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To Valentine...or not

Amy Leibowitz culture current events Valentine’s Day

Ah, love...it’s in the air this time of year. Hearts and flowers and advertising for how to best show your sweetheart you care. Dinner dates and candy with cute sayings and the reddest roses. Wine, chocolate, and tasteful gifts.

But what if all of it is meaningless to some people?

There are lots of reasons folks might not like Valentine’s Day. Obviously, if that’s a person’s thing, we shouldn’t yuck on their yum. Go for it, have a great time and enjoy the special day with the one (or ones) you love.

We do need to take care, though. Valentine’s Day can be quite commercial, and it’s primarily aimed at monogamous heterosexual cisgender allosexual (not asexual) alloromantic (not aromantic) people. Some folks who don’t fall into all of those categories don’t care. Some stick it to society by doing as they please.

Some, though, can feel left out of the discussion. Not because there’s a day they can’t or won’t participate in, and sometimes not even because it’s a bit in-your-face. (Okay, a lot.) But because they feel invisible.

If that’s you, for any reason, you’re not alone. Valentines’ Day can be a challenge for many queer people, in many ways. Heck, it can be brutal for many non-queer people too, in many ways. The expectations and pressure are high.

Personally, I’m not much of a sucker for romance, despite being in a long-term relationship. So making it fun for me involves stripping away the pressure and turning it into a day to show love to all those around me, not only my partner. Fortunately, my partner and I are of one mind, so it’s usually a very nice day for us.

My kids are both different from us. My older child would love someone to sweep him off his feet and give him a special day, complete with flowers and chocolate and love notes. My younger child is indifferent and treats it as any other day.

How our family participates may not be for everyone, of course. Self-care on a day full of societal expectations is important. Be true to your needs (and your partner/s, if you have one or more). It may take some planning ahead to avoid a lot of the themed activities and promotions.

As an alternative, you can celebrate Quirkyalone Day. This isn’t only for single people, and it’s not an anti-Valentine’s Day event. It’s about celebrating all kinds of love, including self-love. You can visit the website for ideas on how to celebrate.

Whatever you choose to do, know that there is no wrong way to be on February 14. It isn’t wrong to want to join in the fun, however commercial it is. Lots of people love it! But it’s also not wrong to limit your exposure to the holiday. If you choose, you can celebrate in alternative ways.

As always, be your authentic self. Just because Society says a thing Must Be Done (and done a certain way) does not mean Society is correct. Take care, and enjoy your day however you wish.

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