Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Valentine's Day: A Survival Guide

It's that time of year again, kids! It's that holiday that is supposed to be spontaneous, romantic, thoughtful, and sweet... and usually ends up being e) none of the above. After all, if everyone is celebrating being in a relationship on the Exact.Same.Day as you are, what's spontaneous or romantic about that? It's like someone running up to you and screaming, four inches from your face, Be romantic! Be spontaneous! Be loving! Right now! ALONG WITH 12 MILLION OTHER PEOPLE.

Not exactly the most sentimental of ways to spend a day telling someone you love them.

So let's face it, whether you're single, married, engaged, dating, on the rocks, on the mend, or in a nunnery, Valentine's Day becomes weird and forced and expensive and weighed down with a bunch of expectations that you didn't even know you had until the day arrived and the other girls at the office got flowers but you didn't. So I wrote up a Valentine's Day survival guide, because it IS possible to enjoy this holiday, and divided it into four sections. 1) Guys, single; 2) guys, attached; 3) girls, single; 4) girls, attached.

You're welcome.

GUYS:

Single: You are the luckiest man on the face of the planet. You don't have to buy flowers, take your partner out to a restaurant or make her/him some amazing dessert that took four hours of research and a ten-store hunt for something called chocolate bark, you can just sit at home and watch A-Team re-runs and laugh at all those poor fools who are marching to the beat of everyone else's high-maintenance drum and know that you were spared another year of having unrealistic ideas of romance and sentimentality forced upon you by society. In fact, this is the best night of the entire damn year to call up all your other single guy friends, go out for really messy barbecue, then come back and play Halo 3 with them until 2 in the morning. One day you will be in a relationship, and that's fine, but it's not today, and being single should be enjoyed and you should not be made to feel guilty about it. You're a rock star.

Attached: You are the luckiest man on the face of the planet. You get to spend today with the person you have chosen to be with and instead of falling for cheap commercialism or trite traditions, you have an opportunity to be totally creative with expressing your love for the girl/guy you are with. What's a more fantastic way to be romantic than to take a day to celebrate the truly unique relationship you have with a truly unique person and do something different than 98% of the rest of the world does? Just because this holiday was forced upon you doesn't mean you have to dial it in and do what everyone else does. You don't let the world tell you how to be in a relationship or be romantic any other day of the year, do you? So damn the man and plan a hike somewhere romantic, go kayaking, cook souffles together or have a Back to the Future marathon with chinese food. It's YOUR day. Don't let anyone else tell you how you should be in love.

Girls:

Single: You are the luckiest woman on the face of the planet. Oh sure, for single girls, Valentine's Day is supposed to be a day or mourning, maybe even guilt. After all, you're supposed to be in a relationship, because that's how you value your worth, right? I mean, if you're not dating someone, are you even alive?? Yeah, well, screw that B.S. You and I both know that being a single girl in an attached world is freakin' awesome sometimes. Stay out as late as you want - you don't have to call anyone to check in. Watch the other girls fight over who got the best flowers, who went to the best restaurant, and who got what expensive jewelry - and watch other girls try to measure their worth against each other by using the age-old methods of competition and cattiness. Hang out with your other single friends (girls or guys) and play laser tag or pool or just hang out at home and watch Quantum Leap re-runs and eat pizza. You're not in a relationship because you have chosen not to settle and be in a relationship that makes you unhappy, and that's pretty damn awesome in a world of lonely people looking to be together for the pure, simple fact that they are terrified of being alone. You're not one of them - how cool is that?

Girls, attached: You are the luckiest woman on the planet. You're in a happy, healthy relationship, and you get to spend a day feeling completely in love and not apologizing for it. But be careful not to make Valentine's Day all about your partner working his/her ass off to make you happy - this is not your day to just be a pretty, pretty princess who expects the significant other you're dating to psychically guess exactly what feels romantic to you. Get off your in-love butt and get involved. Plan out the day with your loved ones, tell them what makes you feel loved and special and for the love of God ask them what makes them feel loved or special. This is a mutual holiday, I don't see any of those Hallmark cards referring to Valentine's Day as The Day Where the Girl Sits Upon a Pedestal and Waits For Her Partner to Make Her Happy. Take responsibility for your happiness and be engaged in making it a wonderful day for the both of you. You are 50% percent of a partnership that's being celebrated on Valentine's Day, not 100%.


So there you have it - single, dating, guy, or girl - you too can have a sane and perfectly happy Valentine's Day. Leave your expectations at the door and bring your A-game in terms of creativity, thoughtfulness, and gratitude for where you are in life on this holiday. If you're single, you might be married by this time next year; if you're married, you might be single by this time next year. Never envy other people for where they are in relationships; just be where you are, knowing that the choices you've made have lead you to this and it's the best place for you to be, and always be loving towards yourself.


PS Also, and I am 100% serious about this, if you were raised by a single mother who is still single and will probably not get any flowers this holiday, you send that incredible woman flowers (NICE flowers, and to her work, so she can brag about how awesome her kids are to her co-workers) and you thank her for being a superhero.

I'm not kidding. Do it.

35 comments:

victoria.renee said...

this is great! kudos.

Gwen said...

You are 100% right about it all!!! We will be spending Valentine's Day like every other Sunday. I've never really been big on the day. I do go all out for Ellie to give fun gifts to her friends but that's about it. And I think you are the worlds most fabulous daughter for taking care of you mom!!! You Rock!!! XOXO

Marion said...

This is a great post, Phoenix. After years of frustration, my husband and I came to a mutual agreement: I tell him what I want and he gets it for me or we go and I pick it out myself. This year I picked out two beautiful Orchids and he got them for me right then. Also, many moons ago, I told him to never buy me Roses unless it was a live Rose bush. (That way I get Roses for months out of the year!) So I get a different colored Rose bush every year. It's a win-win situation. And he gets a bj. LMAO! xoxoxox

jennifer from pittsburgh said...

Great post!
I see V-Day as more romantic and sweet, forget about the spontaneous and thoughtful part...MK is getting a card and a small gift, maybe a poem if I secretly want to make her suffer ;)

Robin said...

I can see why you have so many followers (I am now one of them). I couldn't stop reading. I wanted to comment on the blog in which you encouraged others to keep writing despite the people who leave disparaging comments, but I was afraid that with so many comments you might miss it. Anyway, I really like your writing style. I would love it if you drop by my site:-)

Dionne said...

LoL - so basically we are all the luckiest people on the planet.

I LOVE Valentine's Day - and yep - you're right - it's just as good single as it is attached. Woo hoo for us lucky people!

Lira said...

My Valentine schedules our tax days on the 14th. THAT'S Love!

Wine and Words said...

Well that was a glass all full post! No silver lining needed. Everyone is friggin lucky! What a world.

krista said...

the e) option is what we usually do:

don't even acknowledge the holiday.

although now i'm changing that tune because of finn. she's the love of our lives anyway so we'll be celebrating her.

B. Nagel said...

wonderful.

Angie Muresan said...

I agree with you on all of it!
By the way, we've been happily married for 13 years and have never acknowledged Valentine's day. We both prefer surprises that come from the heart rather than something forced. Yet, our mothers always get flowers.

Clarity said...

I've missed your manic humour juxtaposed with sensitivity.

Jenn said...

love this - especially reminding those attached girls to put some effort in, too!! :)

Radical Bradacal said...

I still prefer anti-valentine's day. Just sayin'...

Bathwater said...

I read through your survival guide and I've got to say, I'm not really impressed. How can you say everyone is equally lucky. Sure it may be true but I think people need to find that out for themselves and not be lumped into your categorys though I applaud your efforts.

I've been thinking this one through for a couple days now. I am single and I am happy with that and I will try to bright as many of my friends valentines as I can, even those who already have some because it never hurts to know someone loves you.

Heather Taylor said...

Wonderful post! I especially loved the mention to single moms, they definitely do deserve a fantastic bouquet of flowers!

LENORENEVERMORE said...

LOL~Thanks, I need this post girlfriend!
sincerely,
still single*
;)

Kristin Quinn said...

Where I live, men don't know what a commitment is beyond two weeks. The good thing about that is all my friends here are single as well! And my Anti-Valentines Day Celebration is going to ROCK!!!

Irenicineri said...

What about attached women in long distance relationships? What do we do? Because I was planning on a day of rejoicing in my loving relationship and mourning it at the same time.

Elisabeth said...

One of my daughters was nearly born on Valentine's Day but apart from this the day is meaningless to me.

I refuse to be told when I might emphasize my love towards anyone. Similarly I refuse to honour mother's and father's days.

I sense the commercial pressures turn some of us into gibbering idiots if we are not careful. The expression of loving feelings needs to be spontaneous and genuine otherwise as far as I'm concerned they scarcely count.

Barbara said...

As usual, you hit many nails right on the head. In the process, making everyone happy with their situation.
I am single with no significant other (and happy with this situation)but still appreciate Valentine's Day. It's fun, it's pink and some of the cards and candy provide sheer pleasure,

Jo said...

"If you're single, you might be married by this time next year; if you're married, you might be single by this time next year." ....I LOVE this!!

Also, great advice for those with single moms! Would also work for those with married moms, because sometimes dads forget. ;)

drollgirl said...

super post!

and i love your idea of springing for flowers for the single moms that struggle to do it ALL for those around them. kudos to them, and to you!

Lori ann said...

i love you tracy.

all your advice was given in love and that's always a good thing.

and the last part made me cry, your deep thoughtfulness is so endearing.

happy valentines day darlin.

Dave said...

Cupid is a chocolate pushing pimp! Having said that, I enjoyed the post. We have a ten year anniversary fast approaching...that's the day we celebrate each other. I was raised by a single dad, and I'm not sending him flowers. A beer maybe, but no flowers. (he's still single. so any available women in north missouri who like sarcastic cheap old men should definately give him a call)

Giovanna said...

you speak the truth, phoenix. i used to wait around expecting my boyfriend to lavish me with treats and whip me up a fabulous dinner, when in fact, he hates v-day and thinks it's really contrived. i'm kind of there with him, so the last few years, we just make a really good dinner and watch a movie, and we're both happy.

S. said...

thank you for this. single. appreciating it. even more now - thanks to you.

Juliana said...

I love you!!! Ha ha..this was one of my favorite posts-ever!! oxoxo

Miss Anne said...

Love this post!
:)

did you get the package i sent?

:)

thank you for the sweet post on my recent blog entry ♥

Des said...

What a great post. You're such a strong writer.

Maggie May said...

Happy Valentine Day, new friend.

xoxo

Iva said...

super fabulous post!! ...especially for the mamas!!! everyone should feel the love!!

Happy Valentines Day!! ;)

Carissa said...

great guide!! I'll admit, I'm one of those girls who tends to have high expectations for Valentine's Day. after a couple years of being let down though, I now try my best to have no expectations! kinda sad I guess but there it is. this year I didn't do anything special even though I am in a relationship... but to be honest, we would fall into the "on the rocks" category you spoke of, so I didn't really want to do anything. but even still, I look at Valentine's Day as a day to celebrate all kinds of love-- love for friends and family and like you said, yourself. oh, and I LOVE your P.S. the best advice ever!

Kris said...

This needs to be sent to everyone in the world!

akka b. said...

You rock! and you make me cry. Especially that part about single mums at the end. Happy Love Life.

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