CLEVELAND — I feel like Feb. 14 has recently become like two separate holidays, commemorated by one group that celebrates Valentine's Day, and another that celebrates hating Valentine's Day.
Of course, there have always been people who dislike Valentine's Day, either for its empty commercialism or out of frustration because it reminds them that love has thus far eluded them. But the contempt for this day really seems to have snowballed over the recent years, to the extent that hating Valentine's Day has become an event in and of itself.
Some corporations have even taken notice, and now offer deals and products specifically geared towards exploiting our collective disdain. For example, Burger King is offering a free Whopper to anyone who brings in a printed out photo of their former lover (classy), and in exchange for a $25 donation, the San Antonio Zoo will name a rat after your ex and then allow you to watch a snake eat it webcam (doesn't sound like the healthiest way to work through a break-up situation, but I'm no psychologist).
The fact that this newfound, pervasive hatred of Valentine's Day happened to coincide with the advent of social media is no coincidence. It was one thing to be alone on Valentine's Day pre-internet, but now we find ourselves inundated with constant barrages of photos from online friends demonstrating just how much happier they are than the rest of us today.
And of course, it can be easy to forget these carefully crafted moments don't tell the whole story. We don't see the fight the couple got into on the Uber ride to Buca di Beppo; we don't get to see them ignoring each other and staring at their phones on the Lyft ride home.
So if you're single and unhappy this Valentine's Day, here are three tips that I hope will pull you out of that funk:
- Don't compare your relationship situation to the fantasy relationships that people present online.
- If you're single, remember that Valentine's Day is the perfect night to go out, because it's the one night of the year where you know exactly where everyone stands. If someone is out without a significant other tonight, you can be fairly certain that means their either not in a relationship, or that the relationship they are in is probably not going very well, and they are therefore vulnerable to third party interference (aka, me, so go shoot your shot).
- Finally, even in the event that you totally strike out, you can still take advantage of the ultimate consolation prize tomorrow, because that's when all chain drug stores slash the prices of their unsold Valentine's Day candy. So even if you can't find love, you can definitely find a steeply-discounted chocolate-covered nougat.