It’s the night before Valentines Day and as I welcome this prolific day of love in, the only thing I’ll be wrapping my lips around is my delicious snickers bar, which has never failed me yet.
You know it’s Valentines Day because pink and red objects are rammed down your throat every time you walk into a building and the entrance to Tesco is suddenly transformed into some kind of botanical garden’s homage to roses. All you want to do is get your £3.50 meal deal and suddenly you’re wondering what love is and will you ever find it.
People also love to remind you it’s Valentines Day by continually asking you what you’re doing for Valentine’s Day. Therefore, you spend a lot of time trying not to throat punch Karen from accounts while you smile and mumble a reply.
Whether you love it or hate it, it’s a stressful time of year. If you’re a hopeless romantic you spend weeks agonising about how you’re going to make this year extra special. If you’re a V-day hater, you spend a lot of time explaining your stance and arguing against this ridiculous ‘day of love’. The amount of times I’ve had to point out that it’s merely a ploy from a consumerist society to make more money, and I will not buy in to this bullshit just because the conglomerates are pushing to hit their sales quotas for the month, is remarkable. Also, fun fact, you can’t really explain your anti Valentines stance without sounding bitter and twisted. It’s science.
The thing is though, whether you’re an aficionado or not, this time of year does, annoyingly, make you think about love. You can’t escape it. Suddenly you’re pondering what love is, have you ever really been in love and will you ever find love again. This is all in the ten minutes it’s taken you to walk to Tesco on your lunch break.
I’ve hated Valentines Day for as long as I can remember, and maybe that comes from a narcissistic belief that I should be loved and adored every single day of the year, but it did get me thinking about love and how we experience it today. Never before have we lived in a time where sex has been so accessible. We can swipe right and have it on our door within the hour. We date quick and fast and marriages end before they ever really began. Divorce is easy and affairs even easier. We’re rushing about, so busy with our lives that we only have time for quick fumbles before going home to empty beds. Friends become ‘fuck buddies’ because neither of you have the time or desire to find a partner and suddenly sex is scheduled into the diary like another meeting in your corporate calendar.
We’ve created a culture where sex is quick, fast, chic and clean. You’re laughed at if you take someone out for dinner, you’re definitely not allowed to cuddle and whatever happens, under no circumstances, are you to have any feelings, whatsoever. If you’re a guy you have to be completely disinterested and make sure you don’t text her back straight away, otherwise she’ll think she has you ‘whipped’. If you’re a woman, you act nonchalant and blasé, one of the ‘cool girls’ who’s emotionally detached and ‘only wants sex’, never being that ‘clingy’ type who wants to stay the night and talk.
We’re so busy not caring about each other while we go from fuck to fuck, that we probably wouldn’t know what love is if it slapped us in the face. Between making sure we leave a big enough gap before texting back and our protestations that ‘cuddling just isn’t my vibe’, we’ve no idea how to like someone, and more importantly, how to act on it.
So never mind Valentines Day, we’re not even ready for that. We need to strip down and go back to the basics. Somewhere along the way we lost the ability to say the words ‘I like you’. When did it become so uncool to have feelings for each other? We’re all so wrapped up in not caring and ‘playing it cool’, that I’m worried we’ve forgotten how to care.
We can’t continue like this. Our generation won’t survive it. That level of apathy for one another cannot exist. At some point, we need to have a strong word with ourselves, admit that we’re being complete cowards and own up to our emotions. To allow ourselves to feel things and to stop treating love like a dirty word. I mean, don’t take the piss and start carrying out gross displays of public affection, (keep that shit firmly behind closed doors), but we definitely need to fall back in love with being in love. We’re part of a Tinder generation that doesn’t have a fucking clue. How do we even begin to celebrate love when we have no idea what it is, and we’re too afraid to even say the word out loud.