Why you should celebrate your
non-coupledom on February 14.
I hate Valentine's Day. Oh, sure I know what you're thinking: Single women always
hate Valentine's because it makes them feel alone; no one is sending them flowers; blah,
Well, I have news for you. I've cross-tabulated all the coefficients six ways till
Sunday and my absolutely scientific conclusion is that we're better off without guys and
Valentine's Day especially guys on Valentine's Day.
Let me tell you a story.
My longest relationship was one of those engaged-but-never-married situations. We
dated and lived together for a total of six and a half years, and I really did think I
was going to marry this guy. And yet, on our first V-day together, he gave me one waxy
rose from the corner market. The second year, I can't remember what he gave me. And the
third year, girls, he gave me chopped liver. As in the old joke, "What am I, chopped
Now it's true that I actually like chopped liver. And at the time, I was living in New
York near a very good Jewish deli, and the chopped liver was quite high in quality. But it
was still chopped liver.
After that, I
gave up on the hearts and flowers, the gooey love poems, the sweets and surprises. I
came to see Valentine's Day for what it is: a third-rate marketing holiday (after
Christmas and Halloween) a cheap, commercial parody of romance designed to foster
greed and disappointment (in women) and guilt and resentment (in men).
Partly, that's because of some basic differences between the sexes. Most women I know
couldn't forget about the existence of February 14 even if they wanted to, regardless of
whether they happen to be alone or in a couple. Most men, on the other hand, wake up on
February 14 thinking, "Omigod! I haven't gotten a card yet!" In fact, I read
some study that estimated that roughly 86% of men don't think ahead when it comes to
How can this be? you wonder. After all, starting in late January, the world is
knee-deep in glossy red hearts; candy stores lob chocolates at your head as you walk by;
and you can practically buy a sappy card through your ATM machine. So why are most men
oblivious to V-Day until the very last minute?
How could my ex have given me chopped liver? Why did Prince Charles cheat on Di? Why
did Brad dump Gwyneth? When have men ever done anything that makes any sense? And why
expect Valentine's Day to be any different?
The answer: We shouldn't. The good news is that as a single woman, you're not missing
anything anyway. Trust me.
In fact, the best, most delicious V-Days I've had have been spent
with my girlfriends. Last year, I had a small dinner party and we drank wine and
recounted old love affairs. This year, I made plans to go hear a Zen talk with a new pal
on the 14th, but I figured I should ask the guy I'm dating if that was OK with him (in
case he happened to be among the 14% of men who do think about Valentine's Day in
advance). Turns out he didn't have any specific plans, but he did feel it was important
for us to spend that evening together.
So I acted like a good girlfriend and asked my friend if we could reschedule. She said
she hadn't realized our Zen adventure was on Valentine's Day and that she had other
holiday plans too attending her annual UFO (Unattached Females Only) party.
"We're going to eat fattening food and watch chick flicks," she said.
It was hard not to feel jealous. Of course, I'm glad what's-his-name wants to spend
Valentine's together (three years from now he'll be giving me pastrami, but c'est la vie).
But I kind of wish that I could go and just be one of the girls. Maybe next year.