Written by Shermaine Lim
Welcome to the second part of U-Insight’s Valentine’s Day trilogy, where our writers give (hopefully helpful) tips on how to survive this yearly affair catered for the couples, the broken-hearteds and the singles
When the poet Carol Ann Duffy takes to the subject of love, the heart becomes an onion. As a single lady (thank you Beyoncé), I approach the 14th of February in this identical manner; with the knowledge that love must be both raw and organic in practice and the acceptance that crying is definitely on the menu.
However, spending Valentine’s Day alone doesn’t have to be a tragic affair. There are many ways to make a lovely day out of a capitalist scheme designed to incur the cheapest brand of devotion. Here are some tips I’ve picked up over the years with all the time I’ve had to spend with myself.
1. Buy all the candy you want
Tired of being eyeballed by the cashier and half of the queue every time you show up at the counter with a small country’s worth of sugar? Here’s your chance to clean a supermarket shelf of all the sweets you desire. Romantic intentions are already set up as a context, and you’ll have the excuse of “surprising your significant other” without the actual worry of having to share your chocolates with anybody. Last year I walked out of the supermarket with two tubs of mint ice cream while being cheered on by an enthusiastic cashier. It’s twice the indulgence for half the hassle. Nobody will care to judge you, except maybe yourself.
2. Make money off your attached friends
A few years ago, I stopped by a flower shop during Valentine’s Day. To my shock, the usual price of $3 a rose had taken a sharp hike into the double digits. When confronted by a disgruntled couple, the flower lady simply smiled and said “you pay for love.”
With this in mind, here’s a useful tip. Valentine’s Day is a capitalist scheme, and it’s time to start taking advantage of this economy. Start gardening this December. Flowers are ridiculously easy to buy and nurture. I promise you that by next year, you’ll have a small army of roses ready to dispatch and a small group of couples you’ll be fishing a hearty salary from.
3. Have the best self-care day ever
Watch a movie by yourself and help yourself to the biggest bag of popcorn you can legally order. Hairbrush karaoke in your pajamas and annoy all your neighbours in G major. Hang out with all your single friends and throw rice at unsuspecting couples. Go wild! Romance is a socially constructed concept, time is an illusion and you are a force of nature in your hedgehog pajamas.
4. By any other name
With all this said, Valentine’s Day can be a very beautiful opportunity for all of us. It gives a lot of couples the avenue to express feelings they might not have the resource or time to appreciate normally. It can also be an opportune moment for those who are single to recognise themselves and recuperate from the strains of ordinary life.
Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be a standardised and commercialised practice. It doesn’t have to be a materialistic celebration, and in this context it doesn’t even have to be limited to romantic affection. You don’t even have to follow any of my “tips.” Celebration is unique, and you do you.
The 14th of February isn’t such a big deal. Love of any kind shouldn’t be limited to a particular date. Love should be continuous, and love should be eternal. Regardless of your relationship status, I hope you become familiar with it, and take it as you would an onion; fierce and faithful for as long as you are.
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