An open letter to the year’s most bullshit ‘holiday’ and how’s it’s been personally victimising me for my entire life.
We need to have a chat. It’s not me, it’s you etc, et al. I can feel you bracing, and while I’m sure it’s because you’re gearing up for another independent single gal getting her Beyonce on because she ‘don’t need a man’ *snaps fingers* and she sure as shit don’t need you to tell her otherwise *mmm-hmmm* but the truth – well, the truth is a little less #girlboss and a little more ‘toddler at a birthday party chucking a temper tantrum because it’s not all about them’.
(Oh boy, is this going to be a proud moment for my personal brand.)
You see the above analogy about the toddler isn’t too far from the truth. That’s right, V-Day, today is my birthday. For the past 25 years (and *ahem*…uh, a few more, I guess if I’m being really super honest, but guys c’mon. The exact number is completely irrelevant to the point of my story slash rant…), you roll into town like clockwork, with your ridiculous heart shaped EVERYTHING, stealing my thunder and making February 14 about love and couples and bold declarations of just how HAPPY I AM WITH *insert rando dude you’ve only been Facebook official with for 3 months or so here*. I mean, everyone’s too busy changing their profile frame to the BS one with glitter animated hearts, they don’t even see the little notification telling them to wish me a Happy Birthday, dammit.
Do you have any idea how you’re making me look? I get one – ONE – day a year where I get to both literally and figuratively put on my crown and demand the world showers me with attention and presents, and all you wanna do is rain all over that parade. (Side note: I’d actually really like a birthday parade one of these years…)
For starters, you made the day a dual-celebration thingo, where one is required to lavish attention and gifts on their beloved. It’s a fecking SHARED holiday. And look, that’s sweet and all, but I’m not having any of that on my birthday. This day is mine, it’s all about me, and sure, the idea of celebrating your partner is a lovely notion, but let’s pick one of the other three hundred and sixty four (heck, sixty five in a leap year) days to make it a ‘thing’. Having to get on my sassy pants and explain why no, I’ll not be getting you a gift, and yes, we’ll be making Feb 14th all about me thank-you-very-much probably isn’t the best introduction into Relationship Life With Em, and I’m just thankful that any guy I’ve ever dated has thought I was being cute and joking and glad that they’re off the hook for the love heart crap, that they haven’t actually figured out that I’m legit for real and I’ll stab you with my fork if there’s anything other than a happy birthday card in that envelope.
Also, let’s talk about the gift sitch. I can count on one hand the number of bouquets of flowers I have received on my birthday? Why? Well it’s NOT because my friends are jerks, it’s because you are. The fact that every boyfriend in the known universe is contractually obligated to pick up a bunch for the lady in his life means that florists – and even the local Woolies – can charge you the GDP of a small European Nation for a basic bunch, and most of my mates are on the last day of the month before their pay hits anyway. Oh, and could you please ask the President of Valentine’s Day Colour Schemes to relax the rules a little, because that much red and pink makes me vomit a little. Is a fecking bunch of white peonies just a little too much to ask for?
To conceed, once – mostly to avoid the yearly guilt I pile on oh so very thick – my Mum did relent, and she sent birthday flowers to my office. I received the email and popped down to reception collect my bunch from the collection of blooms that rivalled any great florist and then had to scurry back to my desk screeching ‘THEY’RE BIRTHDAY FLOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY FROM MY MUM NOT A BOY THERE’S NO SECRET LOVER PLEASE STOP MAKING WOOOO NOISES AT ME’. Which, if we’re being really honest, is such a great moment for one’s self esteem, and doesn’t make you look crazy at all.
And while we’re getting riled up *pours some more wine into her glass, because what’s better than a rant? A white girl wine fuelled rant!*, let’s take a moment to acknowledge that dinner on February 14th is worse than that time Ed Sheeran inexplicably did a rando cameo on Game of Thrones.
Firstly – most restaurants do the bullshit ‘Lovers Menu!’ complete with a glass of champagne (read: sparkling wine they got discounted by the case from Vino Mofo) and a matching three course meal that concludes with a shared chocolate mousse in the shape of a heart. A LOVE HEART. (We all agree that anyone who orders the special themed menu probably only met on Tinder 3 weeks ago, yeah?) Dinner on my birthday usually ends with me and my sister getting drunk and playing multiple rounds of ‘Guess How Long That Couple Has Been Together!’ complete with a bonus lightning round, where we try and guess if they met online or in RL. I generally go out with my family – well mostly because why wouldn’t I, they’re rad – and also because if me and my lady friends hit the town for what would, on 364-other-days-of-the-year just be a group of lasses celebrating – on Valentine’s Day you look like those single gals who are trying to assert their couldnt-care-less-ness by Beyonce-ing it up and being all independent. Huge thanks to ‘The Jennifers’ (Biel and Garner) for bringing that visual to life in the worst, let’s destroy 50 years of woman power, way possible in the aptly named movie, Valentine’s Day. (Don’t see it, it’s 2.5 hours of your life you can’t get back, trust me, I tried.)
The great news? I think I’m finally out of steam and ready to find some birthday mojitos with a side of cake. So, in closing, ladies and gents of the jury, Valentine’s Day = Bullshit, Em’s Birthday = Valid and absolutely acceptable holiday to celebrate on February 14th and I rest my case.
Happy Em’s Birthday 2018, lovers.
*Please DM me for address details if you’d like to redirect any unwanted flowers in my direction.