There’s something about this time of year that brings out the crazy in everyone. It might be the realisation January has already passed. We’ve already abandoned most, if not all, of our New Year’s Resolutions, and our Goals for 2014 have been downsized from “Lose 5 Pounds” to “not finish the chocolate block….tonight”. You are in a for a particularly bad time if you happen to be single around this time. Suddenly, as you are innocently buying condoms and thrush cream at the pharmacy the aisles have been changed and there are suddenly a shitload of stuffed animals holding hearts that say shit like, ‘I can’t BEAR to be without you’ or ‘BEE mine’. It dawns on you, Valentine’s Day is approaching.
Valentine’s Day is the worst. It is not a coincidence it shares the same initials as Venerial Disease, as it is just as horrifying, and will happen every year. What? I digress.
The approach of Valentine’s marks the beginning of open season for people you generally hate and do not want to share intimate details of your life with to begin asking probing questions about your love life. These people are usually in smug couples themselves and on the announcement that you have no plans or potential dates lined up that evening, they look at you with thinly veiled eyes of pity and condescension as you quip about celebrating Single’s Awareness Day. I’m not making up this mania either. If I had a dollar for every friend that recently texted me over the upcoming Dateless and Unlovable Ogre Day I would be ($3 dollars) rich(er).
The messages all had a similar thread.
a) That Valentine’s Day was approaching
b) They hated Valentine’s Day
c) Oh and they recently have been rejected by someone they didn’t even necessarily like that much
If there’s one thing that “holidays” like Valentine’s day provoke, aside from moderate weight gain from chocolates (either received, or bought for yourself, in bulk) is the ruthless self-assessment and comparison of your current relationship status and an affiliated degradation of self-esteem. My friends were lamenting the fact that they all had been recently rejected by what youngsters are decreasingly referring to as a ‘booty call’. They would often bookend their singleton status neuroses with a statement that they “don’t even care”. But of course, they care, we’ve all been there. No-one likes to put themselves out there, in an explicit way and be rejected, no matter what time of the year, it hurts.
The reason why Valentine’s Day sucks is because if you’re single, and surrounded by societal signals that you’re missing out, you immediately gravitate toward the thing(s) in your life that closely resemble a relationship. It’s not about wanting a relationship, or about needing someone. Heck, you might not even like the person very much. What we instinctively search for is the validation of the option.
This is why we get weird feelings for the misogynistic 1am booty call. A refusal becomes more than just a signifier of inconvenience, it becomes a personal attack. It morphs a ‘not tonight’ into a ‘I would never consider you for anything longterm’. Once we realise we didn’t have any “options” we can’t help but wonder whether being single is a product of choice or something else altogether. We begin to panic, because what we are slowly realising is that, if we were to be ready to get into a relationship next week, that choice wouldn’t necessarily be ours to make. There were no queues of suitors in the wing waiting for our signal.
The good news is, we certainly aren’t alone in feeling isolated and single around Valentine’s Day. It is also my firm belief less than half of couples actually enjoy the pressure filled day (*statistic based on nothing at all). Relationships and connections take time, a bit of luck and a lot of effort. Unfortunately they aren’t things you can will into being 2 weeks before Valentine’s Day (I’ve tried, Gypsy was a fraud) and just because your booty call isn’t getting down on one knee and spelling out ‘let’s do anal tonight’ in rose petals, doesn’t mean you’re doomed.