Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day for Single People

[Cross-posted at Newsgrape.]

Tonight, I’m staying in.

I will fix myself a drink, watch a cheesy movie (preferably involving an improbable sea beastie transformed by irresponsible scientists into an unstoppable killing machine), and try really hard not to think about the fact that I am doing something really inane on quite possibly the most depressing holiday of the year.

I speak, of course, of Birthday Eve.

Those of you who weren’t born on February 15th (n.b. there’s still plenty of time to send me an Amazon voucher) may know this holiday by its more common name of Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad holiday.

“But Anna,” you’re saying smugly (yes, you in the relationship over there), “you’re just bitter because, out of the 22 Valentine’s Days you have now been alive for, you were only in a relationship for one of them, and that day you had tonsillitis and you had to go to Knightsbridge to teach Latin grammar to a poor little rich kid and after that the only thing you were capable of doing was crawling home to bed to drink Lemsip, watch 30 Rock, and feel sorry for yourself.”

Well, yes. Exactly. He was the classic poor little rich kid: you could tell he had every awesome toy and gadget going, but he’d have given it all up to know that his parents truly loved him. And of course I’m bitter because I’m single. That’s the entire point of V-Day: to make single people feel crappy. It’s not enough that people in relationships, you know, have relationships – they also get an entire day to celebrate the fact that they have all the perks of being in a relationship (PDAs, tax breaks, someone to go to zombie walks with) and we don’t.

There’s no escaping it. Want to hit the bars and drink away the loneliness? Canoodling couples and treacly love ballads abound. Want to look at pictures and videos of cute baby animals? Both the Google doodle and the YouTube logo are swaddled in hearts. Realistically, the only thing you can do is embrace it. Embrace the fact that today is all about making you feel bad, and celebrate it as such. Feel crappy on your own terms, not on those of some cynical manufactured Hallmark holiday.

For me, this means Birthday Eve. Today I am feeling crappy because an awful lot of very rich, very famous, and in some cases even very talented celebrities are quite a bit younger than I am. Also because I have to go to the doctor this week for new acne meds, and having acne at my age just feels like insult upon injury. Also because I am wasting my last day of being 21 on finding out what the Google doodle is and deciding which creature feature to watch.

You get the general idea. If you don’t have anything as obviously and immediately disheartening as Birthday Eve to celebrate today, never fear – I have some suggestions.

Job Celebration Day

For the unemployed: a day to reflect on how great employment is. People with jobs have enough money to pay the rent, and they have a reason to put pants on in the morning, and they never have to watch Jeremy Kyle. The only thing they lack is a holiday to make them feel superior to people without jobs.

Male Privilege Day

For women: a day to enumerate all the ways you have been disadvantaged through being female. Make a list of every instance of street harassment, every time somebody told you (implicitly or explicitly) that you can’t do one thing or you must do another thing because you’re a woman, every time you didn’t speak out against a sexist joke or remark that made you uncomfortable because you wanted to fit in or needed your boss to like you. Now think about how men don’t have to deal with any of that. Being a man sure is great!

White Privilege Day

For people of color: a day to enumerate all the ways you have been disadvantaged through not being white. Much as above. Being white is the best!!

Batman Day

Let’s face it: you’re not fooling anyone. Everyone knows you’re not Batman, and pretending you might be is getting a little embarrassing. Set your ambitions a little lower: why don’t you go get some gin and pass out in front of Sharktopus?

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