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Barf. Just thinking about that pink and red holiday gets my gag reflex going…in a bad way.

Around this time of year, some sex columnists will remind you to do sexy things with/for your partner. Sex stores stock their shelves in anticipation, spruce up their websites with gift baskets and bundled discounts. Wear your panties in your hair, Cosmo screams.

Bah humbug. Yes, I want to be romanced, swept off my feet, fed chocolates and real champagne on a bed of red rose petals, but I’m no hopeless romantic. Let’s be realistic here: Valentine’s Day was not created to celebrate love. It was created to shame singles, the miserably single, the unloved, the not-loved-enough, those with partners who “don’t believe in the holiday because it’s commercial,” and those with partners who “don’t celebrate pagan holidays.”

True, there are those singles out there who have glitter in their hearts, hearts that swell with joy when they see a couple enjoying a romantic dinner on V-Day. These are generally happy people who experience little to no schadenfreude, are honest when they say they like being single, and don’t feel like the only one not invited to the party. You are a much better person than I could ever be.

Valentine’s Day makes me feel like shit even when I’m already feeling good about my love lifeHell, even when I’ve been in relationships I’ve been jealous of other couples. He bought her a bouquet of a dozen roses dyed baby blue with glitter vomited all over and wrapped with matching gobs of tissue paper to such a monstrous size that she can’t fit through most residential doorways?! Where’s my path of truffles to a piping hot bubble bath, the diamond necklace I never knew I wanted, the childhood pony that I had to give up more than 10 years ago that my lover has magically procured for me to own and cherish yet again?

As proud as I am to be a feminist, my resolve crumbles a bit when it comes to Valentine’s Day. I like to say that it’s because I’m a product of the culture against which I rebel from time to time, but really I just want to be treated like a princess too. I’m sure I’m not alone on this, right fellas?

Now where’s my Prince Charming in his shining armor and his white horse and that fat wallet stuffed with Benjamins? Excuse me, I was talking about feminism. Right.

To a certain extent, Valentine’s sales rely on the notion that women feel validated and valued through tangible proof of a lover’s affection (conventionally a man). Without a man to buy her nice things, a straight woman is either a spinster or there’s something wrong with her. Single men are bachelors or studs or The Man. That’s not to say that men can’t feel lonely or unloved either, but c’mon, we all know Valentine’s Day is about buying her nice things.

The main problem with Valentine’s Day (besides the pressure to buy, spend, buy) is that it’s only one day a year and the general public agrees to observe it on that specific day. Yes, we should celebrate love everyday we have it, but do we? Admit it: it’s rather awkward to have this one calendar date a year designed for The Celebration of Love. Too bad if you’re single/don’t have a primary partner, your romance is on the rocks, or your relationship is too young to be that serious. Now go cry into your pint of Ben & Jerry’s while you watch Lifetime movies for women. And you don’t even have cable.

Basically, what I’m saying in this rambly, way-too-much-first-person rant is that Valentine’s Day makes me feel like shit even when I’m already feeling good about my love life. Even when I’m having lots of (safer) sex with different partners, when I’m in a loving and committed relationship, when I’m happily single, when I’m not-so happily single but still content with my life, February 14 manages to put things into perspective. A perspective freakishly similar to a Cathy comic strip. AAACK.

Image from Sister72.

The Sexual Manifesto is Christine Borden’s weekly column on sex in the city, sex and culture, and, well, sex. Got a tip for Christine (and it’s not in your pants)? Email her at christine@sfappeal.com.

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  • Leanna Yip

    I am one of the least romantic people you’ll ever find. So Valentine’s Day for me means the day before all the candy goes on sale. 😉

  • jackblackthorne

    Don’t feel bad, babydoll – I’m taking you out!

  • raqcoon

    All those flowers kick off the allergy season. Thanks.