It’s that time again. Just picture it. It’s cold (not cold, but San Diego cold. So, you know, you throw a cardigan over your tank top and shorts), it’s a few weeks into the semester and you’ve suddenly become aware of a campus-wide infestation of a peculiar breed of human beings: couples. That’s right, Valentine’s Day is back again and, whether you are psyched or dreading it, there’s no denying it once it’s here.
You’ve never seen the colors pink and red in such abundance; hearts adorn every visible surface and you can almost see cartoon hearts floating over that couple making out in the hallway between classes. I’ve never done any research about why the presence of such overbearing displays of affection pop up midway through February, but I know it happens.
I know that as gushy and girly as I am about generally everything in life — from painting my nails, to quoting chick flicks, to “aww”-ing every time I see a puppy — Valentine’s Day can turn me bitter and grouchy. I’ve seen it happen to the best of us. It’s just one of those holidays that creates strongly opposed emotional responses. You never get that with other holidays.
I’ve never approached someone during Halloween and been grumpily told, “I hate this holiday. I don’t need people walking around showing off the fact they have candy to make out with, when not all of us have candy, even if we all want candy, who will buy us presents and visit our parents and compliment us and love us.” Because a) That would be asking a lot of candy, which I’ve never known it to do, and b) Most other holidays don’t inspire the same kind of jealousy Valentine’s Day does.
It’s just a time of the year when we all feel like we need to be at a certain point in our lives, though not all of us are. And for those of us who are unsure of what to do about that, here’s a little guide. Us singles who have no prospects (this would be my home base), you’ve got to learn to embrace it. I mean, you can always be that girl who sits at home alone in her pajamas, watching “The Notebook” on Lifetime, eating her weight in ice cream while Taylor Swift plays on a loop. (If that’s you, don’t be offended. I just described my average Tuesday night.)
You can complain to your other single friends and you can avoid your in-a-relationship-and-therefore-the-enemy friends. You can make this time of year horrible and stressful, or you can just accept it and make it fun. You can enjoy yourself by watching a fun movie, taking yourself out to dinner or doing a little shopping (I will forever be an advocate of retail therapy). You can plan a night with friends.
You can find a way to make the night a positive one without thinking of that nonexistent someone. And you can rest assured I will be in the same boat as you. For those of you who are single and “talking,” which seems to sum up more people than I can count, you can consider yourself lucky. You’ve got someone to think about, to talk about, to gossip about. But I get it: Sometimes it sucks to have that someone who isn’t really a someone.
You have the idea of a person, but not the actual confirmation you are more than just an idea. It’s the ultimate tease. You don’t know if they’re thinking of you, but you know you’re thinking of them, and you’re not sure if you should be or not. I say you have two options. You can spend the night “talking,” giggling about the message, overanalyzing the wordage and sharing everything they say with the aforementioned single-without-hope group.
Or you could just let it go, just for the night. You could take time for yourself and see if that someone will ever lead to being an actual “someone.” This is the stage that will always be a bit vague, because it resides between the single and taken categories, even though it’s not a technical relationship (until Facebook gets it, which we’re all waiting on so 90 percent of us can change our relationship status).
Those of you who are taken and loving it, enjoy your Valentine’s Day. Realize the rest of us may or may not want to talk to you, but don’t take it personally. We’re really happy for you … on any other day of the year. But on this day, the calendar has decided to remind everyone of that special breed we call couples that get to be even more in love than usual.
We probably wont feel so inclined to express our admiration. Have your date with your someone, eat pasta at a cute little Italian restaurant, end up recreating that scene from “Lady and the Tramp,” go on adventures and share romantic kisses goodnight. But don’t expect to share stories with the rest of us until tomorrow, once we’ve taken the gallon of Ben & Jerry’s to the trash, cleaned up all the tissues that have accumulated from watching “The Notebook” three times and have officially changed our ringtone to T. Swift. Because I’m guessing the majority of us won’t be terribly receptive until then.
—Bree Lutjens is a public relations freshman.