I was going to write a post about being a confident single lady on Valentine’s Day. But V-Day has never turned me into that ‘why am I still single?’ person so actually don’t have that much to say on the subject. I’ve always just got on with life which isn’t exactly startling and helpful insight. If you still want a post on being single on Valentine’s Day, check out my friend Victoria’s post here.
What Valentine’s Day does throw up for me is maintaining a little perspective. Whether single or coupled up, all of the V-Day traditions come back to a narrow definition of romance – red roses, chocolates, lingerie, diamonds. And there’s the implied man give to woman dynamic. Both are more than a little problematic, and this post get’s a tad ranty. You’ve been warned!
[noun] A feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love.
[verb] Try to gain the love of; court.
I think we’ve all agreed at this point in the 21st century that romance is personal, thoughtful gestures. Personalised goes beyond knowing you prefer yellow roses to red. It’s knowing you’d rather the money went on a cleaner than a diamond so you can spend more time together. It’s putting a card in the mail because it made them think of you. It’s turning up at your work to take you for pizza and beer so you don’t work late again. It’s offering to volunteer with you at your favourite charity. It’s watching you run a marathon even though it involves standing around to see you for thirty seconds out of four plus hours. It’s buying tickets to a screening of your favourite movie and telling you to take your best friend, It’s sneaking onto your Amazon wishlist to buy something you won’t get for yourself. It’s running a bubble bath and giving you an hour to relax and read. It’s train tickets for a weekend away. It’s remembering you wanted to borrow a book and they bring it over when they finish it, unprompted. It’s building the perfect garden gate, with love and precision. Romance is the million and one gestures that show we’re paying attention and we care.
A bajillion guises. Stay in, go out. Cheap or expensive. Spontaneous or planned. Thoughtful moment or grand gesture. You probably didn’t need my long list to prove the point but there’s plenty of inspiration in there. And yes, my Dad did build my Mum a garden gate.
There are many, many ways to be romantic but who is being romantic to who? Why just a man to a woman? It bothers me that rad ladies despair over not having a man or woman to buy them a dozen long-stemmed red roses. And only on one single day. The rest of the time, they’re fine.
This is where my element of V-Day scourge comes from. I get so annoyed that one day a year, amazing incredible people hang their whole self-worth on other people. Which is wrong.
Even if you’re in a relationship, your self-worth is entirely your own responsibility. You are completely answerable for your own happiness. Which is empowering, liberating and a little scary. No one else to blame. Sure being around your significant other may, and should, increase your happiness. You should enjoy being with them. Have fun together. But you choose to be with them because they contribute to your happiness. You stay for the same reasons. And you would leave if that changed (fundamentally, not just a bad day).
Valentine’s Day is no different. Take responsibility for having the day you want and feeling the way you want. Do you want to feel cherished, spoilt, thought of, special, vibrant, beautiful, appreciated, sexy, generous, loved, surprised, excited….
How do you want to feel today, on Valentine’s Day?
Now give it away.
Give that feeling to someone else.
How could you make someone else feel that way? I guarantee you will enjoy your V-Day more if you’re generous. It’s a day of giving and showing people how much they mean to you after all. Shower your attention on your parents, best friend, sister, brother, colleagues, grandparents, the bus driver.
I dare you to write a gorgeous, appreciative Valentine’s Day card. Address it to ‘whoever finds this’ and leave it somewhere. On the bus, under the wiper of a car, in the library. Spread a little V-Day cheer. Check out my Instagram to see mine. See, not a complete grinch.
So there’s my guide to Valentine’s Day:
- Be personal
- Give your desired feeling away
- Write a card to a stranger
And remember Mavens, I love you!