This past weekend, I had several people wishing me a happy Valentine’s Day, and then proceeding to ask what my plans were. Up until 10PM that night, the only plan I knew I would follow through with was to go to the gym, so I said I didn’t have any plans. This was met with apparent surprise, as the response ran along the lines of, “What? Why not?”
I could have been sarcastic and said, “Well, I didn’t realize one had to have Valentine’s Day plans…” and follow up with the anti-Valentine’s Day tirade that single people so love to spew. Instead, all I said was, “Because I don’t.”
After my workout session (which I recently realized was extremely effective in helping me work off a lot of rage, but that’s for another post altogether), I decided to stop at the nail salon two floors down and make an appointment for my next pedicure. Fortunately, my usual pedicurist was there, until…
Me: Hi, Nevin. Can I make an appointment for my next pedicure?
Nevin: Oh, can, can. When you want?
Me: Next weekend, if possible.
Nevin: So… Sunday at 11AM can?
Me: Yeah, that’s fine. Thanks. I’ll see you next week then! (turning to walk out of the salon)
Nevin: Oh, Happy Valentine’s!
Me: Oh, same to you!
Nevin: What you doing tonight?
Me: Nothing. I’m going home now.
Nevin: (eyebrows approaching her hairline) Eh? You got no plans for Valentine’s Day? What about your boyfriend?
Me: I don’t have one.
Nevin: (eyebrows now in danger of disappearing altogether) Hah, you no boyfriend? I thought you sure have boyfriend one!
It didn’t help that the manicure table in this salon is right next to the cashier’s counter and the manicurists and customers alike could hear every word we were saying. After assuring her that I am, in fact, single, and indeed, that I might as well be the unmarried equivalent of a widow, and that I had no plans as far as I could see to commemorate the day Sancti Valentini rolls over in his grave, I almost ran out of the salon.
Because it had occurred to me, towards the end of our conversation, that the surprise I saw on her face was not because I didn’t have Valentine’s Day plans, but because I didn’t have a boyfriend. A Valentine, so to speak. And it only occurred to me after that that I have been single for two years: ‘single’ meaning not having had a proper relationship, and crazy rebounds and disappearing baby-daddies (not, obviously, mine) don’t count.
The honest-to-goodness truth is that I’m not an anti-Valentine; I don’t dislike it the way I dislike weddings — although, come to think of it, it has its own level of circusness. It just seems to me that over the years, something happened to take away the history and meaning behind the occasion, and now it’s become this giant pink (or red) octopus-like creature just waiting for its one day a year to rear its head, spread its tentacles far and wide and draw the unsuspecting lovestruck into its lair where the economy, apparently, knows no bounds. And even though I’ve never celebrated Valentine’s Day, I can somehow see where all the excitement (emotional, not commercial) is coming from.
Because all cynicism and bitterness aside, Valentine’s Day is about love, whether celebrating it or acknowledging it. Whether or not we’re in a relationship, in love, or in limbo, we should take it for what it is and actually be glad that Valentine’s Day still exists, because it means that love — new, old or anywhere in between — is still alive and there is the hope that the glow of basking in the joy of love lingers among the few of us who still dare to believe in it.
So I may be two days late, but Happy Valentine’s Day. I do love you.