Valentine’s Day Looks (and why I’m not doing one)
For the past few weeks I’ve kept thinking “man, I really should post a tutorial for a Valentine’s Day look.” So I tried to come up with one, I really did. But every time I did a practice look I thought “what about this makes it say Valentine’s Day more than any other look?” Pink eyeshadow is out because it makes me look like I’m having a bad bout of allergies. Red lips fit the holiday’s general color scheme, but that’s something I’d wear to work on an average day. Plus, really, who am I to tell you whether your date night calls for sexy & sultry or sweet & innocent (or one of any number of other feminine stereotypes)?
Also, I kinda really dislike Valentine’s Day.
I feel a little hypocritical saying that, since the husband and I do have plans for Friday night (hey, our favorite restaurant has a special menu!) but it’s not generally a thing we make a point to celebrate. Mostly we just ignore it, but over the past few years I’ve realized that I loathe it in so many ways.
For one, why does there need to be an annual scheduled event to do something nice for your partner? I’m no relationship counseler, but I’ve got to assume a healthy relationship already has a fair amount of that going on throughout the year. If Valentine’s Day is the only time that happens, maybe it’s a good opportunity to think about why.
Second, talk about a holiday that likes to exclude people, sheesh. I partially blame commercial marketing for this – all of the advertising hoopla surrounding the holiday is incredibly heteronormative. I’m fairly sure I’ve never seen a Valentine-themed commercial or greeting card featuring a gay couple or even implying they might exist. Though I have to give a shout out to Lush for picking Feb 14th to raise awareness for equality with their #signoflove campaign.
The exclusion doesn’t quite stop there though. If you’re single, welp, guess what you get – lots of condescending magazine and internet articles about how to be happy on Valentine’s Day even though you’re clearly unworthy of love (that’s sarcasm folks – I feel the need to disclaim because text loses all the nuances). An actual suggestion from a Cosmopolitan article (link here, emphasis mine):
Just because you’re single doesn’t mean you’re alone! Round up some unattached chicks and hit the bars, a restaurant, the local karaoke joint, the bowling lanes, whatever. Revel in your ability to have an amazing time, no men needed.
Ummm, remind me again why I should need to be reminded that I can still have a life that doesn’t revolve around a man?
Which brings me to probably my biggest beef with it – the traditional narrative behind it is disgustingly sexist. Female gets all dolled up and receives her annual token of appreciation, after which the incredibly generous male is (presumably) rewarded. Let’s keep reinforcing that idea that men are totally entitled to some hot sex in exchange for material goods, mmmkay?
Also, nothing says “I hope we live a long and happy life together” like a pound of insulin-spiking chocolate or cut flowers with a four-day life expectancy.
I don’t want to be a total Negative Nellie though, so instead of a Valentine’s Day look I’d like to give you the most heart-warming thing I know of: the Service Dog Project’s puppycam. These little Great Dane dudes are trained from birth to be service dogs, and you can watch them on live cam while they play, sleep or get socialized. Totally adorable, right? You can read about the organization here (btw I’m totally unaffiliated, but I randomly found the puppycam one day and I’m addicted).
What do you think about Valentine’s – yay or nay?
Title image by Jerry on flickr