Valentine’s Day is all hype with no substance. As we singles grow in numbers, it’s losing its mojo and certainly not worth getting upset about.
It’s that time again: Valentine’s Day, or what I refer to as V-Day. Before you accuse me of being the Romance Grinch, I adore that yearning, caring, loving feeling. Send me an apricot rose, bittersweet Godivas, or a heartfelt letter – not a text (are you writing this down?) and I’ll swoon.
What I don’t love is “Romance by Hype.” When, through the magic and machinations of ads for “that” day, many of us, whether single or partnered, are left feeling we have an arrow pointed at our wallets. Even if it’s Cupid who is taking aim, who could help but feel manipulated?
Does romance need a “day” when it should be a journey? Does it need a start and end when it should be continuous? When it’s assigned to February 14, expectations run high, execution runs low, and many singles stay at home with the covers over their head. What to do? Let’s look.
(NOTE: For you lovers who are still exchanging goo-goo eyes, I don’t mean to dampen your ardor. Enjoy.)
Dear Marnie: I’m a 34-year-old software designer who recently broke up with my girlfriend of three years. It was a messy ending with a lot of drama, mostly on her part. We had been off and on many times during our relationship, and I felt we were a bad match. Every time we got back together with new promises, nothing changed, and the cycle started over. So I ended it two months ago – this time for sure.
We recently started texting again, usually about general things that are going on. I think she’d like to give it another try, but we haven’t mentioned it. Every Valentine’s Day we used to do something special, for example, a romantic dinner, flowers, gifts. Marnie, I still care about her as a friend and will probably always love her in a way, and if I don’t do something this Valentine’s Day, she’ll be devastated. I’m clueless as to what to do and don’t want to send the wrong message. Any suggestions? — Uncertain
MARNIE SAYS: Take a breath my friend. Sit. My answer is simple. Do nothing. Here’s why.
Getting It! Your Personal Strategy:
* You’ve ended, not friended. By acknowledging “what used to be” you may be setting up expectations in your ex, especially as you noted her flair for drama.
* What could you possibly say: “I’ll miss you this year?” No. “Been thinking about all our Valentine’s Days together” — forget it. “Have a good one?” Oy.
* OK, let’s look at the most basic: “Hi. We’re pals … but I wanted to wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day.” If I were to receive such a missive I’d hire a team of shrinks from Switzerland plus a handwriting analyst to figure out (a) your true intention, and (b) to pull me out of that corner where I’m sitting with my thumb in my mouth. The questions: Are you fishing for more? Are you being an insensitive doofus? Are you trying to hurt me? Should I re-visit our favorite restaurants and slobber over a meal for one? See it?
All of which is why I suggest do nothing, send nothing, write nothing, text nothing. Alas, what may be a kind intention, may land like salt on a wound — or open up new ones.
V-DAY OY VEY
Hi Marnie: I’m 42, single and not seeing anyone special right now, which is fine. I have a number of friends, both married, partnered, as well as single. Last Valentine’s Day, some of my friends in twosomes regaled me with the largess they received from their lovers. This may sound a bit silly, but I was a little depressed, hiding it well, of course. My question is, why should a relatively happy, stable single woman feel this way, and how should I handle it with them this year? – Usually Perky
MARNIE SAYS: Darling, this made-up day of looove, with thousands of attacking adverts would depress Mary Poppins. It’s as though the whole world is in adoration and you’re left out. Pshaw! What you say to them is: “Great scarf! Does it come in maroon?”
Getting It! Your Personal Strategy:
* Truth helps. You’ve been hyped and had. You’re too good for that. Say it. Write it. Yell it: “I’m mad as hell and, I’m not going to take this anymore!”
* This deal is less about love than obligation. Love, you have plenty of. The loves of your past, your family, your friends, your future. And sweetie, that’s the real deal. Believe it.
* Now, claim it. Has anyone not seen Sex and the City? Among many memorable episodes was one called “A Woman’s Right to Shoes.” I adored it. Simply, Carrie, attending a baby-shower, was asked by the host to take off her shoes. Upon leaving, she discovered her precious Manolos were gone, shoes that cost her a cool $485. Her hostess lays a “wasteful shoe-shame” speech on Carrie who is in a dither over what to do. Ultimately, Carrie calculated all the gelt she spent because of this “friend’s” partnership choice (engagement, wedding, babies, baby birthdays) and felt she deserved payment – in full – for her choice.
* Forget the pity party. Throw your pals a love-in bash! Small, wonderful gifts are acceptable along with a few phrases of why each of you adore and value each other!
You see, the truth is, if you add up to whom you’re still sending holiday greetings, who’s been in your life, contributed to your mental and emotional health, been there to tell you those five extra pounds make you sexy, and that mole a sexy beauty mark … you’ll probably find more authentic lasting adoration among these dear people, then the romantic partners you once thought you couldn’t live without.
Now go enjoy February 14 just as you would any other day of your fabulous life.
NOTE: Sex and the City: Season 6, Episode 9 / “A Woman’s Right to Shoes” (17 Aug. 2003)
Copyright © Marnie Macauley / 2015 Singular Communications, LLC