Remember the days when February 14th was fun for everyone? You’d scamper into school with your Looney Tunes Valentine’s Day cards addressed to everyone in your class and a shoebox covered with construction paper, glitter and stickers. You’d set the box neatly on your desk so everyone could have easy access to it. You’d drop a Bugs Bunny card into Peter’s mailbox and a Daffy Duck card into Beth’s, while Sally would drop her Rugrats cards into your mailbox and Sam would do the same with his Super Hero cards with pieces of chocolate in shiny heart shaped wrappers attached. You’d come back to your desk to find the box full of cards and feel a sense of joy that you were liked by everyone.
Fast-forward to Valentine’s Day 10 years later. You are now asking yourself “How do I get through this day without throwing myself off of the roof of my dorm?” Long gone are the glittery mailboxes and sugary hearts with the phrases “be mine” and “you’re sweet” in cute plastic bags. In its place is a melancholy feeling and a tear-stained face.
You’re single. You’re single on Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re a guy or a girl, you probably have similar thoughts running through your head. “Why do I have to be single on Valentine’s Day?” “I’m attractive and have a great personality – I don’t understand.” “I work out and wear expensive clothes – I should have someone too.” “That whore is so ugly and even she has a boyfriend!” We’ve all been there. You’re sick of hearing all the girls talk in their high-pitched voices about their boyfriends. “OMG he’s taking me to my favorite restaurant! He already sent me roses,” while the other girls exclaim “Awwwww?.that’s soooo cute – you are sooooo lucky to have him!” And then those same girls who know you’re single will ask you what you’re doing that night just to get a kick out of it. Then when you don’t have an answer they’ll say “oh?well, that’s ok honey,” as if it’s a crime that you don’t have a boyfriend and you especially love the fact that they use the word “honey” solely to feel as though they’re above you in some way.
I could write an article about how to get through Valentine’s Day as a singleton, but I think enough material has been written. I could talk about stuffing your face with Godiva chocolate and getting drunk with your friends to make the pain disappear, but this article covers a more substantive, basic, and critical question. Why should Valentine’s Day be solely about people we have romantic feelings for? So what if you’re 19 and haven’t found Mr. or Ms. Right. You should still be able to enjoy the day without having sappy commercials plastered in your face showing two “Laguna beach-esque” people holding hands on the beach while he gives her flowers, she smiles back at him, and then starts sucking on his face. Gross.
There are some people out there – I’ll call them “crotchety singletons” who hate the idea of Valentine’s Day altogether. Whether they’ve made an anti-Valentine’s Day Web site that parades the idea of “death of love” around or simply plan on wearing all black on Valentine’s Day and sacrificing a “hallmark smooch pooch puppy” in a fire pit in their backyard at midnight, it doesn’t matter – these people are crazy. I’m not one of them, I just think a revival of what Valentine’s Day should really be about is in order.
It should simply be about doing something nice for someone or hanging out with a person who is important to you. It could be a boy/girlfriend, but it could also be friends, parents, or even grandparents. Valentine’s Day should be about enjoying each other’s company and wearing a little red. There’s no need to clear out your checking and savings account for someone just to show you care about them. Send them a small card, a quick e-mail, or even just say “hi” to someone you normally wouldn’t have. And if you get the urge, send that extra 10-year-old Looney Tunes card you have lying around to a friend as a joke. It may just put a smile on someone else’s face too.
Kraus is a member of the class of 2009.