Not Your Average Anti-Valentine's Day Article
by Vanessa Palencia
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and you best believe that everybody with a partner is hoping that their S.O will come home with roses, chocolates, or a giant-ass teddy bear that will eventually make its way into the back of the closet to be forgotten forever (or until the next spring cleaning). As of right now, the internet is probably on the verge of crashing because people are googling last minute Valentine’s Day gifts, booking last-minute getaways, or reserving last-minute restaurant seatings. Except you probably don’t care, because this is an Anti-Valentine’s Day post.
I’ll be honest with you guys. Yes, I’m in a relationship, but before you throw me off the bandwagon by saying that I don’t understand what it’s like to be single, let me clarify. I actually do. In fact, I was single for three years before I entered my current relationship, and last year around this time I was still single!
I don’t know what it was, but after three years of giving Valentine’s Day cards to my young son, I became livid at the thought of Valentine’s Day. I didn’t understand why it existed. In my mind, Valentine’s Day was just another reason for the world to mock us singletons. Oh, she’s still single? There must be something wrong with her. I searched high and low for something that I was doing wrong, but I couldn’t find a reasonable answer, so I did what any sane woman would do. I rebelled.
I set out to find black roses (surprisingly difficult since they’re not sold at florist shops), black plasticware, and black icing. I wanted black e’rything. To match my soul. I was in man-hating mode. I was convinced that Valentine’s Day existed solely to deride my sorry excuse of a love life. So what did I do? I baked cookies. Heart shaped cookies. And I wrote obscene things on them. That was my way of releasing all of the frustration. All of you warrior ladies probably hit punching bags, which I deeply admire. Me? I just bake cookies and shit.
Then the craziest thing happened. About a month and a half later, I reconnected with a friend of mine. Someone that I cared deeply about. Long story short, we got together and all my man-hating feels went out the door.
Of course, I wished that we had gotten together sooner so that I would have had an actual Valentine’s Day, but that’s when I realized that I needed to be single all those years. I needed to celebrate Anti-Valentine’s Day. I needed to experience the man-hating emotions. Why? Because it allowed me to really understand what I was looking for in a man. As I was biting into a Love Sucks cookie, I started reflecting on all the past dates I’ve been on and all the guys I’ve crushed on. I started questioning why I was single. Then I stumbled across the answer. I didn’t realize it, but I became bitter towards men because I wasn’t finding what I wanted in the guys I met. I was looking for certain qualities. I had standards, and I needed to stick by them. I needed him to be self-sufficient. I needed him to be a gentleman with modest values. I needed him to share my beliefs. I needed him to not be afraid to take control and to be upfront with what he wanted in life. The guys that I dated were either the polar opposite of what I wanted or only had one of those qualities. Since then, I came to a better understanding of which of my standards were unrealistic (e.g. dating a Harry Styles lookalike), what I was willing to sacrifice if I ever entered a relationship, and what I didn’t want.
My independence also allowed me to become more confident in myself. I began to understand my worth, so jealousy would never be a problem. So even if you are single this Valentine’s Day, don’t focus on the material gifts you’re not getting. Instead, focus on how you can improve yourself and learn to love yourself better every day because that’s a self-given gift that will mean so much more than any number of roses or chocolates. If you have a burning desire to bash on Valentine’s Day, then throw an epic Anti-Valentine’s Day party with all of your friends. It can be a great way to redirect your energy and attention to creating lasting memories rather than just wallowing in your bed dreaming about the memories you could have made. This year is what you make it.