When I was 11 years old, young and naive, my best friend convinced me to send a Valentine’s card to my (not so subtle) crush. I got my mum to buy me the sparkliest of cards, filled it with all my first-rate romantic poetry and sprayed it with half a bottle of Charlie Red. I waited patiently during the morning break, as he ripped open the envelope and skim read my amorous prose. It quickly became obvious that my Judy Bloom eroticism was lost on him as he passed it round the rest of the class to wax lyrical about the nerd who confessed her love for him. Much denial and face blushing later, this pretty much set up all romantic encounters for me for the rest of my life, and with it an inherent disdain for all things Valentine’s Day.
I don’t think I am the only one who feels this way. Gone are the days where we would scroll enviously through the Instagram #boydonegood tags, to see some poor man child who was earning £3 an hour in Burger King having had to bust a gut just to afford the latest Pandora Valentine’s collection. In fact, looking around the shops today I could barely find more than a few shelves dedicated to the most ‘romantic day of the year’. It’s not surprising we have all reached our capacity for buying into holiday seasons, with Valentine’s Day cards squeezed in between the discounted Zoella calendars and mountain of crème eggs. We have reached peak holiday love fest and we are done with it. Hurrah.
But Marks and Sparks won’t let us off that easy. If we aren’t buying chocolate shaped hearts for people we are banging, then we better be buying “It’s shit your single’ gifts for our gal pals. Enter Galentine’s Day. Originally a storyline in Parks and Recreation where by Amy Poehler dedicates the 13th of February to spending time with her girl friends and celebrating being awesome; it has quickly become synonymous with depressed single girls, drinking pink drinks and watching re runs of Dirty Dancing. I am not anti female friendships. I am not anti celebrating female friendships. But we all know that there is a reason why a ‘Gal’entine’s exists and ‘Mal’entine’s most certainly doesn’t. Because being single is only problematic if you’re a woman.
As us spinsters groom our cats and pluck our witchy mole hairs from our noses this Valentine’s evening, the bachelors are drugging tigers and t-boning Cadillac’s, fully embracing all that singledom has to offer. Whilst women need a whole day dedicated to supporting one another through the tragedy that is their barren and empty wombs, men are free to sow their seed with Russell Brand’s line of rejects. Sure, most Dad’s in the UK stopped selling off their daughters for a bit of land and some silverware a century ago, yet society would still make you think that most single women are sat in some kind of 21st century cattle market waiting for a bloke to burn their rump with a personalised brand and ship them to the nearest semi detached to become a fully fledged brood mare. On second thoughts, this might actually be Tinder.
When I go to any event, whether it’s a family wedding or a friend’s baby shower, I wonder how often men are approached by well meaning relatives and random strangers and asked such personal questions about where they are placing their dicks on a weekend. There seems to be a complete obsession with what women over thirty are putting in or pushing out of their vagina’s and either we are too busy slutting it up on the dating scene or not committing long enough to one prized schlong to allow him to make us preggo. Are men met with sympathetic sighs and gripping of shoulders when they announce, that yes, they are still single? It is an assumption that being single and female is depressing and miserable on every level, yet apparently having testicles makes singledom one long stag party. Despite what almost every romantic comedy film director would have you believe, it is very much possible that being female and single can be just as fun and fulfilling as being a mother, girlfriend, wife or fiancé.
If anything, being single can give you countless opportunities that are a lot trickier when in a committed relationship. This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone as this is the constant excuse given when men fail to commit, like being single is awesome, didn’t you get the memo? There are a hundred opportunities I have had over the past five years that would have either been complicated or impossible should I have had to share my time with just one human, let alone if being with that other human had led to additional mini humans. Not being tied down to a place, or person has allowed me to focus on my career, my blog, my social life without any guilt or worry I am spreading myself too thin. Want to work a 70-hour week for that promotion you always dreamed of and a hefty disposable income? Absolutely! Want to lie in bed for 3 days listening to Alanis Morissette and eating Jaffa Cakes? You bet! Want to have a hundred first kisses rather than only one? Sign me up.
It’s about time we smashed the sexism around relationship status’ and gender and realise that being single isn’t a curse for forgotten women. Often it’s a choice, an opportunity, much like it is for single men. We don’t need mushy love notes from our married gal pals, or sympathy cards from our Mums. I for one will not be spending today Bridget Jones snot crying and singing into my hairbrush or waiting for Mr Darcy to rescue me. I don’t need rescuing, my life is pretty good as it is, relationship status included. Galentine’s Day exists not to celebrate women but to acknowledge that they haven’t won the jackpot yet, and that is why it absolutely deserves to get in the bin.