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Valentine’s Day is a capitalist hellhole, and that’s the hill I die on

Opinions on Valentine’s Day are pretty split down the middle: it’s either the most romantic day of the year or a capitalist hellhole.

As a generally cynical person, I want to only see it as a Hallmark holiday, but for years something in the back of my mind has held onto the idea of the perfect romantic day. Of course, I’ve never experienced it, though.

I’ve never had a good or bad Valentine’s Day because I’ve never had a Valentine.

Ignoring one very lame bowling date I had when I was thirteen, I’ve never been in a serious enough relationship during the Valentine’s period.

But honestly, I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

Done well, Valentine’s Day is a holiday that allows couples some time aside to appreciate each other. Otherwise, it’s a pressure fest where material goods suddenly represent your entire relationship. I’m glad I’ve never had given my significant other a cute single rose, only for it to be overpowered by the people at the table next to us getting a whole bouquet. Besides, flowers are the worst representation of your love. It looks beautiful for a short while before it withers and dies. Love you too!

In my personal experience, Valentine’s Day is far too heteronormative. It’s a shit show of gender norms and disregarding queer relationships. It seems that all too often, those in a heterosexual relationship – men in particular – are expected to provide extravagant gifts, and any gender can be pressured into having sex because this one random day is seen as “special.” LGBTQ+ couples can also be squeezed into ridiculously outdated ‘who wears the pants in the relationship’ scenarios, which is toxic no matter what day of the year it is.

The other side of Valentine’s Day is just as dodgy. Whether it be the anti-Valentine’s Day parties or the Parks and Recreation inspired ‘Galentine’s Day’, trying to have the perfect ‘friend’ day is basically as stressful as with a partner. As someone who has attempted to host her fair share of Galentine’s Day events in her years, it always ends badly.

Any friends who are in a relationship can’t come and whoever does only decides to as a last resort. If you go out, you’re surrounded by couples. Staying in just means we do the exact same thing we do anytime anybody comes over – drink $5 wine and eat a whole cheese pizza to ourselves. It ends up just perpetuating the belief that we should drink away our sorrows if we don’t have a date for one day of the year.

Come on, we probably have plenty of other issues in our life to sob about, rather than not getting laid at the exact same time your neighbour is. Think about it, Valentine’s Day in apartment complexes are like two walls away from a giant orgy.

But I didn’t write this article to be totally negative about Valentine’s Day. As the perpetually single representative of my friendship group, I’ve gotten used to telling people that I’m doing absolutely zilch on February 14.While it elicits a few well meaning pitying glances, I get to take advantage of all the best parts of Valentine’s Day without the hassle.

Valentine’s Day Lush bath bomb? Check.

Feeling justified in using an expensive face mask? Totally.

Watch an obscure documentary on a murderer and laugh lamely to myself at the irony of it all? Of course.

It doesn’t have to follow that formula for you, just find the things that you want to do on a “perfect Valentine’s Day” and do it for yourself.

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Or a good thing. It’s just a day. Without sounding completely cliche, be your own Valentine. Not in the sorry-for-yourself way, but in the I’m-abadass-who-don’t-need-no-(wo)man kind of way. But don’t look at social media, it will make you feel shit for no reason. Just ignore the world and forget Valentine’s Day is even a thing. If you’re really feeling the Valentine’s Day blues, don’t forget that Tinder exists.