This time of year, anti-Valentine's Day sentiment is particularly strong among the single set, but guys? Valentine's Day can actually be pretty darn annoying for couples too. Living through Valentine's Day as a grown-up — regardless of whether or not you're single or coupled up — makes you want to go back to a simpler time when all you had to do was eat candy, give out little store-bought cards featuring our favorite pop culture characters, and not have to learn anything for about an hour in grade school. But now that we're way past puberty, we've come to know the true meaning of Valentine's Day, and if you're not currently attached, it can be a dreaded day you wish you could skip every year.
I have lived through most Valentine's Days as a single lady, and I stopped hating it once I stopped treating it like a special day. Then I met my current boyfriend, and I finally got to celebrate February the way society told me I should — with another human being I was madly in love with. However, as we planned and celebrated our first Valentine's Day together last year, I came to realize that even when you're in a relationship, Valentine's Day is still a struggle. I definitely enjoyed the time my boyfriend and I shared together, but the perception that it's all champagne kisses, flowers, and upscale meals for lovebirds needs to be shot down. Single ladies and dudes, if you're bummed about going through that one day in February sans sweetheart, just be happy you won't have to deal with these problems that couples have with Valentine's Day. See? We can all be miserable together.
1. Gift-giving, again?
The holidays were what, two months ago? And here we are frantically looking for gifts all over again. It's a polite standard to get a little something for our sweethearts, but that should never be a make-or-break. Isn't being in each other's presence enough?
2. Retailers force-feed special Valentine's Day-themed products down our throats
If we do decide to buy things, then every Valentine's Day cliche will be there winking at us right in the face. Sometimes, we just want to bring home normal circular chocolate chip cookies, not heart-shaped cookies with red and pink M&Ms. Or maybe the local florist is only selling red roses, when you actually prefer sunflowers. Uh, no. My love and I aren't into those ridiculous colors, flavors, or flora. We'll just have our usual, please.
3. All the nice restaurants are crowded and fully booked
And so we'll probably end up sharing a gourmet and leisurely meal at the closest fast food joint. That's fine for anyone who's up for anything, but for anyone who's so insistent on making Valentine's Day a special occasion, then boo. While some couples are practical and plan way ahead, there are others who are either indecisive or spontaneous and therefore, totally screwed come Valentine's Day. Even for the practical couples who make their reservations and stick to them, staying at a crowded restaurant or stepping outside of your comfort zone to try a new one on a busy day can be daunting. And if you're a regular and the place is usually dead the other 364 days of the year, that's when you'll go into hipster mode and ask the other diners "Where were you last weekend?"
4. All the nice hotels make us pay crazy rates
One year my boyfriend and I booked a two-night stay at a room in Wine Country the weekend before Valentine's Day to avoid the holiday rates, and enjoyed a home-cooked meal at his place on what was actually Valentine's Day. I'm sure a two-night stay on Valentine's Day weekend would've been at least 1.5 times more than what we paid the weekend before. Since Valentine's Day falls on a Saturday this year, and weekend stays at nice hotels are already pricey, well, get ready for that credit card to cry elephant tears. If you're looking to get away, you might as well just book a room at Motel 6, buy a bottle of cheap bubbly, pick up drugstore chocolates and silk rose petals, fill up the bathtub with bubble bath, and call it a date night. There's a romantic getaway for half the price!
5. Wine and chocolate hangovers
No matter who provides the poison (or what that poison might be), chances are you're gonna be hungover the day after Valentine's Day, and it will most likely be because of too much wine and chocolate. Getting drunk with your lover can be fun and all (wink), but not when your tummy is turning from all that food, alcohol, and sweet stuff. Take it easy there, tiger!
6. Valentine's Day expectations can get... awkward
This is one day out of the year that could actually cause a civil war within couples — particularly in new relationships — if your Valentine's Day expectations aren't exactly on the same page. Maybe one of you is dying for a night out on the town, while the other prefers a candlelit dinner and champagne at home. Some individuals just don't take this holiday as seriously as others do, so it's important to communicate feelings, thoughts, and possible plans. And if you do plan on doing anything elaborate like a super fancy dinner or mini-vacation, make it a joint effort in terms of the suggestions, planning, and finances. It's not fun for one person to do all the work.
7. Commercialized romance is super annoying
We really don't need a holiday to celebrate being in love with somebody. We have anniversaries, birthdays, those other holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, and most importantly, all the other days of the year. Valentine's Day is just an opportunity to make the month of February feel less awful, and for businesses to make bank. If you're doing the whole "relationship thing" right, then every day will be a reason to celebrate.