It’s time for my annual venting of the bile related to that cotton candy pink monstrosity known as Valentine’s Day. I’ve never been a big fan of the VD, even in the best of times, and divorce hasn’t done anything to soften my thinking. As usual, you can’t walk 10 feet without being assaulted by chubby little cherubs with malicious eyes and droopy diapers and everything looks like it’s been hosed down with blood and Pepto Bismal. Hearts and flowers and doe-eyed idiots in love are inescapable, and the best you can do is hunker down and wait for the 50% off chocolate sales beginning on the 15th.
I’ve done the Anti-Valentine’s thing before. One year some friends and I celebrated by having cake emblazoned with the words “Men Suck” around the circumference, and the top had “Happy Fucking Valentine’s” next to a plastic decorative man in a speedo whose little plastic throat was slashed, dripping red frosting blood all over the cake top. My friend Erika worked at a bakery at the time and spent a lot of time perfecting this cake, even though she wasn’t invited to the party (it was singles only, and though she wasn’t technically dating anyone she was regularly sleeping with two people and that was enough to get her ass booted from the guest list). The black frosting had been a bit of a challenge, but apparently she was able to achieve the right look by using a lot of green and red coloring mixed together. I mean a LOT. I’m not going to get too graphic (because I’m a fucking lady) but there were some interesting gastrointestinal moments over the next couple of days. After cake and copious amounts of booze, we poured ourselves into a cab to go to the Carmike and watch a special V-Day showing of Faces of Death 14. Most of it was obviously faked, but it still put us in the holiday spirit.
The problem with Anti-Valentine’s Day celebrations is that is doesn’t really get to the heart of what is really wrong with this shoddy excuse for a holiday: it’s just an encapsulated, hyperactive expression of how our culture feels about single people all year long, namely that there is something wrong with you or that you aren’t complete because you haven’t found “the one.” Anti-Valentine’s is one way to make a personal strike against this commercialization of love and romance, but it doesn’t do anything to remind the world that being single isn’t some terrible curse or disease, or some terrible obstacle that everyone is just hoping to overcome. Why is it such a stretch of the imagination to believe that some people might actually enjoy being single? All of this Valentine’s schmaltz just exists to perpetuate all of these ideas about how relationships should be and how we should feel if we aren’t living up to that ideal. It’s heteronormative (rarely do you see depictions of queer couples in VD advertising), it pushes monogamy as the only acceptable formation for relationships (for a day that is supposed to be the ultimate celebration of love, you’d think polyamory might make at least a cameo appearance!), and it hammers away at this fairytale notion that we need another person in order to be complete.
Why can’t there be a day for single people to celebrate what their lives are all about? This isn’t like racist white people who say stupid shit like, “Well if they get a Black History Month, why don’t we get White History Month?” because VD is the same cultural message about love and relationships that you find year-round except pumped up like a Charlie Sheen Vegas meth binge (Duh, winning!). A holiday for single folks might let us open up and talk about relationships, dating, and sex in ways that we rarely get to now. It could be part of breaking down this fakey fairytale idea of relationships that we seem to be stuck with, an obsession that doesn’t just hurt single people. It hurts people who are in relationships just as much, if not more. It’s there when someone goes on a date, constantly evaluating and questioning whether or not this person they are having appetizers with lives up to this mythical idea of “the one.” It’s there when people are planning weddings, convincing them that this is”their day” – and they’d better not fuck it up. The world just might hinge on whether or not they have the perfectest of perfect days with songbirds and harp music and unicorns shitting glitter on the assembled masses. It’s there when you’ve been together for a while and you start to question yourself because it isn’t all fireworks and sexcapades like in that glorious honeymoon phase. This Disneyfied picture of perfect love without conflict or compromise is fucking it up for everyone. People are so busy trying to make their relationships perfect that they’ve forgotten how to make them work.
But then what do I know? I’m a drag queen, not a fucking relationship expert.
Tags: Anti-Valentines Day, being single, Cupid, Disney, fairytales, happily ever after, heteronormative, heteronormativity, Janessa, Janessa J, Janessa J Champagne, Janessa Jaye, Janessa Jaye Champagne, monogamy, polyamory, relationships, Valentine's Day, weddings