Sometimes, it’s just a date night

The winter season is a mine field of “romantic” holidays for the single gal. New Year’s followed by Valentine’s Day. To complicate matters, the single dude interprets the holidays far differently than our dudette.

For us single ladies, there is no automatic definition required for a date for either New Year’s or Valentine’s. We don’t need a boyfriend. Sometimes, we just prefer to be squired about as all the lucky girls in couples get to be on these holidays. In the case of New Year’s; we’d like to be kept in drink, perhaps danced about, kissed at midnight, and if you’ve done your job well, and you’re lucky… who knows. Valentine’s- if we’re not sacrificing a virgin to end this unholy of unholy Hallmark holidays, a simple fun night out on the town with a candidate that’s at the least not a mouth-breather would suffice.

Men, on the other hand, attribute all plethora of meaning to these otherwise silly holidays. If they are not planning on the date on New Year’s or V-day as their grand gesture signifying a next step in their relationship with a woman; they’re treating the day as a metal box with air duct arms flailing, rolling towards them screeching, “danger Will Robinson, danger!!!!” This second male will flee from any female they’re dating, lest they give the impression they are going to propose simply by kissing her at midnight or eating with her on a day in February.

Who’s to blame men for feeling the pressure of romance on these holidays? In the past couple years, we’ve seen the entertainment industry create truly obvious films made to cash in on these scripted holidays. It all started with “Love Actually,” a Christmas film with a cast of several stars, most notably Hugh Grant, and intertwining story lines, all heat-breakingly or heart-warmingly climatic. Well, that one did so well, why not follow with “Valentine’s Day,” more obviously named; with an even more star-studded cast and story lines more obvious. Finally, we have “New Year’s Eve,” as superficial and see-through as a movie can get, in cast and script. But, falling in line just the same, to communicate the message: these holidays are meant for couples, romance, taking the next step; relationship propaganda that in actuality has the opposite effect.

In a world of pressures from every angle, and coming as fast as your modem can carry them; it’s not shocking the US divorce rate is as high as it is. Media is not only telling men and women they are not good enough as individuals: they are not successful enough, they are not skinny enough, they don’t have the right car, they don’t have the right bag… But, now we are constantly bombarded with messages that our relationships aren’t good enough. In movies and television, delicate, guarded women swoon for perfect, successful men who are grandly romantic, who might make mistakes, but in the end they say just the right thing, in just the right, GRAND way, at just the right time. How could anyone live up to this message?

This winter, cut each other some slack, offer a little understanding. And, keep in mind, sometimes, whether it’s the 31st or the 14th, sometimes, it’s just a date night.

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