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Single on Valentine’s Day

Did you know that in China there is a holiday called Single’s Day? Apparently it happens on November 11 (because of the four 1’s in the date), and is quite popular amongst college students. Of course, in America people want to celebrate Valentine’s Day; cherishing the joy and fertility of loving someone, and dedicating time and effort to make them happy while celebrating every moment shared as a loving romance. It’s either that, or just having another excuse to spend a night with someone doing what we hormonally driven humans normally do (yes, women too, don’t deny it).

But where does that leave the increasingly large amount of singles that have to spend that notorious day alone? According to singlesday.com and unmarriedamerica.org, 90 million people in America are currently single, and will be on Valentine’s Day as well. The general consensus for most singles’ advocating websites tends to be that singles should use the time on that day to celebrate the freedom of being wild and spontaneous.

Reality check – being single hurts! It hurts even when it’s not Valentine’s Day. Everyone wants to feel like someone loves them, even if they hide it under the skin of “being free.” Being in a serious relationship gives the partners a sense of belonging and security that one can’t find anywhere else, not in one’s job or one’s hobbies, or even from casual dating and sex. Yes, being single is fun at times when it’s done right; but having a significant other changes people’s lifestyles and builds an emotional strength that a lot of people would give anything for.

On Valentine’s Day, American culture displays giant reminders that couples have the security and belonging that single’s don’t; the loneliness is amplified by 2746.083915 percent or something around there. It’s like being kicked to the ground and made fun of, “I have a girlfriend and you don’t, that sucks. Me and my boyfriend are going out, what are you doing all by yourself?”

It’s downright insulting at times.

As I said earlier, however, not everyone feels that way. Some people do find ways to enjoy being single on February 14, by partying with friends, distracting themselves or simply not caring and doing whatever they do on a normal day. It is possible to do all of these things; it just takes a ton of focus and integrity to do so, and websites alone don’t make it happen.

One single day out of the 365 in the year should never cause such a variety of emotions to happen all at once. People have lives to live; one doesn’t want to be distracted by a date on the calendar telling one that one is single and lonely while others are happy and secure. A holiday shouldn’t cause so many people to go into depression while telling others that they’re supposed to love their partner that one day over any of the other days of the year.

By its very nature, Valentine’s Day is a sensitive holiday. The concept of love is something that has puzzled so many for so long. It is said to be purely mythical and imaginary, and yet its pursuit really does affect our lives. A break up can demean one’s outlook on life, causing one to give up healthy habits for harmful ones and making one negatively affect everyone around them. At the same time, a new relationship can increase one’s productivity in life, make one livelier and healthier, and generally make one want to smile and make others smile more.

As a final word on this topic, most of the time it gets lonely and painful for singles on Valentine’s Day, but it really is only one day in the year. Everyone feels lonely; one idiotically emotional day shouldn’t change anything.

Manish Garg is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at mgarg@student.umass.edu.

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