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Surviving Valentine’s Day
Feb. 8, 2010
by Ivan Raconteur

As Valentine’s Day approaches once again, one can’t help but notice the importance some people seem to place on our relationship status.

Married people seem bent on getting all their single friends hooked up. I put this down to the principle of “misery loves company.”

My first reaction is annoyance at the suggestion that singles are at risk of “being stuck at home” on Valentine’s Day, or that we somehow need advice to help us get through the trauma of being single on this, of all days.

After reflection, however, it occurs to me that rather than being annoyed with these would-be do-gooders, I should offer them my sympathy.

What the “pity the singles” crowd overlooks is the fact that many single people are perfectly happy being perfectly happy, as it were. They see no reason to clutter up their lives with another person just to make their married friends more comfortable.

Most single people have an abundance of close and fulfilling personal relationships, and don’t feel the need to be part of a set in order to be happy.

I would concede that being with the right person can add a certain something to one’s life, but the reality is, a lot of people who are in relationships are not with “the right person.”

Getting back to the Valentine’s Day theme, we are assaulted with sentiments about how sad it is that one is single, and we are plagued by helpful advice on how single people can survive Valentine’s Day.

Here is a news tip from the curmudgeon: it’s not the single people who need to worry about surviving Valentine’s Day. It’s the married people or those who are in relationships that need to watch their step.

Speaking as a blissfully unattached person, I can say, on behalf of my fellow single men and women, we can’t lose.

We can do whatever the Sam Hill we want on Valentine’s Day, and we aren’t going to disappoint, annoy, offend, hurt, or otherwise fall short of the expectations of anyone else.

There are no expectations for us.

We will not be required to purchase any sappy cards, flowers, or expensive jewelry. And, when it comes to chocolate, we can wait until the day after Valentine’s Day to buy it, and then scarf the lot ourselves.

We don’t need to get dressed up on Valentine’s Day, but we can still have a good meal, and we can enjoy ours in front of the TV with our feet up while watching our favorite programs, instead of in a crowded restaurant with roses on the tables.

On the other hand, people who are in relationships are under a lot of pressure on Valentine’s Day.

This can be a stressful time for them, because if they get it wrong, their spouse (or boyfriend or girlfriend) may hold it against them for the next year.

They are required to find the right balance of gifts and thoughtfulness, and Valentine’s Day can be a minefield for those who are in relationships. One false move, and the whole holiday can blow up in their face.

When single people wake up on the morning of Feb. 14, they know that they will be sleeping comfortably in their own bed that night.

People in relationships, however, might find themselves, before the day is done, banished to the sofa or even to the doghouse without even knowing why.

Despite my cynicism about Valentine’s Day, I try to keep an open mind about these things. I have read several articles describing how single people can survive Valentine’s Day alone.

Most of this advice is absolute rubbish, but there were a few suggestions that I may adopt.

Many articles suggested that single people should pamper themselves on Valentine’s Day to combat their feelings of failure and loneliness.

While I dispute the notion that we need to do something to make us “feel better,” I have no objection to a bit of self-indulgence, so I think I’ll do that. It might be a sort of compensation for having to endure the barrage of sickly-sweet Valentine’s Day marketing to which we have been subjected for the past several weeks.

I will skip the suggestions that I should send flowers to myself or treat myself to a facial or spa treatment, and I am not going to take a long, luxurious bath, since I can’t see how that would help anything.

I am sure in the Hades not going, as one article suggested, to offer to babysit for some non-single friends on Valentine’s Day as a favor to them and to give me someone to talk to on that important day. I can’t even imagine how desperate I would have to be for that to sound like a good idea.

Some articles suggested that single people should do something they enjoy on the day, and I see nothing wrong with that.

This Valentine’s Day, I am leaning toward spending a quiet evening enjoying a pizza and a beaker or two of ale, possibly accompanied by an old movie and followed by a good book.

However, I can be fickle, and I may just change my mind and take myself out for a slap-up meal and get myself good and drunk on expensive champagne, just to show me that I care.