Thursday, February 14, 2008

Why is it suddenly so hip to hate Valentine's Day? So many people I know (all women) profess to hate the day and even hold anti-celebrations where they bash it and everyone who "buys in" to the rituals of candy and flowers.

I, on the other hand, love Valentine's Day. It's such a positive time. According to many smart scholars of the Middle Ages, today is the day when birds get down. It commemorates the Catholic feast day of one or more guys with the same name who were possibly priests or maybe bishops and apparently martyred, but no one really knows. And the WTFery that ties chocolates and roses and candlelit dinners into that is completely unexplainable, and probably has something to do with that whole Medieval thing about birds fucking. What's not to like here?

I was trying to understand the psyche of someone who hates heart day when I asked my friend Cristin, a notorious hater, WTF was up with all the attitude. She told me that she's hated Valentine's Day since she was in high school. At her school, students could send roses to their sweethearts for a small monetary fee. Kind of like the candy canes in Mean Girls, the roses would get passed out during one of your class hours by a student would would come in and announce the names of the people who received roses. If your name wasn't on the list, you got a carnation, or a "loser flower", as the students called them. In other words, Valentine's Day was the day that you got singled out for being single, or, like Cristin, if you had a boyfriend or girlfriend at another school.

When she told met his story, my first instinct was to say "Why not send one to yourself?" My school had a similar "send a flower" program, but if I remember correctly we only sent carnations. In any case, I sent on to myself every year, even if I was pretty sure someone else would send me one. One, I had to cover my bases, and two, I sent it to myself with a little note that said, "I love you, self." It made me feel good, and upped my chances of receiving more than one flower, thus making me look like the supreme Baby Mac of Hackett High.

So, today I'm going to present to you ways to celebrate this most dreaded of days without throwing an anti-party or eating a whole tub of ice cream. Today, I'm going to give you ideas for ways to celebrate without being a bitter hag about it.

Alternate Valentine's Celebrations For Single People Or People Who Are Going To Be Alone For Whatever Reason On Valentine's Day

  • Compare Thyself To A Summer's Day Write a love poem or letter to yourself. Tell yourself things you honestly like about yourself. Don't let outside opinion color your prose. If you like the way you dance, but everyone says you can't, whatever. Praise it anyway. It's not like anyone is going to read this but you. Write all of this stuff down either in a silly way or a serious way (my favorite form is the "How do I love thee, let me count the ways" format) and really examine the many things that make you awesome. It might be hard at first, because we're taught from infancy to not like ourselves (thanks, society!), but once you think of one or two things, you'll start to think of more and more!
  • Candlelit Dinner For One Order your favorite item from every take out place you can think of. Like McDonald's fries? Get a large. Crab Rangoons from Great Wall? Snag those up. Lamb Biryani from Saffron? Get it, girl, get it. Make yourself an awesome buffet of favorite take out foods and assemble them wherever you want to eat. Then, light a candle and read your love poem to yourself. Or, don't. Whatever makes you happy. The real point of this exercise is to avoid crowded restaurants and get a buffet of happiness to express your love for your taste buds and tummy.
  • Dress Up Day! Come home, strip off those work clothes, and get super glam. Find the dress you never get to wear because you don't go anywhere fancy. Or that bridesmaid dress you spent tons on and never wore. Or, get into costume. Wanna dress like a hippie? A pirate? Do you want to be a medieval damsel in distress? Find what little bits and parts of your wardrobe you can use to build a costume up. The point is, don't get into your sweats and grubby t-shirt. Go the whole nine yards. Put on make-up, curl your hair. Make yourself beautiful in a way you rarely get to see. Then, take pictures of yourself so you can go back and see how hot you looked when you did that. Or, so you can use it as a MySpace picture. In that case, don't forget the obligatory MySpace sexy-face.
  • Romantic Movies I can hear your eyes rolling. Now, I know that the last thing you want to do on Valentine's Day if you're alone or bitter is watch movies of people falling in love. I also know that this is the first thing people recommend for Valentine's Day. But hear me out: Why are most people bitter and depressed on Valentine's Day? Because they feel excluded! So, give yourself the experience of falling in love through the movies. Every woman has at least one movie she can think of where she watched it and thought, "Wow, I felt like I was in love with that hero" or something similar. For me, it's the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice. And Shakespeare In Love. Also Tristan And Isolde, The Quiet Man, The American President, Dirty Dancing, Stardust, and Gone With The Wind. And Predator. But I keep that one close to the vest, you know? My point is, if you're sitting around TRYING to be bitter and unhappy, you're going to be bitter and unhappy. Shocker. So, let yourself be mushy, even if it isn't hip. But don't watch Becoming Jane, because you'll just want to kill yourself. I know I did.
  • Buy Yourself Flowers And Chocolates I don't mean that you should try to be all sly and send yourself flowers and candy at work and act like they're from a secret admirer. No one is buying that. You can send yourself flowers and candy if you like, but be sure to let everyone know that you bought them for yourself because you love yourself and wanted yourself to have something nice. Or, you could just go to the store and buy them in person. That takes awesome confidence.


Are you sensing a theme here? Don't hate Valentine's Day because it makes you feel bad about yourself. Use the day as an excuse to feel good about yourself. No one can make you feel inferior without your permission, especially not a date on the calendar.

6 comments:

  1. I think I'm going to make a whole video entitled "I love you, self" This is just perfect!

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  2. This is an absolutely brilliant post. You rock, Armintrout, you rock.

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  3. How about a bubble bath with candles and champagne? Or treat yourself to a massage. Heck, I'm married, and either would be great. Hint, hint, honey.

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  4. Or, you could watch Blades of Glory and randomly calling a radio station to play a song about putting things in your butt.

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  5. lori from plainwellFebruary 16, 2008 at 5:33 PM

    this was a very cool post with great advice for every day not just valentines day. we need to be reminded to be nicer to ourselves. and man do i love pride and prejudice.

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