I hear you, Sam. I really do.
It’s slightly morbid to admit, I know, but I’ve actually attended some rather riotous, alcohol-fuelled and, dare I say it, hilarious funerals in my time, but I’m yet to enjoy a single Valentine’s Day. And that has nothing to do with the fact that I seem to find myself painfully single every 14th February. Nothing.
I’m not bitter, you’re bitter.
How Do You Sleep? singer Sam Smith made some controversial remarks about Valentine’s Day on Roman Kemp’s Capital FM breakfast show, recently. They were in the studio promoting their new single, To Die For.
“It’s my twenty seventh year of being single on Valentine’s Day. I’m over it. It’s offensive. Yeah I’m sad today. Today’s a sad day. It’s more like a funeral.”
They then added words to a similar effect on Heart Breakfast:
“Look I don’t want to be a Debbie downer but this isn’t my favourite day. I’m quite anti Valentine’s Day.”
“I used to work in Clintons Cards, that’s probably why I hate Valentine’s Day.”
I hear that.
I worked in three particularly soulless high street chains in my youth and the yearly Valentine’s promotions were a plague on my existence; especially as a closeted gay man in the late ’00s.
Here’s the thing; most LGBTQ+ people grew up with certain expectations and societal roles and rules rammed down their throats every single day.
Behave in a way accustomed to the gender you were assigned at birth, marry the opposite sex when you’re young, have children, don’t talk about your feelings, especially if they’re “confusing” etc.
Despite being the year 2020, I think Valentine’s Day still has some catching up to do.
Essentially, the day does still primarily celebrate straight couples and the tangible tokens of affection they lavish upon one another and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
But the reality is, not everyone can partake in Valentine’s Day (even if they wanted to) because they’re not out, they’re single, they’re working on their own mental health etc.
And with the rise of social media, Valentine’s Day is rammed down all of our throats in a whole new way. Valentine’s Day seems to have become more a competition if you’re in a relationship; to compose the perfect post and take the perfect picture, while making many single people of any sexuality feel lonely and worthless.
In short, I’m with Sam on this one.
Last year, the British singer came out as non-binary in a tweet, declaring their pronouns as they/them.
“Today is a good day so here goes. I’ve decided I am changing my pronouns to THEY/THEM after a lifetime of being at war with my gender I’ve decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out…
“I’m so excited and privileged to be surrounded by people that support me in this decision but I’ve been very nervous about announcing this because I care too much about what people think but f*** it!
“I understand there will be many mistakes and mis-gendering but all I ask is you please please try. I hope you can see me like I see myself now. Thank you.
“P.s. I am at no stage just yet to eloquently speak at length about what it means to be non binary but I can’t wait for the day that I am. So for now I just want to be VISIBLE and open. If you have questions and are wondering what this all means I’ll try my best to explain…
“Love you all. I’m scared shitless, but feeling super free right now. Be kind x.”
It’s just comforting to know ‘I’m not the only one’ who feels this way about Valentine’s Day.
Images via Instagram and Getty
Having worked in children's media and publishing for almost a decade, Ben is thoroughly excited to now be able to swear in stories and features. He is such a big fan of Disney and Horror films that he started an LGBTQ+ podcast called 'Once Upon A Scream'. His mum listens. You can contact Ben at [email protected] Twitter: @PulsfordBen / Instagram: @thebenmidlerFollow