I like how it happens not too long after the New Year so your city feels fresh. Everyone on the sidewalks is carrying red flowers and pink balloons and big heart boxes home. I like the way that red and pink look against white snow, because Valentine’s Day is in the winter and I like the dash of lovin whimsy that it punches into the cold season. I have been single on every Valentine’s Day ever except sort of in 10th grade when I skipped Geometry to meet up with this secret sort of boyfriend I kind of had. We did not acknowledge that it was Valentine’s Day. We just made out in a stairwell for a while and I was wearing a pink dress, because the other great thing about Valentine’s Day is the dressing up.
There are at least ten reasons to love this day; one of them is that I love seeing other people in love. Will someone explain to me, sometime, why happy couples make single people mad? Happy couples serve a faith-inducing purpose, if you really think about it, because it’s hard to claim that love is not contagious.
Maybe I’m not taking the content of the holiday seriously enough, how it’s technically a day for people in love. All I see is pink and red. It’s as much a day to celebrate being gainfully unattached as it is having a love story with a partner. It can be a clear, crisp, platonic day to take a break from half-assed courtship. Because I am insane I’m usually dating like three people at a time, but on Valentine’s Day I quit being a player and hang out with my friends because I love them and the holiday is about love, right. We’ll wear red or if we’re feeling subversive then blue and we’ll watch Marie Antoinette because it’s a pretty and pink movie. Or Mean Girls or Amelie or Fight Club while eating sweet cavity things and reading astrology books.
Maybe I love Valentine’s Day because I was raised to. My mom used to decorate the house for it better than Christmas, which we barely acknowledged. She’d hang white tulle (Google it) in the kitchen and put out pink and purple candles, string silver lights across the ceiling. There would be candy hearts. My sister and I would glue lace to construction paper and make cards for each other. It was a day different from all the other days, that holiday thrill electrifying the death-feeling of grade school monotony. Even now, my mom sends me a package with pink and red treats every February. Her personality is most pop culturally comparable to the No Wire Hangers Lady in Mommie Dearest. We don’t speak much anymore. But somehow, in our non-relationship, Valentine’s Day still happens for us.
I love Valentine’s Day because a day designated to recognize love is a nice thing for America to have, right? Thus, it is a day to remember how much you love other stuff too: I love being giddy on champagne with my friends and writing stories till my carpal tunnel explodes and getting black ink tattoos all over me. I love my bedroom where the light hits my blue sheets to make everything the perfect cool tint and how this weather smells like spring. I love the memories of days when I was in love and wanting and whining. Don’t forget those memories; because of them you can rest assured there are more to come. I love annoying synthy hipster bands and their annoying shows in dive bars. I love Norah Labiner and Jane Lynch and Susan Sontag. I love those Indian restaurants with the crazy cluttered Valentines-y lights on the ceiling and I love that Diplo remix of that Sia song. And here is the cheesy but true part, did I mention I love my friends?
This year, I’m gonna wear my favorite red pants and red lipstick. I’m going to Bushwick with my buddy who just moved here and still has that New-to-New-York glow. We’re going eat dinner at Tandem because in case you didn’t know, food can be love, and then go to some concert. We’re probably going to text other single buddies and they’ll come and we’ll go to a dance party in a warehouse and I’m going to keep saying “Happy Valentine’s Day!” while we get drunk because it’s our day too; if anything, in our pink and red clothes with our lives nothing but blank slates in this young year, it’s more our day than anyone else’s.