Just Because I’m Alone, Doesn’t Mean I’m Lonely
Every year around Valentine’s Day I go through mood swings. If I’m being honest, I’ve never enjoyed the day. As soon as I see red plush teddy bears, heart-shaped boxes with chocolate inside, and those nasty ass sweethearts candy, I cringe. The images and lovey dovey movies that are released and played on a loop on television during this time of the year are constant reminders that I’m single.
For a while, I thought my disdain for the “holiday” was due to having my heart broken on Valentine’s Day when I was fifteen-years-old, never having a boyfriend, and never having someone from of the opposite sex ask me to be their romantic Valentine. As I’ve gotten older and more secure about who I am, I’ve realized the bitterness I used to have about my love life has nothing to do with why I don’t like Valentine’s Day. It’s due to the way society projects this narrative about people who are single, which is if you don’t share the “day of love” with someone that it automatically means you’re lonely or craving love and affection.
Although research has proven that there is no romantic connection between Christian martyrs, who were called Valentines, February 14th has been labeled as the “day of love” since Chaucer began writing poetry about “Valentines” in the 14th century. Since then, there’s been a stigma associated with Valentine’s Day, which has been understood as a day to celebrate love with a significant other. Because of this, there’s an immense of amount of pressure that our society has placed on individuals to have a “date” – someone to spend the day with who can show you the romance we see in movies, hear in music, and read in books.
The problem with the pressure our society places on Valentine’s Day centers around this idea that if you’re not celebrating love with someone romantically, you have somehow failed. As soon as the new year rings in, stores bombard their front displays with Valentine’s Day gifts and cards to remind you that you have one month to find a date or you’ll be left out. Restaurants have specials just for couples and films released during the time of the year promote for a “couples night out”. All the images further heighten the stigma connected with Valentine’s Day and make any one who is single or has no one to spend the day with feel like they are less than.
What makes matters worse, and what bothers me the most about Valentine’s Day and most days of the year, is how single people are treated. For example, there’s a video circulating around Twitter that shows a waitress sitting a teddy bear at a table with someone who is eating dinner by themselves. Apparently, the restaurant puts a teddy bear on your table if you’re dining alone. While this gesture is kind, it’s almost disrespectful. There shouldn’t be an assumption that because I’m eating dinner alone that I’m lonely or craving for companionship. If our society is going to promote Valentine’s Day as the day you celebrate love, why can’t a single person do that without having a significant other? Has no one ever heard of me time?
Instead of Valentine’s Day being centered around romantics, it’s perspective and purpose should be changed, which is to be with the ones you love. If I want to spend the day with a family member, friend, or even myself, I should be able to without being seen as a lonely single person who can’t get a romantic date. The stigma has to go.
I may not have a significant other to spend the “day of love” with but that doesn’t mean I’m lonely.