Valentine’s Day as a Celebration of Non-Romantic Love

TWSS’ Saskia Kirkegaard explains how Valentine’s Day isn’t limited to celebrations of romance, and how we can use this holiday as an excuse to show a little love in other ways.

I have been essentially single for 19 years. Yes, I’ve had occasional talking stages and ‘situationships’ (disgusting words, by the way), but I have never fully been in a relationship. And no, I don’t want your pity for this! Surprisingly, I am single and actually very happy staying that way – unless the right person comes into my life, I am not actively looking for love. However, this article is not really about my stance on dating, mainly because I don’t really have many thoughts on it. What I want to discuss with you is the concept of Valentine’s Day, and why it’s one of my favourite days of the year as a representative of the chronically-single community. 

Since the 14th February 2020, I have made it my mission to treat Valentine’s Day as a celebration of all the love in my life, regardless of whether it’s romantic or not. Some single people might see the 14th as a day to shut oneself away from the couples in their lives, and live out their cliched romcom chocolate-box sobbing in the confines of their bedrooms. To those people, I say, ‘STOP! Let the love in!’ The 14th, for me, is about love in its many, many forms, and celebrating that on just one day a year is the least I can do! Why should romantic love be treated as the most important kind of love, when it can appear in so many other ways? If you are single, taken, or in a 3 month long situationship, this day is for you, and in this article I have collected some gentle tips for Valentine’s haters, so we can all spread a bit more love this year. 

Firstly, I want you to make a Valentine’s Day playlist, and listen to it everyday until the big day arrives. I have linked my own playlist if you are having trouble coming up with ideas – I made it around this time last year, and I always return to it when I want to celebrate love. Humans are delicate, wonderful, individual creatures, but we also have a million things in common, and my favourite of these is our ability to love, be loved, and make beautiful art because of it! Rejoice, don’t wallow, in the idea that there is enough love for everyone on earth, and plenty more to sprinkle in. 

Then, make plans to celebrate the 14th in style. In Lockdown, my celebration of love was for myself – I spent the day being super kind to myself, and treated myself as I would a lover. Dyeing my hair red on Valentine’s has been a tiny tradition of mine for the past couple of years, and I have been tempted by the possibility of doing it this year too (I’ll let you know what I decide). My flowers of choice are always daffodils, but you can buy your favourites, or a dozen red roses if that’s your jam! Chocolate is a must, and so is a shit romcom you’ve seen a million times before (I love Bridesmaids, as it’s about love between friends, or Mamma Mia – love between a mother and a daughter). However, the day should not just be spent alone, or it might end in a bit of a mope. 

Artwork by Saskia Kirkegaard

There are plenty of events happening on Valentine’s day in Bristol that are perfect for those wanting to celebrate the love they have for their friends and housemates. TWSS is hosting a pub quiz tonight (13th Feb) at the Balloon Bar with RAG and Women in Leadership, iFem Soc is doing a Galentine’s Pub Crawl on the 15th, and the SU is hosting a screening of Mean Girls on the 13th. On the day itself there’s queer life drawing at Cafe Kino, a chamber concert at St George’s chapel, and a hardbass night at Crofters Rights if that’s more your speed. Check in on your friends and arrange something! Although I’m not personally a fan of the term ‘Galentine’s’, there is so much to be said for the importance of female friendship. If your friends in relationships are free for whatever reason, include them as well! As Dolly Alderton puts it, ‘Everything I know about love’ has come from those relationships, so don’t forget about them this year. 

Furthermore, we mustn’t forget family love! Every year on Valentine’s Day I call my Mum – she was my first valentine as a child, and I owe her some love back. It’s so important to check in with your family and tell them how much you love them, and it’s something I forget to do often due to how busy uni can become. My mum and Dad deserve so much love, and why not choose Valentine’s day to remind them of this? 

The final step to a celebratory Valentine’s Day is to have an adventure, and try and find some more things to love. A large part of the love I have in myself is poured back out into the world, through a fascination with beauty, nature, and art. I love Joni Mitchell. I love completing a sudoku. I love hugging a tree. I love a good cup of tea. I love waking up early. I love park bench dedications. I love a morning-after debrief. I love sushi. I love seeing a cat in someone else’s window. Life is mostly made of love for the small things, and the 14th is a day to go out and look for these small things – they’re everywhere once you spot them, so make the most of it this Tuesday. Wear your reds, pinks, and whites and go on an adventure around Bristol, a city that’s chockablock with love. You might surprise yourself, and become a Valentine’s Day lover too. 

I have so much love to give to the world, and to my favourite people in it, that being excluded from a day set aside to celebrate this emotion would make no sense. Valentine’s Day is not only for people in relationships, it’s for everybody, and having these rituals makes it one of my absolute favourite days of the year! I hope I’ve inspired some of you to treat the day as one of worship for this powerful emotion, and that you all have a wonderful day.


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