Plenty of single women are taking the opportunity to have a girls’ night with good friends instead of chasing the traditional Valentine’s Day dream of dinner, chocolates and budding romance. Whether it’s an expression of independence or a stand against those dates that have gone wrong in the past, it’s happening, and it might just be a refreshing way to spend your February 14.
“I’ve had a girls’ night [on Valentine’s Day] many times,” said social work master’s student Cherie Michaud. The more I think about it, it’s a kind of Valentine celebration with the people you care about who are friends instead of a significant other.”
Others have taken to this trend, as well, celebrating with people who they love, not necessarily a significant other.
“I’ve done it with my girlfriends so that no one has to spend Valentine’s Day alone. I look at it as spending time with the people that you love regardless if it’s a friend of significant other,” said creative advertising senior Nina Altadonna.
But it’s not just the ladies of MSU that are banning together to celebrate.
“It’s not only the girls; it’s just anyone who doesn’t have plans,” Michaud said. Friends, regardless of gender, are finding a fun way to spend the day.
“We usually just invite whoever is available,” Altadonna said.
And the men agree.
“I probably won’t hang out with a girl; I’ll hang out with my guy friends,” said economics junior Trevor Stiles. “If it is a guys’ night, it would be because we’re all single, and Valentine’s Day is a reminder that we’re single; it’s good, and it’s bad. There are two ways of looking at it.”
You might just call the emerging tradition a “friends’ night,” not deliberately planned, but powerful nonetheless.
Beth Woodworth, an advertising senior, has a Valentine this year, but if not she would be spending the holiday with close friends.
“I wouldn’t be looking for a date. I’d probably just go to the movies with my friends and include some drinks,” Woodworth said.
Publications and event listings are even catering to this new trend. New York Magazine has a special feature for singles, which reads, “Trust us: Being an uncoupled city girl on the most romantic day of the year means there’s fun to be had.”
The article includes reviews and suggestions for places to go out with your friends.
“If Valentine’s Day fell on a weekend, I’d be going out to the bar, but since it’s Sunday we will stay at home and drink some wine instead,” Altadonna said.
With friends to fall back on, the urgency of locking down a date has almost disappeared from campus.
“I am absolutely not looking for a date. If it happens, it happens, but I am not worried about it,” Stiles said.
This sentiment is echoed from many students.
“No, I am definitely not looking for a date.” Michaud said. “I feel like it is a day to spend with someone special, not someone you grabbed off the street and said, ‘Hey, take me to dinner!’ I think it should have a little more meaning than that.”
“I’m not looking. I don’t care to have a date. I would want to be out on a date with a boyfriend, but I don’t want to be cliché and date just because it’s a holiday,” Altadonna said.
If no one is actively looking for romantic dates, are we in the midst of a Valentine’s Day transformation? You have to wonder if friendship will replace the traditional date in coming years.
“[Girls’ night is] definitely taking over, at least in college, because I think it’s so rare to go on sporadic dates with people who aren’t in relationships. Even my friends who have dates will go out to dinner, but meet up with us afterwards,” Altadonna said.
Woodworth agreed and noted the increased amount of anti-Valentine’s Day sentiment.
“Now there are Facebook groups being made against Valentine’s Day and events inviting people to go out to the bar instead.”
There are also those romantics who believe that faith is not lost in the traditional date.
“The date is still very idealistic, and the girls want to have a date for V-day because it is just the way we’re programmed. Anyone’s first choice would be to go on a date,” Michaud said.
The traditional dinner, chocolates, flowers and heartfelt card can be interpreted as an intimate expression of love or a sad attempt to capitalize on the holiday, depending on who you ask.
According to History.com, the truth is that the tradition of Valentine greetings date back to the Middle Ages with written Valentine cards coming on to the scene around the 1400s. The first commercial cards produced in the U.S. were made in the 1840s.
The Greeting Card Association, has estimated one billion Valentine cards are sent and received each year, an amount second only to Christmas cards.
“I think it’s been so blown out of proportion it goes past what the day should really be about,” Michaud said. “Things like love and caring for someone. I know that flowers, candy and dinner are kind and meaningful gestures, but now it has become expected. You’re not even surprised anymore.”
“I think a lot of [the holiday] is Hallmark, because they try to juice as much out of it as they can. With jewelry, cards and candy, corporations and businesses are taking advantage of it,” Altadonna said.
Considering all of the hype and money spent on this holiday, it can sometimes be hard to remember what the day is all about.
“I think it’s a little overrated but cool because you can take a day out of the year and spend it with who you love,” Stiles said.
The true meaning of Valentine’s Day is not lost at MSU. Instead, it is being celebrated in different ways. Those who do not have a romantic partner to go out with will join their friends for the night. The idea is that no one will be left alone because true love is still being celebrated, regardless of the form it takes.
If you’re still feeling pessimistic about V-day this year, just remember that there are worse holidays to look forward to.
“It’s way better than Sweetest Day,” Stiles said.