Ah, Valentine’s Day.
The day where you celebrate your Valentine.
The day where love fills the air with gifts, flowers and secret, racy outfits. And one of the busiest days for restaurants.
In Korean culture, women show their love or interest by giving men chocolate or flowers on Valentine’s Day (2/14). Then a month later on White Day (3/14), the men who received gifts on Valentine’s Day give gifts back to the women.
And if you haven’t received or given gifts, you either sulk or celebrate being single on 4/14, ‘Black Day’ with Korean-Chinese black bean noodles called Jajangmyeon.
Today, I will be working and celebrating ‘Black Day’ with friends and coworkers. Long live the longevity of life like the length of the chewy noodles.
I used to romanticize relationships during my teens and 20s. Watching Korean dramas growing up did not help with my idealized fantasy of ridiculously good looking men who either treated their lady like a queen or had undealt underlying issues and were emotionally unavailable.
Or you can stumble upon shows like ‘You’ on Netflix and become super paranoid when you put yourself out there online dating and hope to meet a sweet, loving Penn Badgley without realizing that he is actually a psychotic lover-murderer.
But to say the least, though I may sound cynical about Valentine’s Day, love, or relationships, I lovingly embrace and support the happy and special day for couples. It is fulfilling to see the couples around you show their love for one another with quality time through special events or gift exchanges.
This year, I will be celebrating with myself and friends on Valentine’s Day, freeing myself of the shackles I had placed on myself of the societal pressure that I need a partner or had to be in love. Though it has been quite a journey, I have slowly and finally been learning how to love myself and “date” myself.
If you are single, celebrate today for yourself. If you are not already, go out with friends, have a nice dinner, watch your favorite Netflix show, and treat yourself. Because being single is only a temporary state of being. Being wonderfully single and committed to self on Valentines Day is the best gift I can give myself.