February 15th. The day single people of all ages, genders, religions, nationalities and everything else in between come into their own. They put on their best clothes, make sure their hair is sitting immaculately and head off for a solo day on the town. “The couples have had their fun,” they say as they walk through the doors of the large shops still donning the love heart banners and the googly eyed puppy dog posters.
For when they get in there, they are surrounded by what will be perhaps known as their greatest bargains of the year. The perfume sets and the fancy chocolates – all sitting prettily on the shelves with the ‘For your loved one’ stickers covered by ‘50% off’ ones. For that, in my single eyes, is the greatest perk of being alone on Valentine’s Day.
Maybe I exaggerate. Those coupled people can still indulge in cheap white chocolate strawberries from Hotel Chocolat – but, the difference is they have someone to buy the box for them.
For some people, being single on the most romantic day of the year can be a struggle. It’s around a fortnight before that girl in your tutorial who swore she wouldn’t date this year suddenly has a new beau appearing in her Instagram stories. Or, your friend’s flatmate downloads Grindr again and starts meeting people for drinks like there’s a ticking timebomb attached to him.
And, then you get the other half of the single population, angry that they can’t get a seat in their favourite restaurant because of everyone wining and dining and annoyed that all the good Groupon deals are for couples only. They spend the day absolutely raging that they can’t get to the train station at a reasonable pace thanks to the loved-up duos sauntering along hand in hand down Buchanan Street; before ending up on the couch with a wine cursing the day St Valentine was born.
In past years I feel like being without love on the 14th of February has caused people to look on me with pity, give my arm a reassuring rub (quickly though, so they don’t catch my single germs) and then give me a melancholic smile before telling me, “he’s out there somewhere.”
Could you imagine if I were to do that back to one of my friends who is currently in a relationship? Look upon them with sadness that they must spend the evening going to Pizza Express for two courses and prosecco while the whole world is my oyster?
There would be an outrage.
For those of you who are feeling a bit blue and will be tucking into a meal deal for one; remember that Valentine’s Day by definition is, “a celebration of love and affection” which can be interpreted in more ways than one. Give your gran a call and remind her how much she means to you. Buy your brother his favourite chocolate just because you can. Tell your best friend how much you love her and not just because you’ve had a gin or five.
Yes, Valentine’s Day is mostly associated with romantic love, candlelit dinners and Pandora rings.
But, remember it’s a celebration of love in general – and it doesn’t have to be something you dread or hate as you can still enjoy it in other ways. And if you’re not partaking in any of the traditional V-Day loving this year; round up your pals, order a takeaway, pour yourself a drink and have a fabulous night in on the couch. It couldn’t possibly get better than that…
Unless they added Magic Mike to Netflix, of course.
By Amy Shearer