Because Nothing Says I Love You Like I Have To

**I’m specifically focusing on het couples in this post because it is in the dynamic of those couples that I’ve really noticed this particular socialization of Valentine’s Day**

heart raysAs a career single person, it’s easy to dismiss anything bad I might have to say about Valentine’s Day. I mean I obviously must be bitter that I’m spending this day of love alooooone, no one to buy me roses or candy or take me to a restaurant that required a reservation six months in advance.

Well, allow me to assure you that I am pleased with my own Valentine’s Day celebration, so this post is not in anyway reactionary to having coupledom shoved down my throat in a pretty pink heart-shaped box.

Rather, it’s the culmination of years of observation of this rose petal bedecked holiday.

After working in the jewelry department at Wal-Mart for three years, I’d come to consider Valentine’s Day as a jewelry extortion holiday. Watching boyfriends and husbands come in and look at the contents of the cases, hopelessly lost, praying for a divine sign that would point out the right gift that would prevent their girlfriend or wife (or girlfriend and wife) from being mad at them. Truly, the romance gymnastics these guys would put themselves through for the women in their lives, knowing they were being judged and scored and compared was really gross to witness.

It was enough to make me swear off the holiday in the event of ever becoming coupled (I also really like watching Vincent Price movies, so I can’t imagine that suddenly going out the window just because I acquire a partner; more likely I’d be like, “Here, sit next to me, hold my hand, and we’ll watch Vincent murder his wife together.”).

In the last week or so, though, the flip side of that extortion coin showed itself.

It’s a trope we see everywhere, in movies and on sitcoms and even in the mundane day-to-day. Guys forget Valentine’s Day, have to scramble for something last minute, have to be FORCED to do anything romantic, get shit from their buddies for attempting any sort of sentimentality, have to be nagged by the women they supposedly love to show them a token of that supposed love.

Let’s face it.

The bulk of Valentine’s Day profits are made off the idea that men are only allowed to show their love one day out of the year. Two, if you want to count anniversaries, but Valentine’s Day, thanks to a constant bombardment of social peer pressure, is the big one.

Think about the constant reinforcement men get from society. It’s sissy bullshit to show your wife or girlfriend that you care about them outside the acceptable boundaries of a specific day. If you’re a REAL MAN, then you only show your love when you’re FORCED to, either by nagging or by Hallmark. And even then, you do it in the most uncreative, cliched, FORCED way possible so nobody suspects that you actually want to do this, even if you maybe, kinda, really do.

And women accept that as normal. They don’t even question the absurdity of it because they’ve been told their whole lives that this is how a REAL MAN is supposed to act.

As someone who’s been consciously uncoupled for the past ten plus years, for whom Valentine’s Day is largely a spectator sport, I find it really fucking weird.

Like, in what way is any of this enjoyable? It looks like the most painful dance since the Achy Breaky.

But it’s a popular dance, one people are ridiculed and pitied for not doing, a dance that people long to have a partner for just so they can do it.

Thankfully, at my advanced age and expert-level singleness, I’m pretty fine with being a wallflower here.

I’d rather dance with someone more in sync with an offbeat rhythm all year long.

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