Friday, February 14, 2014

"Singles Awareness Day?" Please.

Some folks on Twitter (company motto: A Finger on the Pulse of the Unemployed) are trending up the hashtag #singlesawarenessday today. I've held off saying anything about this for some time, because a) I went through many past Valentine's Days single, and I remember how much it sucked, and b) many of my family members and friends are currently single, and I don't want to aggravate what may already be an irritant. But I happen to believe that Singles Awareness Day (abbreviated SAD, of course, and deliberately observed on Valentine's Day) is one specimen of an attitude I see increasingly often -- passive-aggressive public sulking over a holiday of which one does not approve.

I've been as guilty of this behavior as anyone. For instance, I roll my eyes over Earth Day, Earth Hour and similar festivities, because they strike me as gimmicky and ineffective. Attempting to force people to care for the earth through rampant peer pressure doesn't work, and may actually backfire. But I'm done preaching about it; the people who love Earth Day aren't going to stop celebrating just because I don't happen to like it.

Singles Awareness Day is one of several public-sulking holidays (I'm looking at you, "Buy Nothing Day") whose existence is primarily reactionary -- in other words, most people observe them as a protest against the celebration of the formal or informal holidays on which they fall. Based on the comments I've been reading, Singles Awareness Day is an attempt to cancel out the celebration of Valentine's Day by fostering guilt and shame in couples who just want to enjoy the day -- "how dare you rub your romance in our faces" is the way one Tweet put it. (If I were to do something similar, I'd declare April 22 to be "Thank You For Littering Day" and encourage as many people as possible to pollute the environment. Sounds kinda childish and stupid, doesn't it? Exactly.)

I know what it's like to suffer through a holiday I don't celebrate. For instance, thanks to the joys of infertility, I'm not a mother -- and at this point in my life, I'm not likely ever to become one. This makes me sad, but I'm not going to gather a bunch of childless women and spearhead the initiative to rename Mother's Day "Infertility Awareness Day" because the celebration of motherhood makes me uncomfortable. It smacks too much of sour grapes. Besides, I know plenty of awesome mothers (my own mom, my mom-in-law, and Miss V's mom come readily to mind) and I can choose to celebrate them on Mother's Day rather than curling up, licking my wounds and snarling at passersby.

Valentine's Day is a celebration of love. If you don't have romantic love right now, consider finding some other way to celebrate love positively -- adopt a pet from a shelter, serve at a soup kitchen, offer free hugs, treat yourself or someone you care about to a professional massage, whatever floats your boat. There's no need to be bitter and ruin the holiday for those who just want to celebrate.

And if you still feel like you really need a day to celebrate singles, the Koreans already gotcha covered. (It sounds delicious!)

1 comment:

Douglas Cootey said...

Fantastic! I once tweeted that I was going to leave all my lights on during Earth Day in protest and lost followers. I was trying to be funny, but they saw it as petty and inconsiderate to the Earth (as if their one day observance was going to make any sort of difference.). Even though others enjoyed the cheeky joke, protesting against an established holiday isn't free speech; it's disrespectful. I should have saved my "protest" for the next day. So I agree with you completely. I don't appreciate anti-Christmas sentiment on Christmas Day; I don't enjoy #ldsconf being hijacked by people who hate the Mormon church; and I think #singlesawarenessday on Valentines Day is lame. I'm single and groan at all the lovey doves cuteness going around, but I'd be right there along with them if I had a significant other. Save #singlesawarenessday for the 15th (as if we need more singles awareness the way the advertising world bombards us daily).