The S.A.D.(ness)


Image from thegoodnewsishere.wordpress.com

Image from thegoodnewsishere.wordpress.com

There are some things that need to be said. Why today, you ask? Well if any day lends itself to one of my rants and raves, it’s the “holiday” that is staring us right in the face today. This day is Valentine’s Day, a.k.a. the irrational, overbearing aunt that you rarely see of all corporate holidays (the mother (‘s day) of said holidays, of course, is on the 2nd Sunday of May).

For those of us who find ourselves perpetually stuck in the friend zone, it may be known as Palentine’s Day. Some have it worse than others; your SUPER platonic female friends lean on you hardest around this time so that they aren’t left out of the festivities, so you find yourself assuming some of the gifting responsibilities of a normal boyfriend, only without that pesky sex and/or other affection getting you dirty from all of that platonic love you’re spilling everywhere. But don’t you dare fret, palentines of the world, because before the night is out, you’ll get your opportunity to cop a feel or two of her …………… hair as you’re pulling it out of the way while she’s puking up all of that wine and chocolate that you bought for her. Unless, of course, she bought it for herself in a misguided act of defiance meant to hide the fact that she clearly really DOES resent not having a valentine that year, that is. If you’re good enough friends with her, ask her if she remembers that time from THE ENTIRE PRECEDING MONTH when she told anyone within earshot that she didn’t need someone to buy her Valentine’s Day gifts because her love of herself was good enough. As you duck behind the shoes she throws at you, quietly applaud yourself for seeing this night coming, because she can’t sell you bullshit – you know the prices all too well. After you’re done congratulating yourself for your foresight, kick yourself for still managing to not find an excuse to be anywhere else.

But, for those of us who recognize that this day is really only as significant as you make it, you refer to it as Singles’ Awareness Day, because no day is better at reminding you of this fact.

Let me preface this: I say “Singles’ Awareness Day” without even a hint of bitterness or despair. Being single and recognizing it should, in no way, be seen as an indictment on yourself. If you consistently yearn for someone to be with and even MORE consistently strike out, then yeah, this day might make you a little sore in the rectum, but if you’re a dollar bill and don’t care who knows it, then this is just another day to you. Being single and openly calling it S.A.D. generally connotes that you are bitter and jaded in some way about it, but that really is not always the case.

Make no mistake – there’s a huge disparity between being alone and being lonely. As someone who enjoys having an inordinate amount of time to himself, I long ago embraced and adopted this mantra. But for those that see S.A.D. as an indictment on their own lack of romantic appeal, solace can be taken in the fact that while you may be lonely, you certainly aren’t alone. Singleness is our default setting, and while some are completely comfortable – nay, thrilled – about this, there are always going to be other people who spend every February 14th lamenting the fact that a nice, clean $2 bill is rare.

Hear me out though, couples of the world – I get it. If you’re the female half of a decent heterosexual couple, you love yourself some Valentine’s Day, and why wouldn’t you? There are flowers, chocolates, teddy bears, special lingerie, screaming/weeping in joy, and then whatever gifts you get from him and your resultant behavior too. Now, while most of us single folk could live without the constant reminders and all of your hysteria, you need not be ashamed of your fortunate lot in life. You’ve found what the majority of us are looking for, though many people would be reticent to admit as much. Clearly, you have been doing something right for long enough that not only will someone tolerate you, but they choose to spend time with you in an intimate manner. If this preference for your presence over that of others compels someone to shower you with gifts and other affection, then by all means, allow yourself some time to revel in that feeling.

But even those happy, mutually-beneficial couples can not possibly deny that this day only matters for you and the countless sheeple that delude themselves into thinking this day matters to non-couples. The pervasive sentiment of synthetic “romance” that can enrapture some people is truly impressive. You know how I know this? Well besides the fact that my eyes work, I used to be one of those people.

General rule of thumb, kidlets: if you’re struggling to get any romantic momentum going, Valentine’s Day is decidedly NOT the day to get it started. If a girl sees you as just a friend, then making any sort of unprovoked romantic overtures towards her on that day is a great way to get her to admit as much.

As a self-proclaimed romantic soul, I have, on at least three separate occasions since I started college, tried to spontaneously generate a courtship with this girl or that on or around Feb. 14th. Let’s just say that I was incredibly aware of my singleness by the end of these endeavors. How many strikes is one allowed in baseball until he is out, again?

I’ve since realized the error of those ways. Even if there are mutual romantic feelings between you and someone, if you haven’t yet taken the step towards a relationship – i.e. you’re not exclusively dating or haven’t been physically involved yet – then a misstep on S.A.D. can become a litmus test for how much someone REALLY likes you. It’s an immense pressure cooker, and it can – for better or worse – expedite whatever process that lies ahead. Most of the time, as I’ve learned countless times, you don’t want to do that. Too much early pressure means that it generally isn’t going to work out. As much as it would pain old me to admit, if you’re crushing on someone and they have no idea about it, it might be best to leave S.A.D. alone. I know it sounds sweet and romantic to surprise her with chocolates and flowers, but the whips and assless chaps were a little much. Also, people only call them “kissing cousins” as a joke. Now you owe your aunt an apology.

S.A.D. in and of itself isn’t an inherently good or bad day, folks; much like New Year’s Eve, it’s only going to be as good or bad a day as you allow it to be. Take it easy, and it’s just another day. Take it too seriously, though, and the gravity of this “holiday” will crush you. You’ve been warned.

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