For The Love Of My Readers...
V-Day or D-Day?
February is here, and with it the day that divides the nations all over the world. While some are giddy inside, unable to sleep before the 14th of February, others look at the calendar with dread, losing sleep over it for a completely different reason.
I'm not sure when the shift happened, but the past years I took up the habit of stalking people. Of course, only in a non-stalkerish way, if that makes any sense. It doesn't? Okay, let me explain. Because I want to make sure I do my research right (and let's face it, with the kind of stuff I write, it proves difficult most of the time), I decided to monitor how people act on and around Valentine's Day. Which better day to measure one's love for their other half and themselves, right?
I have to share with you an extremely unsettling pattern I found. I guess we can partly blame the media for it, and also the increasing pressure we put on people just for the sake of V-day (which some also refer to as D-day, and not without a good reason). So, here goes my findings. I promise, it's going to be more interesting than it sounds, so please stick with me (no pun intended this time).
Let me introduce you to the most common types of people (and forgive me for the stereotypes). Group numero uno is in a loving relationship, having tiny (or not-so-tiny) butterflies flutter around in their bellies every time they think about the 14th of February. Why? Because they expect (yep, you read that right) something extraordinary from the day. Think about it as the ultimate fairy-tale. The guy sets up a candle-lit dinner, where he proposes to his beloved, and then she fakes innocence and surprise, jumping into his arms instantly. Yep, that's the surface. But what does really go on behind the scenes?
Nothing romantic, I'm afraid. Again, this is going to be a stereotype, but what I noticed when observing these couples was the following: the woman would tell all her friends before the big day, that she is pretty sure she will be asked 'the question'. She starts planning their wedding way before she knows it's going to happen. And the guy? Poor sod has to live up to this expectation, because, don't be mistaken, he knows he ought to do it. The result? The day either makes or breaks the relationship, but in my perspective, it kind of takes away the free will from people.
Shouldn't him popping the big question be romantic and perfect every single day of the year? With the high value we give Valentine's Day, every other day fades away. Even when a girl tells her friends that she is going to get married, if one of her friends gets engaged on Valentine's Day, their friendship is doomed. Jealousy rears its ugly head, because one of them was proposed to on the perfect day. It doesn't happen this way every time, and I'm going to swiftly move on to group number two before I get lynched (or worse).
So, group number two.
If you thought the first group was bad, meet the singles. Yep, that's right. Valentine's Day is all about the couples, right? Wrong. It's about single people at least as much, if not more. And, as you might have guessed by now, it's even worse for this group on this 'special' day.
Just imagine this for a second: you are single, relatively okay with your predicament. And then comes Valentine's Day. Every single shop window (no pun intended yet again) is filled with reminders of what you don't currently have. Paper hearts are hanging from the ceiling, a whole shelf is dedicated to sparkly items with cheesy slogans about love and eternal happiness. Don't even try to go for a meal, where couples eat two meals for the price of one, sharing dessert, obviously.
It's all about romance, romance, and more romance. For single people, it might as well be a punch in the face. Some of them don't venture outside, for fear they will be looked at funny. Yes, that's how far this propaganda went. If you are single, even if you feel fine on your own, even if you have a heart of steel, this day is a nightmare. So, the only option for some is a big bowl of ice-cream, a rom-com and a box of tissues. And it shouldn't be like this!
Okay, let me rephrase this. I'm not against Valentine's Day, or what it should stand for. People should celebrate their love for each other. But, in my opinion, V-day should also be about our love for ourselves. But the way it is today, the way I see it, the day itself gained too much importance throughout the years, and we forgot what's truly important. Is the day truly about love? Or is it a race against time, debating whether you can outdo the present you gave last year? Don't even get me started on the financial side of it.
As I said, I'm going to use stereotypes today, and these examples are extreme, but I wanted to show you a bit different side to Valentine's Day. It isn't all hugs and kisses and roses, not for everyone at least. Trust me, I have been on both sides, and neither of them are good, for different reasons. Our happiness shouldn't depend on one day a year. What happens if things go sour? Are you going to stick it out till next Valentine's Day, hoping it will be better?
Although I can't change the way people look at this day, I thought I would at least give my perspective. I wrote a story (yay!), but this one is a bit different from the others. My protagonist is an actual writer. She writes erotic stories (no, she isn't me, although she could be), but she only writes about sex and all things romance, she hasn't experienced love for herself in a very long time. So, she decides to go on a speed-dating adventure on Valentine's Day. And let me tell you, it is a complete disaster. Of course, there are pleasurable moments, and lots of fun and morbid humour, but the whole event isn't what it seems.
And you could say that this is my propaganda for the day, and you might be right. Maybe I'm taking advantage of the importance of this day, too. But I like to think that I have my readers in mind when I do these things. That's why this is the second year when I write about a single woman and her insecurities on Valentine's Day. I don't have anything against couples, or their celebration, don't get me wrong. But I thought that enough people talk about them already on V-day.
And, I can't stress enough that my stories are for everyone. Yep, especially single people, and especially on Valentine's Day. You are all loved, don't ever forget that!