Why the obligatory romance of Valentine’s Day is stupid and insulting

Argh! It’s Valentine’s Day! Have an emotional break down!

doodling hearts on valentine's day

It’s Valentine’s Day this Friday, have you got a date planned? Have you picked out that special Valentine’s Day card? Can’t wait to see their face as you give them a sentimental little present to round up an entire year’s worth of ‘I love you’s’?

Of course you have, because society told you to, and you do everything society tells you to do. I am a little teed off that pretty much the only reason 99% of people in relationships will give a display of affection or emotional commitment on Friday is because it’s Valentine’s Day.

That’s just not right. Where’s the spontaneity? If your partner needs an International Don’t Forget to Tell Your Partner They Matter Day in order to actually tell you that you matter to them, I would be questioning the depth and sincerity of their feelings about you and the relationship.

Of course, if your partner does show signs of affection, emotion and romance at other times of the year, happy days. Valentine’s Day becomes merely a ‘background excuse’ for another happy union, whether it’s a spend on a wining and dining night out, the predictable rom-com at the flicks or just time away from kids and work to snuggle down on the sofa with some DVDs and snacks, without distractions.

The media remark upon Valentine’s Day as if it’s the only day of the year a man shows any romantic inclination towards his partner, or the only day of the year when a woman should expect any romantic displays from their partner. This is insulting to both genders.

What’s even more insulting is the overwhelming heterosexual tone to the whole thing. Almost a feeling of, ‘this is our day, a day of legal and correct marriage proposals and the day when boys and girls get their love groove on, no-one else is invited to this party’. What? So in 2014 the only relationships who get a day to celebrate commitment, love, emotion and affection are hetero couples? Sod that.

When I was in a poly relationship, we constantly found a lack of support out there for the poly angle of our relationships. Go and read any Valentine’s Day greeting card stand. To the ONE I love. To my ONE and ONLY. To my other HALF.

Then, there’s the issue (unfortunately, for this world, it still seems to be an issue rather than a lovely fact of the matter) of lesbian, bisexual and gay relationships. To My Girlfriend cards are still designed majorly from a male perspective, and even if there’s no visual evidence of this, you either have a societal repercussion feeling that you’re going against some mainstream grain by buying it, or else the shop assistant gives you an extremely odd look upon purchase. As if they’re trying to work out the situation. This look ranges from ‘wtf? you’re a girl and you’re buying a ‘to your girlfriend’ card? this must be a mistake but ok, if you’re sure…’ through to a pitying ‘aw, you’re obviously some saddo who buys your own card on Valentine’s Day because you’ve been dumped/can’t find a guy’ and finally the hideous realisation of ‘OMG you’re one of those lesbos! Let’s get you served up and out of here before you start frottaging against every woman in sight!’.

It is for this reason that I have a soft spot for blank cards these days, but it makes me seethe that there is still so much judgement out there for any relationship that doesn’t fit the persisting 1940s-50s ‘this is the normal relationship’ stance of, man meets woman, man and woman court, woman bats eyelashes and keeps herself in good shape for man, man proposes to woman (probably on Valentine’s Day for extra brownie points*), man goes and earns decent living from hard work while ‘weako’ woman stays home and has ‘easy’ job of being a breeding vessel and resident maid/cook.

Let’s not even get started on transgender relationships, both because I don’t have much personal experience in this field and because it seems an utter minefield of complexities and labels. I’d hate to accidentally insult someone.***

Will he propose to me this valentine's day?

Moving on, of course Valentine’s Day is the one day of the year when women get their hopes up for a marriage proposal, seemingly especially if they’re hetero. ‘Ooh he might propose!’ So? You need a piece of paper to prove to yourself that he wants to be with you? How unstable is your relationship in the first place if the only way you will truly be 100% secure in your relationship (and don’t kid yourself, you won’t be anyway) is to get him into a legally binding contract? Have a big party and wear a big dress and live out those little girl princess at the ball fantasies, by all means, but please don’t insult yourself and other women by encouraging the societal and media tidal wave of ‘Let’s Pressure All Men Into Making a Bumbling Marriage Proposal This Valentine’s Day’. I don’t need to be wed to know he loves me (but a party with a big dress might be nice, let’s get honest here. Legal contract entirely optional and unnecessary).

Then there’s the smugness of couples in relationships – somewhat mislabelled for these purposes, but similar to the ‘Smug Marrieds’ of Bridget Jones – used as unstoppable and mounting pressure against ‘The Singletons’ every year. As Valentine’s Day draws near like some kind of relationship Judgement Day, there are worried overtones to each advertisement and (mostly female hosted) talk shows. “How to Bag a Man for Valentine’s Day” (because all women are straight, don’t forget AND THEY NEED A MAN GODDAMIT) and if there should be a specific man in said Singleton’s sights (poor bloke), “10 Ways to Make Him Propose on Valentine’s Day”, “6 of the Best Lingerie Sets to Make him Forget His Name, Hand Over His Wallet and Make Him Suck on Your High Heels While You Plan Your Wedding In Two Weeks Time” and the like. You get my point.

So what are you doing on Valentine’s Day? Does it even matter? If you want to get cosy and romantic, do so. I am not staging some kind of silent (and ultimately pointless) protest by dancing in the street with my single girlfriends and ignoring my partner. Yes, I am going to go out for a nice meal and chat and head home for snuggles. Mostly at the request of mum-in-law, it has to be said. For me though, any opportunity (or should that be excuse) to spend time alone with my partner and get away from work and family duties is to be welcomed and taken advantage of. Saying that, we may ditch off the wine ‘n dine plans and go and see the new Lego Movie. Stuff your rom-coms, Lego is where it’s at.

I won’t even be aware that it’s Valentine’s Day/Night, most probably, apart from the obligatory woman selling roses to pressure (mostly) men into buying one for his partner lest he be seen as the most ungenerous, uncaring man in the universe. Money swindling gits. I’m happy to be wined and dined any night of the year, and I am certainly not ‘holding out’ for a proposal.

Please don’t feel obliged to show or to receive ‘romance’ this Valentine’s Day. Do whatever you want. With whoever you want. Or on your own. It’s another day of the year. Enjoy it as you will. It’s your day, your year, your life.

Official Stampy Pants Rant

This Stampy Pants Rant coming ‘atcha from Cara Sutra xxx

*I am almost certain that the phrase ‘brownie points’ comes from the fact women were forced to cook brownies every time a man treated them ‘proper’.**
**Probably not though
***I try to keep my insults 100% deliberate

 

1 COMMENT

  1. I think most people are so overworked that having a reminder or a day set out specifically to show care for their partner is probably needed for them. They need it “scheduled” in and its easier if an almost compulsory day is set up.

    We do not “celebrate” or do anything special Valentine’s Day – we don’t feel the need to make something huge out of loving each other. We are both fortunate to work from home so most days we get to have lots of cuddles and love throughout the day. We don’t get to spend as much time in the evening as we like sometimes hut when we do its very simple. We spend a lot of time talking to each other too.

    We just aren’t the type of people who like romance in the way most people seem to like romance..but I think that its ok if you need to have that day – we just don’t.

    The only problem is…some people can get hung up on it as though if their partner has done nothing for them on that day then they don’t feel loved – this sort of thing can be rectified with clear communication about how you both feel about this type of “holiday”.

    I have a big hate for cards of all type. They just seem so wasteful and meaningless. Generally if I give a card I sit down and make it!

    I agree though – you shouldn’t feel obliged to do something just because its Valentine’s Day – you can always do something romantic or amazing on any other day of the year too.

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