Women, Relationships, Expectations, and Valentine’s Day (or, TL:DR, Firsts is a February Freebie!)
I have a love/hate relationship with Valentine’s Day, as I think most women do. On one hand, I love the candy. And I don’t just mean the chocolate, I mean I have a serious, unhealthy addiction to these things:
I buy a bag every week, and it lasts maybe 2-3 days. I know it’s just flavored sugar, but it’s FLAVORED SUGAR. Seriously. How are these not the best?
Yeah, it’s a good thing they’re not available most of the year. Though I’d probably buy them less often than I do now. Kind of like Five Guys. Now that there’s one in town, I rarely go there, whereas before if I was visiting a city lucky enough to have one, it was all THIS IS THE ONLY PLACE WE’RE EATING.
What was I saying? Oh yeah, Valentine’s Day.
On the other hand, having once been a single woman on February 14, I also know that the holiday can be brutal on the ego. Women enter the world at a disadvantage simply for the crime of being, well, a woman. We’re the ones society pressures to be in a relationship, married, expecting or wanting children. Very few people, for instance, would bug my husband about the fact that he has yet to make me pregnant. But me? I’m the one with the ovaries, and therefore the one who gets the shame-face when I explain I don’t want kids. Or even the more condescending, “Well, I didn’t want kids either, but I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world!”
Yeah, I get it. But I’m not you. I don’t want kids today, I didn’t want them yesterday, and I’m in my 30s now and still no closer to craving the presence of a human in my uterus. Or, in other words, please stop asking personal questions, strange lady.
The point is, no matter what women do, accomplish, or where they are in life, society in general expects more. Single on Valentine’s Day? That’s depressing. Single every day? That’s pathetic. Dating someone? Let us know when you get engaged. Married? When are you reproducing? If you don’t fit the role, there’s something wrong with you. You’re too picky, too wishy-washy, too difficult, too stupid, too fat, too selfish, too fill-in-the-blank.
Because obviously what works for Judy is right for Patricia.
Some people don’t want romance or kids. And they don’t want to be judged for those decisions. My best friend is happily single, and has told me she doesn’t want a relationship or kids. Does that mean she hates on love and all things couplehood? No, she loves a good romance as much as I do, the same way I enjoy shows like Hannibal without feeling the need to pour myself a nice Chianti to complement the human liver and fava beans. Fiction is an escape from the troubles, pressures, and expectations of the real world. We can enjoy it without wanting it for ourselves.
So to celebrate love without making you pay for it, I’ve put Firsts, my best-selling work, out for FREE for the entire month.
Okay, so that was one hell of a leap, but you try transitioning from “society expects too much from us girls” to “by the way, you don’t have to pay for my book this month.” It ain’t easy.
I guess I’ll leave you with this: whether you’re single or taken, a proud mother or happily childfree, I hope you have a good month. The decision to raise kids is one I respect and admire. The decision to declare oneself permanently single is brave and empowering. Being alone on Valentine’s Day is not a crime, and you can be romantic without being in a romance. There are many ways to celebrate love. Pick yours and don’t take crap from anyone for it.
Also? Firsts is free.