Another Valentine’s Day has come and gone, as can be attested by the dead roses on the dining room table and the empty box of chocolates in the trash. My husband had always been good about getting me stuff on Valentine’s Day, although to be honest, it was a much bigger thrill to receive the deliveries when I was working in an office rather than at home. And I would have much more appreciated a dinner or movie out, rather than the usual weeknight evening of him working on his MBA coursework and me watching TV. Although there were new episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal on, so the evening wasn’t a total loss.
I think the only people who are really happy on Valentine’s Day are the women in new relationships with guys who try hard. When everything is fresh and new and there’s a cute guy in your doorway with one perfect rose in his hand and a tiny box wrapped in his pocket, unless there’s something really wrong with you, you’re going to have a magical night. For those of us who’ve been with our partners for a long time in working relationships, Valentine’s Day is just another night, albeit with candy. And it seems like single women have it the worst of all. They’re told every day of the year that they are “less than” without a man, and now here’s a whole industry in a day designed just to confirm that. And don’t get me started on all the single men who… oh, wait, never mind. Single men don’t give a rat’s ass that they’re single on Valentine’s Day. In fact, the TV show “The Middle” had a Valentine’s Day episode where older son Axel and his friends started a break-up service for people who didn’t want the drama of actually dumping their own girlfriend before Valentine’s Day. The premise, of course, was that men (or at least teenage boys) would rather be single than coupled on Valentine’s Day, so they didn’t have to deal with all the dinner/flowers/chocolate garbage. Oh, and not one girl used the service to break up with her boyfriend. Yes, it’s just a TV show, but my point is, no self-respecting man would ever wallow in self-pity about not being in a relationship on Valentine’s Day; no man is taught that he is “less than” without a woman. So why should women buy into that?
Maybe it’s because for centuries, women have been defined by their relationships in ways that men haven’t been since they stopped being referred to as “son of.” We are daughters, girlfriends, wives, mothers, divorcees, widows. Unless we’re single and have fabulous jobs, these titles define us much more than “writer,” “accountant,” “press secretary” or “investment banker.”
The day before Valentine’s Day, I started seeing on Facebook and Twitter posts related to “Galentine’s Day.” The posts were few and few between, but I gathered that the day before Valentine’s Day was supposed to be a day to celebrate female friendship. This is a great idea, and it deserves a lot more than a name and a placement that imply its function is to comfort women who don’t have a man to mark the next day.
Women, by and large, are the sentimental ones of the species, the ones who know and appreciate just how long it took to find just the right card, who love posting old photos on Facebook, who celebrate birthdays and other milestones. Most men are just not into all that.
So I propose a new holiday, one that celebrates friendship in all states – best friends, lifelong friends, office friends, mom friends. It’s not a consolation prize to Valentine’s Day; it deserves its own month. Maybe March; it’s still cold out and there’s nothing going on but college basketball. If you and your friends love college basketball, make a night out of it. There’d be parties for people who want to celebrate with all their friends, and restaurant specials for those who want some alone time with their bestie. Presents are welcome but not necessary. Although how can you resist getting your best friend that scarf you know would look just great with her favorite sweater?
So let’s pick a day in March and call it BFF Day. It’s not too early to start planning what you’d like to do to celebrate. And if anyone says, “Sounds fun but we can’t do it on a Saturday night, because that’s for my boyfriend,” you’re missing the point!