Valentine’s Day: A How-to Guide

Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day 2013 is here. Of course, we saw it coming, because Target has had decorations up since the day after Christmas. But for some reason, we always wake up on Valentine’s Day unsure of how to feel. If you’re single, you wonder, should I ignore this day, actively hate this day, or enjoy the day and celebrate being single? If you’re in a bad relationship, you’re probably worried that you might break up today because you’d rather end the relationship than spend $100 on a nice dinner. This holiday was made for people in good relationships, but even then, you’re probably unsure of what to do… do I have to buy this person something? Do we even have to make a big deal about it?

For such a silly holiday, it causes people a lot of strife every year.

So, this year, no matter what your relationship/romantic status, I’ve written a little guide for you.

What to do on Valentine’s Day if you’re:

– A child: If you’re in elementary school, then congratulations! You’re in for a treat. This will be one of the most fun Valentine’s Days of your life. You’ll probably go to school today with a bag full of Valentines for everyone in your class. You’ll wear red or pink, make crafts, eat heart-shaped treats, and have a party. You don’t yet feel the culturally-imposed shame of either being single on a made-up holiday, or comparing your Valentine’s Day date to someone else’s. For this brief period in your life, this holiday won’t make you feel bad about yourself, so eat a heart-shaped cookie and enjoy it. (That’s for all the elementary-school-aged readers of this blog. You know who you are.)

– A teenager: Yikes, I’m sorry. This day is probably going to suck for you. If you’re like I was at age 15, you’ll be sad that no boy likes you and scared you’ll end up alone, which is hilarious in hindsight because YOU’RE 15! It’s OK! Don’t let this day get you down. And if you happen to have a boyfriend or girlfriend, you probably won’t end up with them, so please don’t spend too much money on flowers or presents. And for the love of all that’s good in the world, don’t buy that person jewelry.

– A couple that just started dating: A few years ago, I started dating my now-husband right before Valentine’s Day, so couples-who-just-started-dating… I get it. I really do. You’re so excited about this new person, and you want to tell the world about how great s/he is. You want to go on Facebook and post pictures of the flowers you received or the fancy dinner s/he cooked for you. But, don’t do that. Keep it to yourself. I feel the same way about this as I do when people post a spoiler about a TV show on Facebook or Twitter. It’s your prerogative to post whatever you want… but just, don’t be a jerk.

– A newly-married couple: Oh boy, you’re even worse than the just-started-dating couples. By all means, plan a romantic evening. But I’ll say it again: you don’t need to broadcast it to the world via Facebook. You JUST got married so all your friends are already sick of reading your lovey-dovey statuses about how great your life is. So just stop it. Instead, my novel idea for you is to turn off your phone, look your spouse in the eye, and tell them how great they are rather than posting it online.

– A couple that’s been married a long time: Do something romantic. Yes, I know it’s a dumb holiday. But still. Like it or not, it comes around every year, so you might as well buy your spouse some chocolate.

– A single man: You probably don’t even know it’s Valentine’s Day. Congratulations. Do whatever you normally do on a Thursday night.

– A single woman: I would go with the old cliche of “drink a glass of wine, eat some candy, and watch a chick flick,” but that sounds like my typical Saturday night, and there’s no shame in that (is there?). But seriously, Valentine’s Day – like so many other holidays – is a fun excuse to dress up and eat chocolate. However, it is also a really stupid holiday. A Cult of Clair favorite, Rachel Held Evans, gave some great advice for surviving last month’s presidential inauguration: if you really want to keep your sanity and not hate people, stay off Facebook. And I would say, that advice is fitting on Valentine’s Day, too.

And for anyone who’s single and hates this holiday, just remember, being single means you still have a chance with one of these (also single) people:

So there you have it.

Happy Valentine’s Day, readers! We love you!

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