Table for One and a Glass of Wine

Valentine's Day has the proclivity to be more awkward than romantic – most of the time. Everyone is running on high expectations. Everyone is high-strung. At the same time, they are squirming with anxiety, uncertain whether they can “deliver” in equal measure.

Written by Radhika Iyengar | Updated: February 14, 2017 5:02 pm
Valentine's Day. Tokyo. Source: Reuters/Yuya Shino Valentine’s Day. Tokyo. Source: Reuters/Yuya Shino

Valentine’s Day, the designated that-time-of-the-year where couples must explicitly exhibit nay, prove, their immeasurable love for each other. If you’ve conjured up a romantic scene in your head – the candle-lit dinner, the clinking of glasses, the playful banter, the wide-eyed romantic glances and the subsequent coy look-aways, the teasing footsie underneath the table – forget about it. You may continue to artfully prepare these beautiful narritives in your head, but here’s some tough love for you: chances are, it’s not going to happen.

Which is probably why remaining single is not a bad thing (I’m rooting for you single ladies). I’ve always found it tough to be single on Valentine’s Day, which also declares the fact that I’ve been single on Valentine’s Day a few times. And I’ve relished it. Here’s why:

Valentine’s Day has the proclivity to be more awkward than romantic – most of the time. Everyone is running on high expectations. Everyone is high-strung. At the same time, they are squirming with anxiety, uncertain whether they can “deliver” in equal measure. Here’s some rational, ugly truth for you: Your date is probably going to be like a time bomb, ticking. One wrong move and kaboom – because deliverance rarely meets expectations. It’s going to be like a walk on the tight-rope; a deer caught in the headlights, a train-wreck in slow-motion—you get the picture.

The best way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, is by not celebrating it. Where there are no expectations, there are no arguments spawned.

But back to being a single woman on Valentine’s Day. Expunge all thoughts of feeling alone and awkward. Of course, society may tell you otherwise – that you’re incomplete, insufficient either physically or intellectually or emotionally, and therefore inept to be in a relationship. Bollywood, the unrivaled marketeer of romance, which has informed our understanding of what it means to be “loved” (dancing in the rain at unearthly hours, the violins, the running into each others arms in the fields) will continue reiterate that love is the be-all-and-end-all of all happy endings. The cards and gifts industry will cash in on Valentine’s Day. So will political parties. Right wing fundamentalists will take over the streets and announce their vehemence for something as ungodly and ‘western’ as Valentine’s Day, to gain an extra few minutes on news channels. They’ll subject unsuspecting couples to a dosage of moral policing.

However, it’s society’s perennial paternalistic agenda to underscore that finding a mate is imperative. If you are single, it is argued that there is bound to be a vacuum in your life. And Valentine’s Day reiterates and highlights that vacuum, leading many to believe that there is perhaps an inherent flaw within them for not being able to succeed in finding a mate. But finding a mate is as delusional a theory as love-at-first-sight. It takes time – a string of sometimes frisky, sometimes hurtful trail-and-error. You rather wait than find a date just for the sake of it.

Valentine’s Day diminishes the value of romance than cherishes it. If you’re single, consider it to be your independence day, because it saves you the bother of playing the game of pretense. Trust me when I say this, Valentine’s Day will not the be all and end all of your story.

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