The Single Girl’s Battle on Valentine’s Day

Having battled through cruel January, filled with exams, deadlines and a pervading sense of misery post-Christmas, I had high hopes for the beginning of the new month.  Flipping the pages of my calendar however, I had a sudden flashback to the previous February, cringing in horror at my memory.  February 14th, (aka the day soppy couples love to gloat about their wonderful relationships) Valentine’s Day, became a pretty tragic date to forget in 2015 as myself and a friend attempted to undermine the holiday with two bottles of wine and a mission to get nicely sozzled.  With our other housemates either at home or with their significant other, we found ourselves alone in a cold student house with no plans and the fear of imminent spinsterhood.  In a bid to banish such thoughts, we took an ‘ironic’ trip to the cinema and decided to celebrate singledom by playing a drinking game while watching 50 Shades of Grey.  Although the evening proved to be entertaining, and the wine served its role, I couldn’t help but feel we were hiding behind a haze of alcohol and some cheeky sex scenes.  Nonetheless, one year on and, yes, with spinsterhood still on the cards, I have a renewed perspective on the dating game, love, relationships and even dreaded Valentine’s.   

An image prevails on Valentine’s Day of singles desperately retreating from all romantic public spaces, the possibility of coming into contact with a couple - the most terrifying of prospects - as they hold hands in Starbucks or take a stroll through Wollaton Park being too much to bear for our poor fragile hearts.  Stepping back from the frontline of dating, we lock the doors, shut the curtains and put on those oversized pyjamas before cracking open a tub of ice cream; as our good friend Bridget once said: “[I] am enjoying a relationship with two men simultaneously.  The first is called Ben, the other, Jerry”.  In validation of our crushed dreams, the music starts flowing - Take That’s ‘A Million Love Songs’ and Adele’s ‘Hello’ being personal favourites – and accompanies contemplation of why we are in fact single.  Why can’t I be the lucky recipient of some wilting roses from the Co-op or a fuzzy teddy from the Build-a-Bear workshop?

And the simple answer is: you’re waiting for something more than a bunch of £1.99 roses.  Do not let yourself be forced into a desperate Tinder frenzy (by anxious mothers worrying they will never have grandchildren, nosey friends, or your own chronic feeling of inadequacy) in order to feel wanted on this one inconsequential night of the year.  We could all take a leaf out of Carrie’s book when she explains that being single “means you’re pretty sexy and you’re taking your time deciding how you want your life to be and who you want to spend it with”.  Instead of worrying about being single on Valentine’s Day, we should be enjoying it.  Treat yourself and buy those disco pants from Topshop; they’ll make a better present than some dead flowers from the local supermarket.  Go out for dinner with friends and mark your territory: you have just as much right to be there as the couples.  But if you really want to defy this commercial, superficial and clichéd holiday… just ignore it.  After all, apart from some oversized cards appearing in Clintons, and Ann Summers bringing out a new lingerie collection in time for the big day, there isn’t much else to contend with.  Perhaps just a slight increase in PDA.

One more warning - maybe give social media a wide berth for a few days following the 14th.  Experience has taught me that along with our obsession of instagramming cute cats and pictures of Trent building at sunset, girls have a special love of capturing on camera the numerous gifts bought for them by loving boyfriends; most likely a new Pandora charm at the advice of their mothers.  This insidious method of declaring to a wider audience they are loved and cherished is, to be quite frank, unnecessary and destroys any sense of female solidarity.  Valentine’s Day is marketed as being for a privileged elite.  Couple: you’re in, single: you’re out.  But I propose a new club – one for those who don’t give a damn and would rather spend their time thinking about the holidays that count.  Pancake Day?  Now, that’s something I can get on board with.

Edited by India-Jayne Trainor