It’s a lot of pressure, Feb. 14.
If you’re in a relationship, there’s pressure to make a reservation at the right place, to say the right thing, to give a gift that says the right thing — or to both be on the same page about ignoring the holiday altogether.
If you’re single, there’s pressure to be emphatically happy about that fact, especially if you’re a woman.
And if you write about being single — and about love and relationships — there’s pressure to take a strong stance on this day. To be uplifting and say: Be your own valentine! (Oh wait, I said that last year.) Or to hate on Valentine’s Day as a manufactured holiday that’s full of commercialization but nothing else. (We’ve all been reading and saying that for decades.) Or to highlight yet another dating challenge someone has undertaken to find love after nearly giving up hope. (But we published one of those last week.)
I have no idea what it’s going to take for millennials to stop swiping and settle down, but apparently the majority of us are lonely. But if that emotion describes you today — or any other day of the year — know that you are not alone in that.
I have no answers about what kind of relationship — casual, monogamous, open, polyamorous, asexual or none at all — is most durable or will make you happiest. But I do know that whatever your “ideal” relationship is, there are three or four or five niche dating apps trying to help you find it.
I have no idea if that co-worker / older man / noncommittal woman you’re sleeping with will break your heart or occupy its center. But please keep telling me all about it — I live vicariously through your love lives when mine is lackluster!
I have no idea if that $15,000 to $25,000 you’re spending to freeze your eggs is a brilliant choice for your future or a gigantic waste of money. But I understand why you’re doing it.
I have no idea if handing your dating apps over to a trusted married friend will work out for you. But if you go this route, I hope it at least gives you something to laugh about.
I have no idea if re-dating that guy from seven years ago will be more magical the second time around. But I do know that, in my case, it was worth a shot. (Hi, Sasha!)
I have nothing profound to say about Valentine’s Day. I have no answers about what will make you happiest, how to find love and how to keep it around.
But I do think that the simplicity of the Valentine’s Day formula — flowers (or candy) + sweet card (or Snapchat) + candlelit dinner (or otherwise romantic outing) — oversimplifies love. The fact that there’s a formula to this day implies that there’s a formula to finding and nurturing love. And there just isn’t.
Sure, there are best practices, which I will continue to explore on Solo-ish. But there’s no Hallmark aisle in life, no florist offering the perfect arrangement for happiness. Finding the perfect card, the perfect bouquet, is the easy part.
Finding the human — or humans! — is so much harder. And for that, I have plenty of role models, questions, stories and theories. But no answers.