As a 30-year-old who was perpetually single until the age of 27, I’ve spent a lot of Valentine’s Days alone. Exactly 90% of them, if you want to get specific. I used to spend the day hunkered down, trying to resist feelings of loneliness and inadequacy. If I were feeling optimistic, I would celebrate the fact that I wasn’t stuck in a *bad* relationship, and focus on the litany of people I could be out on a date with if I wanted to be even more miserable.
But then, in 2013, I came up with a solution—a way to always have plans during the mid-point of February. I invented an alternate holiday that I could observe in the comfort of my own home: Single Ladies Get Their Taxes Done Early Day. (Sounds fun, right?) While stores were stocking their shelves with heart-shaped chocolates and pink teddy bears, I was diligently collecting my W2’s and filing them away for the night of the 14th. Then, on the big day, I would sit in front of my computer and plug away at one of my least favorite and most dreaded tasks of the year. (Shocking that no one else jumped on this idea, right?)
I relished in the relief that getting my taxes out of the way early brought me. Even more so, I was glad to never have to worry about February 14th again. How sad is it that a widely celebrated holiday is so traumatic to some people that it’s less appealing than paperwork? But here’s where the story takes another twist.
Single Ladies Get Their Taxes Done Early Day 2013 was such a hit that I was looking forward to a repeat in 2014. However, that year, for the first time in my life, I found myself attached in the month of February. Suddenly, I was on the flip-side of the holiday, where inflated expectations and pressure to flaunt your romance made the day almost equally unbearable. Why do we even have this holiday??? Can’t we admit that my version was better? (No? Well, it was worth a try…)
In all honesty, I don’t know if I’ll ever stop hating Valentine’s Day—the day on which love becomes commercialized and exhibitionistic, and single people are made to feel like outcasts and failures. Even the scaled-down version of the holiday that I celebrate with M (cooking at home, forgoing gifts) led to disasters including our first fight (over dirty dishes) and a horrifying incident in which we contaminated almost every piece of cookware with raw chicken while making chicken tikka masala… and then our kitchen sink flooded and our dishwasher stopped working!
If you know the up-side of Valentine’s Day, please let me know. I’d also love to hear stories of your best (or worst) Valentine’s Day experiences—or other ways you choose to spend February 14.