Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Joseph Wright. Make sure you also check out the cool infographic below!
In case you aren’t aware, a large contingent of your cohorts across the country (I among them) did not celebrate Valentine’s Day with all the happy couples crowding candle-lit restaurants and moonlit walks. Instead we were celebrating our unabashed single status in commemoration of Singles Awareness Day.
Rise of the Single Hordes
In 2010, there were just fewer than 100 million single adults in the US. Over 27 percent of all households are people who live alone, up from 17 percent in 1970. That’s a massive demographic shift over a relatively short period of time, and it signals a transformation of culture driven by the feminism of the ‘60s and ‘70s. A growing number of people don’t see long-term relationships as their ideal anymore, or at least they feel less anxiety about being single in general.
Singles Awareness Day is in the spirit of other acknowledgments of the unmarried and single, such as “National Singles Week,” started in the 1980s. That commemoration, however, is celebrated in September, safely away from the happy couples making doe eyes at one another in February. Most people celebrating their singleness were elbowing over couples at candle-lit restaurants and clubs.
This raises the question of how to appropriately celebrate a holiday that is half snarky nose-thumbing at the commercialism and anxiety surrounding Valentine’s traditions. And there are definitely some does and don’ts surrounding this alternative holiday.
Things You should Do
I’m all for a heady celebration with friends, as long as it doesn’t turn into a “Lonely Hearts Club” on Singles Awareness Day. Here are some ideas that occurred to me as I spun around in some singles-centered festivities over the past week:
- A night out: Dinner and drinks is always a good battle for those who want to celebrate being unattached, especially if you’re experiencing some residual loneliness or social anxiety about not having a Valentine.
- A night in: My own personal preference is snarfing down brownies and watching kung fu flicks. But you’re equally justified to down a few margaritas with friends and mercilessly mocking unrealistic romantic comedies. To each his own, I guess.
- Ironic anti-Valentine’s: No matter what generalized anxiety everyone has about being single, the absolute best part about Valentine’s has always been the cute, funny and often wildly inappropriate cards we send to one another. I recommend cruising Etsy for some anti-Valentine’s.
Things You Shouldn’t Do
There’s definitely a wrong way to celebrate this Valentine’s Day alternative, and usually it involves self-defeating behavior like the following:
- Burn your ex’s stuff: Really? I know this is supposed to be cathartic and satisfying. It certainly does make for a dramatic statement. But burning some old mix CDs or a couple’s photo of the two of you in Vegas that one time really is immature. Do something fun instead.
- Contact your ex: Do not call, text or otherwise “bump into” your ex on Valentine’s Day; that’s a spiral of embarrassment and self-loathing that too many people engage in for Valentine’s, usually after their better judgment has succumbed to too many appletinis.
Whatever you end up doing on February 14th next year, single or paired, maybe the very existence of Singles Awareness Day should give us some pause about how we think about ourselves as individuals within our relationships. Maybe a better appreciation of our independent value (and that of our partners) will help us have better relationships and more happiness overall.
Author bio: Despite his sad-sack appearance, Joseph Wright is most happily single, and was savoring the entire cookie basket he gets for Valentine’s from his employer, Mrs. Fields, all by himself. On February 15, he was valiantly celebrating Singles Awareness Day by watching movies containing lots and lots of explosions.
Image credit: SweetCrisis
Here’s a cool Singles Awareness Day infographic: