If there’s one thing I hate, it’s Valentine’s Day.
Not because I’m bitter. Not because I’m secretly a twenty-two-year-old single girl obsessed with Sex and the City. Not even because it’s a holiday co-opted by greeting card companies and chocolatiers, used to manipulate happy people into feeling guilty enough to spend money on things nobody needs, and for people to feel insecure enough to pressure their significant others into buying them things nobody needs, so they can create vignettes for Instagram to show the world their husbands love them the most.
It’s not even because everything in the store is suddenly and irretrievably pink and covered in glitter—pink, the patron color of all Valentine’s Day crap, glitter the patron craft supply of the devil. The entirety of the CVS looks like it’s been doused in Pepto Bismol and blood spatter. I go in to buy a toothbrush and spend the next three days picking tiny pieces of sparkle off my clothes, my car, my skin and my dogs. And yet even that is not the source of my Valentine’s Day angst.
The reason I hate Valentine’s Day is because I’m divorced and I’m a divorce lawyer. I’ve seen just how wrong love can go. And on this particular holiday, knowing how the sausage is made is much the same as being sober at a nightclub. Without the rosy haze of a buzz, you are up close and personal with the reality of the sweaty people, the sticky floor, the smelly DJ and the watered-down drinks, seeing them all for what they really are: gross. Such is Valentine’s Day.
Don’t get me wrong: love is great. Relationships are great. Marriage is great–it keeps me in a job. But Valentine’s Day is a rosy haze covering up a lot of gross.
So, I thought I’d better make a few suggestions for the recently dumped, new divorcees and anyone else who has seen behind the curtain where the great and powerful Valentine Oz is just a greedy Hallmark executive, to assist you in moving on from the old, tired traditions of this super-pink holiday into a new phase I like to call “the Kickass version of Valentine’s Day.”
Here are the components. If you’re as disillusioned with those crappy, chalky conversation hearts as I am (who decided this was a worthwhile candy item??) it might just cheer you right up.
What to Do:
- Pinch anyone who wears the colors pink or red. A satisfying twist on the St. Patrick’s Day tradition, this lets you get your frustrations out on people who deserve it, people who celebrate holidays far too enthusiastically.
- Refuse pity Valentines. Say it’s on ethical grounds, because you believe greeting cards are a flagrant waste of paper. On top of how they offended you, the giver will now also feel bad for murdering trees.
- Give statistics instead of valentines. When people brag about their Valentine’s Day plans, remind them that there is an 89% chance that their current relationship is going to end, so it’s good that they’re enjoying it while they can.
- Prank the ones you love. Send your significant other a text message like “I haven’t been fully honest with you,” and then don’t say anything else for an hour. Tell them later you were just kidding. Call me if needed.
- Get a prenup. It’s something you should do anyway, and you can still do it even if you’re already married. Plus, the irony is just brilliant—your divorce attorney will be very impressed with you.
- Be progressive. When people wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day, ask you about your plans or brag about theirs, look amused and say, “You still do Valentine’s Day? I thought only our parents’ generation did that.” This works best if you’re under forty and cool (I’m neither).
- Eat your heart out. The original Valentine’s Day—as in, the one that St. Valentine actually had anything to do with—was a feast day. In all seriousness, cook, eat, be merry, and share good food with good people. It’s a failsafe way to suck-proof your Valentine’s Day.
So, that’s it. I’m not even going to pretend to care if you have romantical plans with your significant other this Valentine’s Day, because I don’t.
James J. Sexton