Phoebe Grinter – Columnist
As Valentine’s Day has crept round once again, I discuss my love-hate relationship with this commercial holiday.
Here we are again: Valentine’s Day, the most Marmite day of the year. The mere words ‘Valentine’s Day’ make me feel indifferent. I’ve never been one to celebrate Valentine’s Day, whether I was seeing someone or not. This isn’t necessarily because I have had bad experiences of Valentine’s Day in the past. Instead, I think my contrariness comes from being told how to feel and act on this day.
If you’re in a relationship, Valentine’s Day can cause a lot of stress and pressure, with companies covering bad chocolate in red foil and putting ‘I love you’ t-shirts on stuffed toys. Bars and restaurants get booked up weeks in advance by couples who want to take full advantage of the special Valentine’s Day menus and deals that they’re offering. I know it’s cliché, but I believe you should show your love and appreciation for your significant other every day. Buying a box of overpriced chocolates and a soppy stuffed teddy on V-Day doesn’t make up for being unaffectionate the rest of the year. Something as little as a card with a few words written inside can be more thoughtful and meaningful than an over the top and overpriced gift.
I realise not everyone feels the same cynical and negative way I do about Valentine’s Day, and I appreciate that it is a valid excuse to spoil your significant other. It’s nice to have an excuse to celebrate your relationship, whether that be the giving of presents, going for a nice meal or simply ordering a takeaway and watching a movie. What I do disagree with, however, is how Valentine’s Day can make single people feel inadequate. That annual kick in the groin there to remind you how painfully single you are. There may be pressure on couples to make the day special, but it is ten times worse when you are facing it alone.
However, in this modern feminist era that we are thriving in right now, Galentine’s Day has become just as big a deal as actual Valentine’s Day. Galentine’s Day is where girls celebrate being single with their mates, often involving a lot of drinking and eating. Where in the past being single on Valentine’s Day was seen as tragic, the popularisation of Galentine’s Day lets us know that it’s perfectly okay to be single.
Last Valentine’s Day I was halfway through my year aboard living in one of the most romantic cities in the world, Verona, and I couldn’t be more single. As Valentine’s Day approached, my friend and I decided to treat ourselves to a Galentine’s trip to Paris for a few days. From one romantic, couple-filled, heart-shaped-everything city to another, I spent V-Day with my bestie eating crêpes and channelling our inner Blair and Serena in jolie Paris.
So, this V-Day, don’t trawl through Tinder, text your ex, or mope about on your own. Grab your girls, a bottle of Lidl’s best vino, and some seriously overpriced chocolates, and celebrate your friendships and achievements as strong, independent women. It’s important to celebrate the day of love whichever way works best for you, be it with your significant other, the gals, or your pals. And celebrate the fact that on February 15th, all chocolates will be half price.