this Valentine’s Day (although the above gives some pretty sound reasons as to why you should), there are ways to avoid hiding under your duvet this year. It is always a good idea to remind yourself that Valentine’s Day only happens once a year, and for many couples it is the one day of the year that they show one another some appreciation (correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought relationships were an ongoing thing). While your loved-up friends are being let down by that over-priced meal (that will probably be charging them for that water they’re drinking), put on your best outfit, grab your friends and head to that posh wine bar you’ve always wanted to go to in town. Have a laugh, a drink (or two), and celebrate the fact that your day has been relaxed and free from the inundation of Valentine’s crap the shops are selling. That countryside hike you’ve been trying to plan for ages… get on the train and go! Experience something new that takes you away from all the superficiality surrounding you.
If you’re not completely convinced and the Valentine’s Day hype is still getting you down, spend some time on yourself this year. After all, no one in this world will look after you the way, well, you will. Remember that necklace you always wanted but your ex wouldn’t sacrifice his precious pint money on? Buy it! Who says you can’t show yourself some appreciation on Valentine’s Day? Light some candles, put on a face mask, order takeaway, and watch your favourite movie. But most of all, R-E-L-A-X. There is no point getting yourself down over a day created to sell cards, chocolate roses, cheap jewellery, and tacky gifts (be thankful you don’t have to worry about what to do with that 4-foot-tall panda bear your flatmate is now stuck with). Do a little Beyoncé tribute yourself (who knows? the humiliation might be empowering) and celebrate the fact that you don’t have anyone to worry about but yourself. And last, but certainly not least, remember the next day is February 15… just another day, like any other day… like all 364 other days on the calendar. The bombardment of hearts will disappear, the “I love you forever” cards and stuffed animals will be forgotten, and we can all move on with our lives…. until Easter, of course!