Next week is Valentine’s Day and you know what, I am completely okay with that. When I was a young, naive 16-18 year old, I hated this holiday. Cue the Liz Lemon rant about Valentine’s Day being a Hallmark holiday made to make women feel miserable when not with someone and put high expectations on men to be more romantic than Tom Hanks in a 90s rom-com. Blah, blah, blah. Rant, rant, rant. Yeah, that’s how I was. I was horrid to be around.
And here’s a fun fact: we have Esther A. Howland in the 1840s to thank for the commericalization of Valentine’s Day in the United States. She received a Valentine’s Day card from a friend in England, liked it so much, and began printing off her own versions using her father’s printing press.
Yeah, sometimes Valentine’s Day can be the worst. Walking around and seeing everyone being all lovey-dovey with more PDA on the streets than in a high school sexually-active band geek weekend retreat. I don’t like seeing that crap any day, so Valentine’s Day really isn’t any exception to the rule. I don’t like having to prove your love for someone else through gifts, expensive dinners, and maybe trying that one thing your significant other wants to try in the boudoir.
St. Valentine was a Roman who secretly married soldiers because the emperor banned marriage, arguing that it weakened the soldiers’ want to join his army. But according to Christian myth when he was captured, Valentine’s jail-keeper’s blind daughter visited him often asking about God’s teachings. In the end, Valentine taught her God’s word, gave her faith, and then God rewarded her with the gift of sight. And on the day of his execution, Valentine wrote her a note telling her to keep God’s teachings close to her and signed it, “From your Valentine.”
I just gave a very generic and not at all exact history on Valentine’s Day, but it’s still something to consider. It’s a religious holiday. So in theory, Valentine’s Day is not just for significant others to stick their tongues down each other’s throats. It’s a day to tell friends and family that you love them, too. And now that I am a mature, well-rounded 24-year-old, I can say that Valentine’s Day has its perks. Whether you’re single or otherwise.
1. Chocolate — I feel like I don’t really have to go into much more detail about this. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I love candy. Any kind of candy. Except Mike & Ike’s; that candy sucks. If anyone gives you a box of them, immediately open it and begin throwing the hard-shelled black liquorice death bullets at their face. Because if someone gives you Mike & Ike’s, let’s be honest, they obviously don’t care about you enough anyway. But Valentine’s Day is the second holiday that puts an importance on chocolate. And that I can get behind.
BONUS ROUND: February 15 is when all the leftover chocolate is on sale. It’s like a Valentine from yourself!
2. Romantic Comedies — Valentine’s Day is the only day when it is perfectly acceptable for you to snuggle up and spend a date with Netflix, a bottle of white wine, and every romantic comedy you can possibly stream. You know ABC Family or USA are playing rom-com marathons, giving you the opportunity to have your 13 Going On 30 Mark Ruffalo fix without ever feeling guilty. A personal Valentine’s Day favorite of mine is The Proposal. I am sorry, but Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds are perfect together and should sign an obligatory contract to co-star in at least one rom-com together a year. Or be married in real life (piss off, Blake Lively).
3. Valentine’s Day Cards — The best thing about this is that you don’t have to be dating someone to give them one. It’s just an open appreciation of someone being in your life. Every year, my mom mails me one and I love it. It’s either really sappy or has a cat on it, further reinforcing my slippery slide into cat-ladydom. But I don’t care. Last year, I gave these gems of Valentine’s Day cards and people LOVED them. Because, duh, I know how to rock a holiday when I care enough about someone. Anyway, getting and receiving a card is just such an awesome feeling that it doesn’t matter who it really is from. Unless you get one of those fake Valentines’ Day cards from your dentist or eye doctor reminding you that you’re due for a check-up. That’s how those bastards get you.
And although when you were younger and forced to give out Valentines to everyone in your class, when you’re older, you can choose who to give one to. It’s so amazing! It’s like blacklisting someone. Like you’re a celebrity or something, with enough power to nix someone from your life. REVENGE VALENTINES!
4. Wine — If all else fails, you always have this to fall back on.
Whether your ex gets engaged, or posts pictures of their romantic night on the town, or moves in with their new significant other, wine’s your best friend. Wine will never cheat on you. But it can make you think it’s a good idea to call your ex and leave a very sloppy desperate voicemail. So yeah, wine responsibly. Or maybe make sure you “lose your phone” that night.