Valentine’s Day isn’t worst for singles, but it is for ‘half-couples’
The awkwardness is unbearable
by Serena Smith
If you’re in a relationship, Valentine’s Day is your time to shine: dates, presents, roses – all the trappings of a disgustingly sweet relationship. That’s obvious. If you’re single, admittedly, it’s not the best: but once you’ve rounded up all your single friends, found a cute bar to go to and bought tickets for an appropriately themed ‘Single Ladies’ night, you’ll likely have an amazing night out and be so drunk by 3am you won’t even remember how to spell ‘Valentine’. Think of the potential Instagram material too: you and your girlies having cocktails, captioned with something cringeworthy like ‘the only Valentine’s dates I’ll ever need’, coupled with a healthy dose of heart emojis.
No, the real losers on Valentine’s Day are those stuck in relationship limbo.
You text, you tag each other in memes, you sleep together: you’re basically in a relationship, except for some reason our generation is so damn afraid of going ‘official’. He’ll casually ask if you’ve got with anyone else recently, tacking a ‘haha I don’t really care anyway haha’ on the end, sweating with every finger crossed as he wishes to hear a comforting ‘no, just you’. You’ll stalk the girl whose profile picture he just liked, wondering if there’s anything between them, and also wondering if you’re even justified in unabashedly romping through some girl’s ‘Marbella 2015’ album.
Now, apart from the occasional meltdown over your confusing ‘relationship’, this arrangement is just fine for 364 days of the year. But the awkwardness and uncertainty of your situation will reach fever pitch on February 14th.
The tension will start to mount weeks beforehand, when you start seeing swathes of red everywhere: red Valentine’s cards; fat bouquets of red roses; stuffed toys clutching stuffed red hearts. Now, you’d quite like a cute little plush elephant which says ‘I love you’ when you squeeze it, so now the pressure’s on. Can you manage to cuff your sort-of other half down within two weeks? Can you manage to ‘go official’ before the big day? Perhaps even on the big day – that would make a good anniversary date. That would be really cute.
But of course not. Who are you kidding? You plough on, skirting around the big looming threat of Valentine’s Day and the idea of being in a relationship, god forbid. But it will become too much. One of you will tag the other in a Valentine’s-related meme – the elephant in the room has been acknowledged. Valentine’s Day is coming up.
You’ll then start to worry: wait, what if they’re expecting something from me? What if they get you roses and you get them nothing? Oh god – fuck the toy elephant – what if they get you something really expensive and you get them nothing?
You cut short the fantasies of receiving a Pandora ring because you realise that really won’t happen, as much as you’d like it to, but still – do you get them chocolates? Wine? That seems safe. You might buy chocolates and just keep them. You can always eat them if they don’t get you anything.
Valentine’s Day Eve comes, and you still have no plans for tomorrow, because you’ve rejected all your friends just hoping your half-partner will ask you out. You wait and wait and wait, but no such invitation comes. You sit on your bed, having shaved every inch of your body and doused yourself in lotion and perfume, and eat the chocolates tearfully. Allow yourself a bit of a cry, it’s okay, it’s Valentine’s Day.
Then the big day comes – can they redeem themselves? You might wake up to a passive-aggressive ‘Happy Valentine’s Day lol’ text, as if it’s your fault you’re only ‘together’ and not ‘together together’, and as a result you’re both miserable and alone. Reply a healthy two hours later (something blasé like ‘yeah you too haha’) and lie in bed, wondering how it is possible to feel so alone when you’re not even really single. Is it too late to ask to go out with your friends? Probably.
Around five o’ clock you’ll get a call from them, inviting you over. Obedient little lap dog you are, you’ll run to them, thinking this is the big moment. You’re teetering into ‘official’ territory. You’re having a Valentine’s date!
You’ll have ten minutes of disappointing missionary.
And then you’ll walk home, walking past all the happy couples and merry singles, no chocolates, no wine, no toy elephant. Get into bed and cry because you’re so horribly, horribly alone, and nothing screams alone like being half of an ‘unofficial couple’ on Valentine’s Day.