Friday, 11 February 2011

Valentine's Day Politics

Note: The above picture has nothing to do with the post. It’s just a subtle hint concerning what Valentine’s gift I’d like. YSL Tribtoo’s in emerald green or Louboutin fred flats. I’m a 39….

A few days ago a friend approached me and asked that I write a blog entry about how to experience Valentine’s Day as a single woman. I thought her suggestion was a good one as Valentine’s Day can put some single women on edge. Too many people insist on asking “So what are you doing this Valentine’s Day” knowing full well we’re single and following that logic it means we probably won’t be doing anything.

Sidebar: This year I’ve taken to responding with “The usual! Talking to my cats, stalking a man I can never have and then I’ll curl up in bed with The Female Eunuch for company” It’s amusing watching people laugh nervously because they’re not quite sure if I’m lying or not.

As we discussed the blog it became apparent we had completely different perspectives. My friend advocates single women being their own Valentine. This (ordeal) involves taking yourself out to dinner and buying yourself gifts. She also asked that I sign off the blog with a reminder that all single women should stay hopeful as “things will get better soon because every Queen finds her King someday”

The thought of taking myself out on a date on Valentine’s Day makes me feel nauseas. To advise someone else to do what I won’t is hypocritical. Furthermore I don’t have a "things will get better your King is around the corner" blog within me. It’s not how I’m wired. I’m a rehabilitated cynic who still believes life is a beautiful struggle, so you might as well live it wearing great shoes. The truth is things may not get better and you may have to French kiss 25 more frogs before you find your king.

My take on experiencing Valentine’s Day as a single woman is pretty simple. I have nothing but respect for single women who are genuinely ok with spending the evening alone. I love the fact they haven’t capitulated to the pressure to wallow in self-pity. Simultaneously, I don’t see anything wrong with a woman who’d like a bit of company on Valentine’s Day. I just feel women are reluctant to publicly admit it because people automatically conclude it means they’re insecure or needy. When in fact it (probably) means they’d like to be wined, dined and heavily petted (preferably in that order).

If you’re a single woman and you’d rather not be alone on Valentine’s Day, the onus is on you to take matters into your own hands. I’m sure you have plenty of options. These men may not be the greatest options, but they’re options nonetheless. And when life gives you lemons, it is your duty to make lemon martinis. I dare you, call someone you find interesting and say…..

"I’d like to go out on Monday. Are you free?"

As my friend is a hopeless romantic who clings to traditional gender roles, she was appalled by my stance….

"Christiana! Valentine’s Day isn’t meant to be spent with just anyone .It’s a special day! I think if you’re single on Valentine’s Day you should embrace it and just wait for Mr Right to come to you "

Firstly, there is nothing sacred about Valentine's Day. It is a frivolous event where people purchase ostentatious gifts as a demonstration of "love" or deep lust. In reality, like every single date in the calendar, February 14th is meaningless. However the capitalist system has foisted meaning upon it in order to make money. On some level we all know it, but we’re human and humans love to buy stuff. Plus nothing beats the satisfaction gained from indulging our need to consume and telling ourselves we’re doing it for love.

Secondly, I hate the concept of ‘waiting’ for Mr Right to come to you (not that I even believe in Mr Right) just because that’s what women are ‘supposed’ to do. There’s nothing dignified or romantic about waiting for Mr Right. I think it’s passive, slightly archaic, borderline prudish, counterproductive and boring.

This isn’t limited to Valentine’s Day, it’s a general issue. The irony of women proclaiming their independence yet depending on men to approach them or initiate things. Then those same women wonder where all the men are. Well they’re everywhere but you’re (still) waiting for him to text you first.

"So what , you’re actually going to write a blog advocating that women make the first move on Valentine’s Day?"

‘Yes….No…. Kind of. You’re simplifying”

“But surely if he really wants to see you on Valentine’s Day, he’ll make a move? After all if he wants it he’ll come get it because if you’re on his mind all the time he’ll do all he can to get you”

You know that “if he wants you he’ll come and get you” logic? I despise it because it’s riddled with errors. It’s rooted in the assumption that the way a person behaves always indicates their intentions or feelings. Which is nonsense. For instance, I love cake. Sometimes I'll have cake a few feet away from me and I can't be bothered to get up and eat it. There's nothing wrong with the cake. The cake's perfect. If it was a bit closer, I'd gobble it up. So why don’t I? Because I'm human and lazy.

Ladies we are not cake (obviously). I’m just attempting to illustrate that humans are lazy and prone to self-sabotage, therefore we often don’t pursue the things we want. Even when we want those things desperately. Tangentially, how many women have been chased down by men, given in and suddenly the man’s ‘interest’ dissipates? Remember - action doesn’t mean interest and inaction doesn’t mean disinterest.

I also hate the arrogance behind statements that start with "If you’re on his mind all the time" How can anyone believe they’re so amazing someone sits around perpetually thinking about them? No one matters that much and no one is that interesting.

"Christiana, you’re going to have women approaching men who don’t really want them on Valentine’s Day. The men will oblige because they’re men and she’ll end up being disappointed in the long run”

At that point I gave up because she completely missed my point.

At the end of the day it’s a woman’s right to architect her love life how she pleases. Some women are passive, others active, everyone must do what suits them. However if you don’t want to spend Valentine’s Day alone, don’t shy away from making the first move because you've been taught to 'wait'.

Anyway! Whatever you're doing Monday, I hope you have an amazing time : )



P.S Cameron and his condematory coalition are planning to close my local library. It’d be great if you could sign this petition against its closure and share it within your network. Thanks so much in advance!


  1. Love this! Valentine's day is really just another day to me. I'm a also a (reforming) cynic and I stupidly allowed myself to get caught up in the hype last year because I had a boyfriend. Worst mistake ever. It ended up being a shitty day and much much worse than the Valentine's days when I was single.

    I'd much rather my man show me he cares in his own way and time without bowing to the dictates of society. So on Monday I'll spend the day at uni as usual and finish it off with a dose of University Challege (second quarter finals, so exciting!).

  2. Love this post Christiana!! I have a post currently sitting in my drats entitled "The singlehood depression myth" in which I argue that being single doesn't always suck, or at least doesn't suck for everyone. Some people are genuinely cool with it and even embrace it, others do something about it: They approach men themselves, adopt an active approach to dating, WHICH is what I blogged about a few weeks ago in my post "The different approaches to finding love" I don't know if you read it. Erm by the way I'm not trying to advertise my stuff all over your blog lol, but girl we've been writing about similar stuff lately for sho! I'm sat here nodding (in agreement) at everything you've written! As you know I'm married, we will be celebrating V-day... Not that I'm passionate about it, but I'm not completely against it.
    Great, great post. *2 thumbs up*

  3. Let the church say Amen. Love this post. I am enjoying my singlehood and as Sankofa stated, also prefer that my mate (or anyone else for that matter) show me their love and/or appreciation in their own time and way and not because society has designated a particular day.

  4. 'Secondly, I hate the concept of ‘waiting’ for Mr Right to come to you (not that I even believe in Mr Right) just because that’s what women are ‘supposed’ to do. There’s nothing dignified or romantic about waiting for Mr Right. I think it’s passive, slightly archaic, borderline prudish, counterproductive and boring.'

    Sometimes when some women say that, it doesn't necessarily mean they are passive. It can mean they are indirectly looking and when they notice someone who they like, they will indirectly make it known they are available. That's why some of them change their dress codes or adopt activities or whatever to bring them closer to people of their interests. However, if the man is interested, then he makes the move to show his interest. 'waiting' can mean, i haven't really seen someone suitable for me.

  5. And let us not forget that some men don't like their egos to be bruised. When a female does certain things, which make them feel that they have lost their 'power', they don't like it. maybe if women get comfortable to the fact that they can do certain things without being percieved a certain way, then they will feel comfortable to do certain things, without guilt.

    Ps, some women can very easily do things that can make a man feel less of a man or what society has set up as being a man, it takes a special man to let a woman be her own person and it takes a special woman to let a man be his own person.

  6. Well my whole Valentine will be spent in uni throughout tomorrow! There is no 'Mr Right' cause most of the Mr Right guys have end up with crazy girls/ladies!

    Well Happy Valentine to you all!

    Bidemi xxxxXXXXxxxx!

  7. BLEURGH! I LOVE this post....just realised how faithfully I read your blog from my iPhone but never get the chance to comment. Firstly, I'd like to say how much I love reading your work and kudos to you for stirring up some Twitter controversy sometimes. I find your writing so witty and full of character but you never fail to deliver a point throughout the piece and for that I gave you a Versatile Blogger Award. I know you might count it as blogger politics but please take it as my way (a faithful reader) of saying thanks for writing xx

    But back to this post, I am SO with you! I had a phonecall from a friend who vows to spend Valentines' Day treating herself by sending flowers to her office, indulging in a spa treatment in her lunch break and going out to dinner (on her own) after hours. I find that all too depressing tbh and tally more with your line of reasoning. I feel teased when people ask, and we all know how inherently selfish the human race are, so I always switch the question back to them and suffer the fate of listening through every detail of their perfectly planned day *yawn*. I wont say I'm bitter, just bored.

  8. Another great blog Christiana! Keep 'em comin.

    With love, from one blogger to another x

  9. Another great blog Christiana! Keep 'em comin.

    With love, from one blogger to another x

  10. I totally agree with you on this post! I asked a guy to be my Valentine. My very first Valentine in my 25 years of life. And guess what? I got played. He had his phone off most of the weekend so by Sunday, I said forget and made plans with my girlfriends. Am I sad? Definitely not. What I'm proud of is that I asked him. It just reminded me of how unapologetically bold I am. And I ended up having the best Valentine's Day ever :)

  11. Loved this post.
    I hate how V Day is pushed on everyone, I'm in a relationship and have been for almost 5yrs and I despise V Day.

    I dread it every year.

    This year was the first V Day I have spent content and happy. All the rest have been miserable and full of disappointment.
    All people see in the run up to the day is cards, presents, V Day themed meal deals and films.
    You're expected to be "wined and dined" by your partner, you're expected to be lavished with gifts and attention, sometimes you're expected to retell how your partner got down on a bended knee and proposed yet what if, like me, you don't WANT any of that?

    Every V Day I get this feeling of dread about what he'll get me, what I get him, what his plans are and then to top it off everyone asks me what my plans are as though we're all in competition to outdo each other.
    Whatever he gets me was never enough, even though I don't want anything more than my favourite chocolate and a hug I always felt like I "should have" received more.
    Other people even acted like by him buying me a teddy, CD, bag and taking me to dinner wasn't enough and that it somehow proved he clearly doesn't love me.

    This year I decided "F**k it, I'm doing what WE want to do". He bought me a box of my favourite chocolates and a can of Coke. I bought him a Frijj and a DVD he wanted. We spent the night cuddled in bed watching films and laughing.
    I was the best V Day I've had.
    I even ignored people when they made comments like "At your age you should have gone out" and "Is that all you did? It was Valentines Day".

    It WAS Valentines Day and we did it how WE wanted to.

  12. Loved this post Christiana, however I have to disagree with the notion of human laziness and self sabotage. Replace the cake with a £50.00 note and you'll get up. If you desire the object enough you will chase. You don't have to move a fifty pound note nearer to make you get up and get it. Same way if a guy desires you enough he will chase, laziness or no laziness. Giving the guy a helping hand opens you up for labelling as easy/not a challenge.