“To return to love, to get the love we always wanted but never had, to have the love we want but are not prepared to give, we seek romantic relationships. We believe these relationships, more than any other, will rescue and redeem us. True love does have the power to redeem but only if we are ready for redemption. Love saves us only if we want to be saved.”——bell hooks
For almost as long as Valentine’s Day has been an insufferably sappy day celebrating romantic love, it’s also been a day for telling everyone else exactly how much you don’t love them—with a Vinegar Valentine sent anonymously via snail mail.
“You could send them to your neighbors, friends, or enemies. You could send them to your schoolteacher, your boss, or people whose advances you wanted to dismiss. You could send them to people you thought were too ugly or fat, who drank too much, or people acting above their station. There was a card for pretty much every social ailment.”
See more Vinegar Valentines on Collectors Weekly.
So there you have it: Valentine’s Day has always been horrible!
“There is no retreating from the hookup culture to an earlier age, when a young man showed up at the front door with a box of chocolates for his sweetheart, and her father eyed him warily. Even the women most frustrated by the hookup culture don’t really want that. The hookup culture is too bound up with everything that’s fabulous about being a young woman in 2012—the freedom, the confidence, the knowledge that you can always depend on yourself. The only option is what Hannah’s friends always tell her—stop doing what feels awful, and figure out what doesn’t.”—All I wanna do is a zoom zoom.
This is an excerpt from a piece I wrote on Jezebel a few months ago in response to Tracy MacMillan’s sexist manifesto blaming ladies for their non-hitched status.
1. You are focused on your career.
And you are not going to apologize for it. Some people call this being a “bitch,” because you are a lady and you have a job that you might be more focused on than smiling pretty and making sure you don’t intimidate Mr. Right. Most of us just call this being alive in 2012 (you know the time the economy tanked and we had to work to eat).
2. You have standards.
You know you could have settled for Mr. “I just don’t like your friends,” or, “I just don’t think women have ever done anything important,” or, “so, about that Ron Paul,” or even, “I only cheated on you once,” but you realized you could do better. And frankly, being alone is just more manageable and makes you happier than being in a relationship that’s the pits. So you didn’t marry him, even though you probably could have.
3. You can’t afford it.
According to the Brookings Institute marriage rates are down for people that don’t have money. It’s not even that women don’t want to get married, as much as men don’t feel ready to propose until they have the cash to support a family. There is no special Spanx you can buy that will bolster a man’s self-esteem to convince him that you don’t care he is broke. Many people are still tied to the idea that men have to out earn women, even though you have a job (remember that you are mega-focused on) and could probably support the both of you. Plus, the average cost of a wedding is 27, 000 dollars. Yes, you read that right.
So completely overwhelmed and grateful for all the coverage Occupy Valentine’s day received. It appears many thousands of people are frustrated by the narrow ways we are expected to give and receive love. Thanks to everyone that participated and please keep sending in your stories. The pressure to live and love a certain way, while most poignant on Valentine’s Day, impacts our lives all year round.
My boyfriend and I celebrate being together on Feb 16th, because this is a date that’s significant to us, not an arbitrary day that originates from the callendar of a religion neither of us follows, and that has become associated with consumerism in all its tacky forms.
Happy Not-Valentines day everyone! I loved reading all the interesting takes on Occupying Valentines Day, and I wish everyone love and to be loved every Valentines and Not-Valentines Day.
The best gift for Vday (well a day after) is to receive photos of children using a library we help to build in a community I love. To know the projects you’ve done with passion and great effort have been more successful that you thought. That is what real love is, love for what you do.
Who needs a boyfriend when you have great friends that are boys?
I’ve been casually dating a guy for several months now. Didn’t hear a peep from him on Valentines Day. Didn’t expect to. But I was pleasantly surprised to have a lovely Valentines Day with two of my best guy friends. One of them had scored free tickets to an awesome modern dance show. So the three of us had dinner, drinks and a fun night out. I don’t need a boyfriend when I get so much love and fun from my friends (that are boys).
So once again St Valentine’s day is upon us. A day to tell your loved one how much you care. A day to express the joy your relationship brings. A day to gaze lovingly into each others eyes and whisper sweet nothings in each others ears (OK that calls for a fair bit of anatomical flexibility, but work with me here). In short, a day of lurve.
Or for some, a day to get out the leather shorts and play spanky-spanky. Whatever floats your boat.
But the question here is not whether we celebrate with flowers or fetish. The question is… what on earth are we celebrating?
Among other contrarian-type things (St. V’s has always been a more family-oriented holiday, in my house, with an emphasis on creativity over consumerism), I like to put out a list or host a showing of a decidedly not traditional Valentine’s Day movie.
I look for movies that explore the meaning of love, the suffering that accompanies real love, or the numerous (not always romantic!) forms that deep love can take.
I got really lucky, this time, and found what I think is a real gem. Thoughtful, absurd, and filmed in just three days on the grand budget of $2000 —
Travis Betz’s flawed but ultimately refreshing and intelligent film Lo might just be the perfect cure for what ails you (if what ails you is the holiday’s consumerism, coupletalism, stereotyping, and all other unpleasant -isms).
This is the kind of picture Hollywood simply doesn’t deliver, especially when it comes to the message (a message presented with a respectful ambiguity, too— not with the sledgehammer that drives most inane romcom plots).
It’s part drama, part dark comedy— a little too padded, but more than creative and sincere enough to make up for any amateurish flaws. And it’s going to stay a part of my Valentine’s Day tradition for years to come.
My boyfriend is probably at home snuggling with his wife, puppy, and two cats right now…and I’ll join them in the cuddles this weekend, but right now I happen to be too busy baking a bunch of heart-shaped brownies and drinking a bunch of delicious wine!
Valentine’s Day hits today, on a Tuesday, so, meet-ups and love were and are given on the weekends.
I hung out with my partner V last weekend. We made pancakes and laid around napping. It was truly beautiful, and required no valentine’s day objects: no chocolate, no roses, no stuffed animals, nothing out of the usual, and yet it was one of the most beautiful weekends I’ve ever had.
I had class today with my partner’s other partner. She and I share V, and we’re practically sisters. I truly love her.
As for this weekend, I plan on seeing my partner C. We’re a small happy mushy (emotionally speaking) poly community, and no one bought gifts for each other. The gift of our various affections and moments together and alone are far better than anything money could buy.
My fraternity decided that since the ladies in sororities on our campus who were not going to be celebrating Valentine’s day with boyfriends were all having dinners together, we got together and made cheesy cards and signed them all, then went out and bought roses for every house. We’re delivering them all in small groups to each sorority, just to let them know that even without relationships their relationships with us as friends means a lot to us!
Today I am celebrating the 99% of myself that is content being my own Valentine! And let me tell you -my valentine is sweet, sexy, and smart! This is not the day to focus on the 1% !! OccupyValentinesDay!
I’ve had my share of mopey Valentine’s, bemoaning a bad relationship or wishing I had a good one. This year I’ll celebrate with a homemade dinner with my boyfriend (he’s cooking, yay). But I spent the first part of the day volunteering in an office that helps people apply for temporary restraining orders. It’s always a sobering reality check to get out of my academic bubble and work with people facing awful situations, and especially today, it kind of puts things in perspective. It’s valid to feel lonely when you’re single or in an unhappy relationship, and to be lovesick and mushy too. But it’s also good to remember the wider world and deeper issues so many are facing. So spare a thought, and, if you can, a few dollars, for the many people whose priority today is keeping themselves (and often their children) safe from someone who has hurt or threatened them.
I met probably the most influential man in my life 13 years ago today. I was and still am completely crazy about him. Together we were WONDERFUL, together we were MISERABLE, for 10 years, off and on. I decided I couldn’t wait for him anymore after that.
I married someone else recently, who I care very much about. He is wonderful, was willing to give me a child and capable of giving me stability and support - things the other never was willing/capable of doing.
Still Valentine’s Day will always hold the other’s person in context.
Throughout our entire lives, we’re asked to show off, compete, and do for others so long as we can something in return. Our daily interactions are a commodity, the things we do an investment on some personal gain. Valentine’s Day promotions encourage those of us with no root to cling onto hopes unfounded. What might have once been an innocent day to demonstrate and celebrate appreciate each other’s existence has turned into a billion dollar industry feeding off the insecurities and cultural neurosis of the social collective.
This is far too personal, but I did it anyways. Thanks, Samhita. (special shouts to Jenn Pozner for putting me onto this project).
I woke up unnecessarily warm and fuzzy this morning. Then I thought about the wonderful weekend I had with great friends and soon to be great friends. Then I realized it was V-day, and thought, “What a great V-day”, in a long time. No, I didn’t get a boyfriend, I just understood and appreciated the love that surrounds me <3
This tumblr made me think about recent quotes from all across the web that are reflections on love and relationships — in all their complexity and forms. To me, at its base level, love is simply about having each other’s back. Others have opined even further on self-love, love and relationships, love and career, and love and sisterhood. So here goes some notable quotables: