Love poster; illustration by Kris Atomic; vintage Valentine's Day card; "Be my Valentine" by Lula Mag; Rob Ryan's "This is for you" hand cut-out, from The Curiosity Shoppe
Honestly, I don’t get the big frenzied hoopla over Valentine’s Day. Maybe because I’ve never seriously been in love before, but I don’t see why people get so worked up over it – it’s just a day like any other. I have this theory, you see, no one actually likes Valentine’s Day. All the unattached people in the world are hyper-aware of their singleness, and go one of three routes: they embrace their freedom (e.g. go dancing with all your single friends), flaunt it (get drunk and canoodle with someone at a bar), or simply hate on the opposite sex, as well as secretly hate everyone who is romantically involved with the other gender. And everyone in relationships is so fraught with anxiety over V-Day plans and finding the perfect gift to exemplify their love that they don’t get the chance to enjoy it.
The problem with Valentine’s Day, as I see it, is that this “holiday” is too focused on others – and not a warm Christmastime feeling of loving others. It’s a terrible, nasty, guilt-ridden feeling where everything you experience that day is completely dependent upon the actions of other people. It's not that I don't love love - quite the contrary, actually. I love the idea of romance and excitement. It makes me feel heady and dreamy to see a boy, and consider him my own Cary Grant, a knight in a well-tailored suit and a sports car coming to whisk me away. But I detest the rules and regulations set forth by the Hallmark police.
I am calling for a Valentine’s Day reformation! As the self-consumed individual that I am, I think that Valentine’s Day should be centered on our love for our selves. After all, how can you even begin to love someone else if you do not love your self first? (Gee, I sound like one of those corny self-help books)
So tomorrow, make a date with yourself. Be your own valentine! Treat yourself to something decadent, out-of-character, whimsically useless, something you’ve lusted after from afar but never got up the nerve to buy (like shoes … not, like, a person…)
Much in the same vein as Diana Vreeland, I ask why don't you: Put on your fanciest, frilliest undergarments (just for your own enjoyment), even if you’re just around the house wearing sweats all day. If you are going out of the house, try a trend that you always thought was cute but never had the nerve to try (socks with heels? a button down shirt half-tucked-in to trousers? feathers? wild color combinations?). Buy flowers and hand them out to whomever you’d like (or just keep them for yourself!). Have two scoops of Baskin Robbins for lunch (I recommend Gold Medal Ribbon, personally). Do a face mask-and-deep conditioner combo in your bedroom while dancing around to ABBA tunes and singing shamelessly into your hairbrush. Buy yourself a box of chocolates and don’t feel the slightest bit guilt if/when you finish the box.
Title: from "Happy Valentine's Day" (OutKast)