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I remember back in middle school and high school, Valentine’s Day would seriously suck. You’d walk into school, and you’d immediately see the girls – those pretty, perfect, fun, popular girls like living Bratz dolls (not an insult, I promise) – with their balloons and their giant bouquet of red roses and their stuffed animals and their red gift bags of chocolate. I’m only human, and I have a mean envious streak in me. (Just because I acknowledge its existence doesn’t mean I think it’s okay.) It was hard to walk around the school with a constant reminder that you didn’t have a honey.

And I never did understand men who forgot about Valentine’s Day. I can understand anniversaries and birthdays. Unless you write them down, it’s not like you have a CONSTANT COMMERCIAL MACHINE reminding you that it’s coming. I always wondered how they managed to miss it – and could I have whatever they were having?

These days, being single on Valentine’s Day isn’t quite as crappy. I’m not in middle or high school anymore, so there isn’t this constant reminder that I still don’t have a romantic social life, nor a reminder that I’m expected to. I’m not always single AND lonely, but when I am, I hardly need it rubbed in my face.

And you can moan about the commercialism of the day all you want, and you may be somewhat right. But I love chocolate, roses, and jewelry, so honestly, a holiday devoted to the exchange of these things isn’t too bad in my book. Like Halloween – who would say no? A cynic about romance I may be, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a fondness for the trappings of romance on their own. Who cares of it’s an Obligation of the Day? Why not have a day to remind yourself, out loud, with an exchange of relatively inexpensive gifts, that you love your sweetheart?

And when you’re single, it’s perhaps even better. Not on the day itself, but the day after. Because all that candy that lovers paid for full price, you get half off. And you get to hand select what you want (as long as it’s what’s left), so you know you’ll like what you’re getting.

I look forward to Valentine’s Day every year now. If not for love, then for chocolate. And there’s nothing wrong with taking care of yourself in the best way you know how.