I do not celebrate Valentine's Day, though not necessarily out of choice.
As a seasoned professional of being single on the day of love letters, flowers and boxes of chocolate, I've had most, if not all, of the feelings associated with this predicament. At this point, I just don't really care anymore.
There are various ways to try and make the day about you, the single guy or gal who decries a "meaningless" holiday that was "probably invented by the greeting card companies anyway." At the forefront of all of this is the celebration of Single Awareness Day, though I can assure all of those who peddle such nonsense that I am quite aware of my marital status.
Thanks for the reminder, though.
I like to take a more respectful approach: leave the holiday to those who can enjoy celebrating it and stop being bothered. Admittedly, it isn't always that easy.
If we all agree that 16 is about the time that people are allowed to start actually dating - since a car basically gives us that freedom - then I have had about a decade of actual Valentine's Days. During that time, I have never, not once, had a girlfriend, date, or any kind of significant other on the day.
I have had relationships, but they never lasted long enough to stretch into February. It's definitely something that comes to mind around this time of year.
I have learned to cope by accepting the absoluteness of one of my least favorite personality traits that pushes me beyond the introvert threshold.
I cannot flirt.
Whatever part of the brain that ability comes from, I do not have it. I don't know what happened to it, where it went, or whether it has ever been there.
What I do know is that it is missing, and I have no clue how to remedy this. During lonely Valentine's Days past I have attempted to do so by researching tactics on the internet, which is easily the worst place to do it.
There are hundreds of articles on tips, tactics, and "ultimate guides" that all say different things. If the tips provided are the same across the board, they are generally so vague that it is absolutely no help at all.
Plus they all sound like they were written by some guy who has this magical gift to say anything and make it work. Meanwhile, for the guys down here at my level, we might as well be reading a foreign language.
When the situation presents itself, I find my brain simply shuts down like a computer that can't locate the correct files to run an application. My subconscious kicks in and throws out every reason possible for why leaving is the best decision, the human version of "Error 404."
Any relationship I have ever had basically fell in my lap. This brought me to the conclusion that in order to ever enjoy a Valentine's Day, I will have to be set-up by friends that can also hold my socially awkward hand until I get the hang of it.
The problem is most of my friends are in a relationship or married, and therefore do not have any single friends or acquaintances. If I remember the metaphor correctly, this puts me between an un-flirtatious rock and a situational hard place.
But no fear, because I have found new information that trumps all of this.
Apparently, since I am a millennial (that was news to me), there is a greater likelihood that I will remain single. According to findings from Pew Research released in 2014, more of my age group will be single when we reach our 40s and 50s than at any time before.
Perpetually single introverts, unite!
The main reason why, though, is that there are less young, single men with jobs now compared to young, single women. According to Pew, the biggest thing women want in a man is a secure job.
The very fact that I am typing this means I do not fit into the rising group of unemployed single men, which means this study may not really apply to me. The trend remains, however, that more of "my kind" are straying from relationships.
So maybe it's not me. Maybe it's just science…or whatever Pew used to come up with this.
Maybe the answer to my Valentine woes is to stop focussing on changing myself and to start focussing on the reality that I could end up just being single. Is it so hard to accept?
I guess I'll try and find out.