Valentine’s Day is Wack

Wiggity wack? No, just regular
teen girl squad

Of all the prejudices I come up against every day the most obnoxious, lately, is the simple, pervasive assumption that as a woman, I won’t be satisfied without a husband, 2.5 kids, and a house in the suburbs. When I say I don’t want this, people make another set of assumptions;

A) I’m lying
B) I’m a lesbian
C) I’m in denial
D) I had a bad breakup
E) I don’t know what good sex is like
F) I’m cynical because I come from a broken home
G) I just haven’t found the right guy

Maybe they’re right, or perhaps I’d enjoy one of the more alternative, unmarried relationships recently described in this Atlantic article or this hairpin piece from a few years ago. A relationship with separate beds, or separate rooms, or separate wings (like Beauty and the Beast), or separate houses (like Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera who had adjacent houses joined by a walkway) or maybe even (gasp!) not a romantic relationship at all. Maybe as a child, I didn’t dream of a house with a husband and a white picket fence and a bunch of kids on the lawn, I dreamed of Ms. Honey’s cottage in Matilda (except, SPOILER ALERT; I wouldn’t have adopted Matilda at the end because I don’t like kids).

In writing all these letters for my month of letters I’ve been out shopping for cards and postcards, only to be reminded that it’s Valentine’s day next week and they’ve replaced all the good cards with red and pink hearts. I don’t hate Valentine’s day (who could hate this old school Outkast jam), but I hate the look of pity people give me when I say I’ve never had a date (this fact is true every day, not just Valentine’s day, but somehow people feel more sorry for me on Valentine’s Day). Valentine’s Day celebrates one particular type of romantic love, but as Jane Austen says in Mansfield Park:

“There are as many forms of love as there are moments in time.”

Here’s Steinbeck in a letter to his son:

“There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you—of kindness and consideration and respect—not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had.”

There is a good quote from Infinite Jest that I want to share, but it’s about 6 pages long. In it David Foster Wallace writes about a paraplegic who made a choice to love without pleasure; to love a woman with no skull, who leaks spinal fluid, has a hook for hands and is in an irreversible coma. To me, this passage made the entire 1000 page book worthwhile.

There is the love between you and your best friend, the love between you and your family, the love between you and your neighbor, anon. How is this love less significant than the love you have with your lover? In a way, the childrens’ version of the holiday is better at celebrating the different forms of love since you have to give cards to everyone, not just the boy you have a crush on.

What other holidays apply only to a certain subset of the population? (Some are religious, but we all get the day off for Christmas)

P.S. Another great post by ehs dub at I’m Revolting, whose birthday is today. You win, all hail the queen.

UPDATE 2/14:
Ryan North stole my idea! JK, only love for Dinosaur Comics.

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