Happy Valentine’s Day!

I am celebrating by talking about internet love on Al Jazeera and then sharing some early-bird ramen with my best friend in DC before I hop on a train back to New York. In other words, I’m in love, and I’m livin’ today like it’s Galentine’s Day:

For all its punny charms, though, Galentine’s Day leaves me a little cold. Sure, I love the idea of eating frittatas (or guzzling whiskey and catching up on RuPaul’s Drag Race) with a bunch of ladyfriends. But I don’t see friendship as an alternative or runner-up to romantic love and partnership. It’s not a February 13 amuse-bouche for “real love” (or the hope thereof) on the 14th. Friendship is the main event. Let’s run through the style-section trends, shall we? People are marrying later. Women are settling. (Or refusing to settle.) The divorce rate remains pretty damn high. In practice, the lifelong romantic partnership, like the lifelong employer, has become passe. William Deresiewicz calls friendship “modernity’s central relationship.” It’s time we start acknowledging it as such, and calling it love.

Like romantic love, friendship is a source of joy. It provides sustenance when things get tough, and encouragement to aim higher, think bigger, love harder. In “The Age of Girlfriends,” an essay about Sheila Heti’s book How Should a Person Be and (what else?) HBO’s Girls, Anna Holmes wrote, “It is other women, not men, Dunham and Heti seem to be saying, who most impact the evolution of girls into women. Other women, not men, who provide the opportunities for self-expression and self-discovery. Other women, not men, who bear witness to the triumphs and tragedies of young womanhood. Other women, not men, in whom we both find and lose ourselves.”

Ideally, then, Galentine’s Day — like other designated “forget boys, this is for my girls” moments — is not about splitting a bottle of rosé and a pint of Haagen-Dazs to take emotional refuge from a holiday dedicated to narrowly defined romantic couplehood. It’s about acknowledging in a true and independent way that our female friends are fundamental to our personal development. Today and every day.

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About Jill

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
This entry was posted in Holidays & Celebrations, relationships and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Happy Valentine’s Day!

  1. TomSims says:

    Happy Valentine/Galentine Day Jill.

    “I am celebrating by talking about internet love on Al Jazeera ”

    Wow, that should be interesting. Al Jazeera? Really?

  2. Tyris says:

    It took us until half past one to notice that today was Valentine’s… and this after hours of writing “14 Feb” every other line in official documentation.

    Some year soon, it will just pass by in a bubble of happy obliviousness.

  3. XtinaS says:

    Uh. Is there a reason the front page is mobile-friendly, on my desktop?

    • tigtog says:

      There probably is some technical reason, but it’s certainly not anything that’s been deliberately configured by us. Refresh/reload the front page, and if it’s still there then look for a “view site normally” (or equivalent) button?

    • Tyris says:

      We got this same problem on the fashion article (and no other) for about a day. Clicking the desktop view button did nothing but it went back to normal by itself after a while.

  4. EG says:

    What does it say about me that when I first read this, I thought Jill was celebrating some weird day having to do with Galen of Pergamon, and I kept thinking “Well, tastes differ, but I really dislike the one-sex theory and find it misogynist”?

    Oh, that I am the biggest geek who ever went to grad school, that’s what it says.

  5. Made a card with the following sappy-ass verse:

    Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    I want to torch patriarchy
    And dance around the flames with you

    I think she’ll get a giggle out of it.

  6. Most importantly, you are gonna need to do more than “split[] a bottle of rose”! WHOLE BOTTLES FOR ALL THE GALS!!!11!!1!11!!

  7. Nicole says:

    Galentine’s?! I LOVE IT.

    Cheers to the ladies that keep us sane (or further support our insanity)!

  8. Li says:

    I spent the day sending unromantic valentine’s images to my unboyfriend. I choo choo choose you!

  9. PeggyLuWho says:

    I know this is extremely bougie, but I bought myself something really special for Valentine’s/Galentine’s day. Escrow on my condo closed today, and I got the keys to my new home. I celebrated by having a beer and some naan and curry over the sink of my new empty place with a friend.

  10. miga says:

    I listened to Adele and angsty Kanye at work and cried, then I went to the used bookstore and bought a books on Buddhism and Christianity, as well as two fiction books with badass WoC main characters. Then I got french onion soup, wine, and the new Muppets movie – and then I got super drunk and painted my nails.
    Except for the part where I got wine in my eye(!!!) it was a good night.

  11. Aydan says:

    I liked that article. I always really like to see stuff about the importance of friendships and platonic love. Maybe I’ll try to do something really special for a friend next Valentine’s Day.

  12. Pseudonym says:

    I bought my mother a nice little bouquet of flowers for V-Day and went out to watch a movie with her. My father isn’t allowed to buy her flowers any more for painful emotional reasons I only recently discovered, and he hadn’t done anything else to celebrate the day. He’s recovering from injury and dealing with chronic pain and is hopped up on drugs and spending most of his days in bed, occasionally walking around the house on crutches or in his wheelchair, so it’s a complicated situation. My parents still love each other but I’m not sure if it’s romantic or more like close friendship or inertia or what.

    I think this is the most I’ve ever done to celebrate Valentine’s Day with anyone. I’ve never spent a V-Day living in a relationship of any sort. I did once, during college, go out with a random group of people I met off Craigslist and meet up for dinner and a house party, but I acted my usual awkward poorly socialized self and ended up alienating most of the other people, particularly the one I developed a crush on. It was still a good experience to have nonetheless.

    I have a few decent same-sex friends who I feel pretty close to emotionally. I still feel painfully lonely a lot of the time, but I haven’t dated in a year or two. I could probably find some sort of companion or relationship if I really focused on it, but that would mean taking an honest assessment of my strengths and weaknesses and what I have to offer to others. I don’t think I’m ready to admit that people like me or at my level are as good as it gets when it comes to potential partners. Fair is fair, those are the people I deserve, but they aren’t the people who I feel attracted to or desire for. Sorry. I think I’d still rather pretend or distract myself than have to stare at the face of someone who mirrored my ugliness and be expected to love and desire them.

  13. Lucile says:

    The one billion rising campaign is the only meaningful Valentine’s day celebration I find meaningful. Women and men in Liberia speaking out against rape! It is so wonderful to see this happening across the world.

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