Now That Valentine’s Day Is Over, Let’s Talk About It!
Now that V-day is over (sigh of relief for many), I want to reflect on this oh-so-important “celebration” and the type of pressures it can cause.
I totally respect the views of people who like, love, or loath this particular “occasion.”
To give a mini-background-bio, I am a person who generally loves special occasions and events.
I love going all out for Halloween, Easter, the birthdays of loved ones, and although I am not the biggest Christmas person, I still enjoy making it special for those who are.
I love the shopping, decorating, baking, and hosting (although Covid is killing that last one) that special occasions bring.
I was also a part-time charity event and fundraising coordinator for the past 11years, again, pre-Covid19.
So personally, I love Valentine’s day. I loved it when I was single, I love it when I am in a relationship, I loved doing Valentine’s day photoshoots in my modelling days, and I loved attending Valentine’s events as a charity coordinator or supporter.
However, I understand that for some people, similarly to Christmas, V-day may not be a particular occasion they look forward to.
Here are some situations where I think February 14th can be put unwelcome pressure on people:
The First Valentine’s After A Breakup
Whether you are the dumper, the dump-ee, or it was a mutual decision, nobody feels on top of the world after ending a relationship (generally speaking).
The roller-coaster of emotions that follows a breakup is usually enough to deal with without seeing shop windows full of heart-shaped boxes of chocolates (usually go half price on February 15th, FYI) and love proclaiming teddy bears.
My one bit of advice for those hurting is to limit social media for the day. However, if you do decide to torture yourself by comparing your lack of insta-flowers to those of randomers, remember that social media is somebody’s edited life highlights.
When You Are In A Very New Relationship
Is there anything more awkward than shopping for Valentine’s day card for someone you have not said the “L-word” to yet?
Also, how big a present should you buy your new girlfriend/boyfriend? You don’t know if they will hate it because you don’t know everything about them yet…
I have a few tips for “new-baes”:
Go with the funny option. This can go for a card or present – it gives you both something to laugh about during the horrifyingly cringy moment when you open presents in front of the person who gave them to you.
Buy an event ticket for somewhere you can go together (I’m aware Covid may not comply with this but let’s think positively here). Tickets to a comedy show are a good shout – tickets to Barbados are too much.
Find out something they like (you should know something they like if you asked/agreed to be someone’s bf or gf). For example – if they like dogs, get them a dog calendar. Do NOT get them a dog; remember this person is NEW.
Now that that’s over, you have six weeks to find out your significant other’s favourite easter egg.
When You Are Not Official Yet
Probably the most awkward situation of all. This is similar to having a new bf/gf, but when you are newly official, at least you know the other person likes you a lot.
The biggest fear I have had in these situations is that I will get the other person a present, and they will think I am weird for doing it.
So, it has happened to me twice (with Christmas presents, not Valentines) that I didn’t get the person I was newly dating a present and they got me one, and I felt AWFUL.
Another time someone asked me to dinner on Valentine’s night, and as it was our 2nd date, I wasn’t expecting anything, but he did get me a little teddy, and I was highly impressed.
The moral of the story – have something small on hand to give back; if there is any hope, they will get you something.
This brings me to my final point that may make people unenthusiastic about Valentine’s day:
When You Have Been Single For A While
There were a few things I did not like about being single when I was single, namely people asking “why” I was single. “Dunno must be 47 cats scaring them away, Linda”.
Anyway, stupid people and their stupid questions aside, Valentine’s day can still be a great day when you are single.
I am just gonna come straight out and say it. You get more stuff.
People make such an effort with single people on Valentine, and my friends have done such thoughtful things for me to make sure I wasn’t left out on love-day.
My wonderful dad got me the biggest box of Butlers chocolates one year, and my mom had the nerve to include a note saying, “don’t eat them all at once.” As if I were a lonely chocoholic.
I mean, it’s true, I had nobody to share them with, but who is the real winner here?
I heard a quote this week that said, “Valentine’s Day is about celebrating love, not couples,” and it is a good point that I would have loved to take credit for.
If Valentine’s is not for you, so be it, but I think any day that puts an emphasis on love of any kind deserves at least the option to be celebrated.
Katherine Gannon MA, BA (Hons) is a freelance journalist, a charity supporter, and an advocate for body positivity. She’s from Galway.