Column One:
Eye on Unmarried America



January 16, 2006  



 

   
 
 

No need for singles to
protest Valentines Day


by Thomas F. Coleman

 
Many solo singles feel on the fringe of society during the Valentines Day marketing cycle when so much media attention is focused on couples.  But do large numbers of singles who are not in romantic relationships really feel so slighted that they would protest against Valentines Day?

Product designer Christine Ann must think so, or hope so.  She sent out a press release last week trying to entice singles to buy anti-Valentines Day products from her online store.

She's peddling an entire line of "Anti VD" goodies, from greeting cards, to post cards, to hats and tee shirts. 

Christine's press release urges singles to make a statement this year by celebrating against Valentine's Day.  "Stand up for all the singles out there," she says.  "Showcase the Anti Valentine's day attitude with an Anti VD t-shirt."

"Single people out there need a special day for them," Christine proclaims. "A Happy Singles Day!"

I agree with part of Christine's message.  Singles do need a commemorative occasion during which to celebrate their singleness. 

They already do.  In fact, they have an entire week.  It's called "Unmarried and Single Americans Week" which is celebrated during the third full week of September.

But even if "singles week" did not exist, why would single people want to attack Valentines Day by sending out greeting cards protesting the occasion or wearing a tee shirt showing their anger or resentment against those who have a lover, partner, or spouse.

What Christine does not realize is that people can be pro-single without being anti-couple or anti-family. 

Of the 89 million single adults in the United States, some 27 million live alone.  But just because they live solo does not mean they don't have a boyfriend, girlfriend, lover, or a special someone in their life. 

Sure, there are millions of unattached single people who do not currently have, or who may never have, a romantic relationship.  I doubt if many of them take a scrooge-like attitude towards Valentines Day.

A few years ago, Sasha Cagen, author of "Quirky Alone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Singles" decided to take an approach to Valentines Day quite different from the anti-VD method suggested by Christine Ann.  Sasha and some of her single friends started "Quirkyalone Day" and declared that it would occur on February 14.

Sahsa's website -- www.quirkyalone.net/qa/iqd.php -- says that "International Quirkyalone Day (IQD) is not anti-Valentine's Day.  It just happens to fall on the same day."

International Quirkyalone Day is an opportunity "to create a great day for yourself, whatever that means to you (and your partner if you have one and how you choose to celebrate with him or her)," the website explains.  "It's a day to celebrate the things you love to do alone and the things you love to do with your friends."

"If you are single, International Quirkyalone Day is a chance to celebrate the possibilities available to single people today," the website stresses.  "If you are partnered, [this occasion]is a vital reminder to value yourself and develop your individuality even when in a couple."

Sasha and her fellow quirkyalone buddies suggest many ways to celebrate your singleness on February 14, like throwing a dinner party, rearranging your furniture, taking a long walk without your cell phone, exploring a new part of town, organizing a card-making party, trying a new recipe, or coming to or hosting a quirkyalone party.

Last year, Quirkyalone Day was celebrated in 24 cities throughout the world.  A librarian in Iowa organized a quirkyalone party at her library and invited a minister to come talk about her solo travels throughout the world.

In Baton Rouge, a group of quirkyalone friends sang karaoke. North of Seattle, the bookstore manager at Barnes & Noble organized a quirkycrafts party at her store.

This year, Madison quirkyalones will go "Cosmic Bowling"-- bowling with strobe lights!

Whether you celebrate Valentines Day full of romance with your significant other, or whether you get together with your single friends for a Quirkyalone Day party, keep it upbeat on February 14.

Alternatives to Valentines Day are not limited to the quirkyalone movement.  Some singles in Italy, tired of the couple-dominated Valentines Day theme, have created a day of their own, just like the quirkyalones, but not on February 14. 

Couples and romantics have St. Valentine in their corner.  So three years ago, a goup of singles in Italy chose Saint Faustino as their patron.  His feast day is celebrated on February 15.

They named Feb. 15 as Saint Faustino Single Pride day, a day of awareness of the "status single" with a special focus on the problems and discrimination faced by people who are not married.

So, with positive alternatives for everyone in the United States and abroad, there is really no need for single people to protest against Valentines Day.  We have enough grief and conflict in this world already without getting upset over a day focused on romantic love. 

Whether you live alone or with a partner, or whether your romantically involved or not, let's keep things lighthearted and friendly.  No protests are necessary.


Unmarried America 2006

Thomas F. Coleman, Executive Director of Unmarried America, is an attorney with 33 years of experience in singles' rights, family diversity, domestic partner benefits, and marital status discrimination.  Each week he adds a new commentary to Column One: Eye on Unmarried America. E-mail: coleman@unmarriedamerica.org. Unmarried America is a nonprofit information service for unmarried employees, consumers, taxpayers, and voters.

 

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