Why It’s Legit OK To Like Valentine’s Day (Even If You’re Single)
The Debrief: ‘Valentine's Day will always be resolutely uncool, and that's kind of the point.’
Before last year, I’d only ever received one Valentine’s card. I was eight. Signed off with an ambiguous ‘? ? ?’, I really had no idea who’d sent it and the mystery stumped me for years. Another Valentine’s Day would pass, another year where I’d take the card out from my drawer and try to decipher the handwriting. Turns out, it was my mum (who’d made her handwriting impressively wobbly). Well into my teens, I was convinced I had a secret Valentine. I’d been conned by the 14th February before I'd even had the chance to discover it's a capitalist con.
But then again, is a day dedicated to love really such a bad thing? After all, love is not just for Kooples. You can pay homage to St. Val by marking the day with a romantic gesture to yourself, doing something special with your friends, sending your mum an emoji-filled text or treating your cat to some very kitsch treats.
In the UK we spend £1.3 billion a year on stuff for Valentine’s Day - a *crazy* amount - and proof that everyone must secretly like it a tiny bit. The commercial side is impossibly unavoidable and, understandably, can be a real turn-off when you don't need reminding of your relationship status. My totally badass single friend told me: 'It’s hard to like Valentine’s Day if you’re single, but I do love the idea of romantic gestures, even if they’re not to me. I keep finding myself walking down the Valentine’s aisle at Sainsbury’s when I go shopping, which is every day.’
So if you're an undercover romantic who feels the pressure to roll your eyes at a day dedicated to cheesiness, don't forget a huge portion of the population is exactly the same. We spoke to some our girls about why it’s totally okay to be into V-Day:
Embrace it, but be chill
‘I think people just need chill out when it comes to Valentine's Day. No one says it has to be exclusive to couples. Why can't we use it as a harmless opportunity to spread the love - family, friends and lovers included? After all, remember love trumps hate!’ - Lotte Williams – ASOS Insider
Showing affection isn’t a bad thing (including to yourself)
'I find despite being cynical in most areas of life, I can't bring myself to rail against Valentine's Day. I agree that it's over-hyped, over-commercialised, nearly always anti-climactic... but then so is Christmas, and I'd never give that up either. The first time I even got a Valentine's card I was 24, and all the years before that I was either terminally single or, a couple of times, dating a guy who just refused to mark the occasion at all.
‘I spent one sad V-Day playing Monopoly with my 'date' and his little sister. Maybe because (and I know this makes me a hypocrite) I went for so many years without any hint of Valentine's action at all, it makes me doubly determined to celebrate it now? My boyfriend and I don't do much, we usually just take it in turns to cook something nice and make each other tacky cards, but I don't think being prompted by the calendar to show some affection to each other is ever a bad thing. And I think even if I were single I'd still use the day as an excuse to practise some extravagant self-love (beyond just having a bath and a wank, although that's no bad place to start).
‘Another thought – I reckon the person who cares more should always have their feelings take priority. You might not give a shit about Valentine's, but if the person you love does, for god's sake just swallow your pride and buy them a card or something. It takes a special kind of dick to hear the calendar telling them ‘make that person you love feel special!’ and reply ‘NO’.
‘Also, life is short and I love the idea of a day that urges you to stop being coy and 'fess up to your feelings. Valentine's Day will always be resolutely uncool, and that's kind of the point’ - Lauren Bravo – freelance journalist
Mum-sending-cards-in-disguise is definitely a thing, and that’s OK
‘I personally have no problem with it. Although it is quite a nice excuse to call in some hardcore sympathy for being the ‘longest-standing-member-of-destitution’ otherwise known as ‘single’ in 2017. I usually spend it working/waiting to see what creepy crawly from my past might send me a text/checking my letterbox for my annual Valentine's Day card from my ‘cat’ that my mum has written with her left hand. All my friends will testify that is a real thing that happens’ - Nellie Eden – freelance journalist/Debrief correspondent from the frontline of dating
If you’re with someone, it’s a great excuse to crank up the cringe
‘If you're in a couple Valentine's day is an absolute hoot! It's an excuse to send someone ironic red roses and play ironic Enrique Iglesias and cover them in body chocolate. There probably aren't that many days of the year you can emote all over a £2 Clintons card and then (ironically) play at being a 1950s housewife in cheesegrater underwear. If you're in a relationship being cringe can be really fun and smug and adorable, but when you're not, all the thoughtful irony is completely unbearable to be around’ - Lucy Hancock – freelance journalist
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