Most of the time I can distract myself from the knowledge that I am single. I have a variety of methods: doing a lot of activities and convincing myself that I am too busy not to be alone anyway, writing a biweekly YDN column which pointedly mentions my loneliness at least once and incidentally uses more profanity than my parents are comfortable with, and staring in the mirror for hours and hours willing myself not to cry and repeating over and over, “I am of worth. I am of worth.”
So you can imagine that my least favorite of the manufactured, vaguely pointless and consumerist “holidays” is Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day provokes in me a vague sense of dread and a vaguer sense that I use the word “vague” too much and should get a better handle on my feelings. I really hate Valentine’s Day, but the only thing worse than hating Valentine’s Day is the knowledge that I hate it, which I also hate. (I am a bundle of joy.) I’m sure there is little bitterness and even a certain pleasure in realizing you embody a cliché when it is a nice cliché. “I am so upset that we are at this nice restaurant holding hands and you just gave me a box of chocolates” is something I imagine no one has ever said, thought, or coyly mouthed. But there is no pleasure to be found when you realize you are a living “Cathy” cartoon. Complaining about singlehood and laughing/crying about one’s hatred of Valentine’s Day is completely charmless. It’s really not fun or attractive to whine about men while drinking copiously, even if you know that it’s really not fun or attractive to whine about men while drinking copiously. “Look at me, whining about Valentine’s Day” is something I know FOR A FACT that at least several people have said and thought, and maybe coyly mouthed, but I’m not a very good lip reader. But acknowledging it doesn’t make the activity any more fun or worthwhile.
There’s pressure to come down on a certain side of Valentine’s Day. You either have to do something creative or expensive for your sig-o, or you have to host a violent-movie marathon with your girlfriends over mocktails. (I’m just assuming that nobody drinks until they are 21.) Just like on Christmas, when you have to either have a dead tree in your living room until someone finally loses the familial war of attrition and throws it out, or you have to be, like, SUPER Jewish and eat Chinese food at the movies! You can’t just be sort of a lazy entity on the couch. You have to be either a gift-giving entity or a defiant son-of-Israel entity. (As a half-Jew half-Christian and definitely the only one I have ever come across, I am uniquely positioned to comment on this phenomenon.) I don’t want to take sides on Valentine’s Day, maybe because I am barred from one side unless I actually go so far as to fictionalize a boyfriend, but still. I’d prefer to cross the date off the calendar altogether, like how a lot of the buildings in New York don’t have a 13th floor.
So do whatever you want for Valentine’s Day (I’m serious, I have no jurisdiction over you, legal or otherwise). But instead of moping around listening to my “why are you doing this to yourself” iTunes playlist, I will be spending this so-called “Valentine’s Day” going to class, eating week-old Thai food and avoiding mirrors.
I am of worth!