By Simone Hill
On Valentine's day of my senior year of college, 15 of my closest friends and I packed into the booth at the Cheeburger, Cheeburger in a strip mall off of New Jersey's Route 1. Just for the the holiday, the restaurant was featuring a two-for-one special on burgers and fries and onion rings (or "frings" for the indecisive). We'd already paired up for who would split the deal during the car ride over so we were ready to order as soon as we sat down, to the annoyance of our harried waitress. After we ordered, I scooted out of the booth to go to the bathroom and as I walked toward the door, my friend yelled loud enough for everyone to hear, "Sim, your pants!"
I looked down to see the pockets of my jeggings facing frontwards. My pants were on backwards.
Although this story sounds like it's ripped directly from the "Traumarama" section of a Seventeen magazine, this actually happened to me. And it was this moment where I realized how much I needed Galentine's day.
When I saw that my pants were askew I couldn't help but double over in laughter. I laughed and laughed until I cried, my abs ached and I had to grab on to a nearby table to keep from falling to the ground. After my laughing fit was over and I'd drawn plenty of stares from both restaurant patrons and employees, I continued on my errand to the restroom.
I left my pants where they were.
This was my first Galentine's day, and now I wouldn't spend February 14th any other way.
Who isn't tired of the tropes about love and relationships that are an inevitable by-product of the Hallmark-cardification of a holiday? You're either head-over-heels in love with your significant other/crush or you're knee-deep in a tub of Ben and Jerry's and boxed wine feeling lonesome. On the other hand, there's the anti-Valentine's day camp, and as a result of commercialization backlash, there's plenty of ways to buy things that show how much you hate buying into things.
What we need more than validation of our romantic relationships is reinforcement of our platonic ones. It's easy to make and keep friends in college; they're the people that you live with, study with, eat with and drink with. Once you graduate, there's even more emphasis and pressure to find a man, keep a man and marry a man, and that can get in the way of maintaining those other oh-so-important 'ships. It doesn't help that you're also scattered across the globe. Once you've got other difficult aspects of your life to maintain, your female friends can seem more like a means to an end than a source of comfort and camaraderie. If you're in a committed relationship, then they're the connection to a social life. If you're single, then they're your wingwomen and dance partner until you give the nod that everything's going alright with that guy you've been making small talk with and she can go home.
I've got a "sweetheart" (I just vommed in my mouth a little even thinking that word), but we avoid Valentine's Day at all cost. It doesn't help that our yearly anniversary falls on February 11. Go figure, in the early days of our courtship, he wanted to take me out for Valentine's Day to ask me to "go steady," but a tennis tournament meant that we had to do it early.
Even though I have a ready-made V-Day date, my Galentine's Day celebration is NOT a pity party I hold because I feel bad for my friends that don't have a relationship. There's no ready-made day of the year to celebrate the people that put up with my random thoughts so weird that I'm ashamed to even post them on Twitter and engage with me in debates over the treatment of Bruce Jenner by the Kardashian family. I need to thank them because I don't think that my relationship would be as strong if I didn't have them to put me in my place from time to time.So instead, we've taken the day that has no family obligations and tons of chocolate to make it our own.
That's why the first people I turn to to make plans when February approaches are my friends, not my boyfriend. You'd better be damned sure we're going to extreme lengths to keep the tradition alive and stuff our faces at the nearest Cheeburger, Cheeburger.
As much as we aspire to be Leslie Knope, the founding mother of Galentine's Day, we're not going to be sappy or sentimental, exchange "I love you's" and heartfelt, uber-personalized gifts. We most likely won't even mention the real reason we're there. We don't need to say it. What we will do is revel in the absurdity of our daily lives, we'll complain about everything, we'll indulge in our collective weirdness, we'll race each other to text our further away friends who aren't there, we'll embarrass ourselves, but not feel embarrassed. This is the unspoken love that needs a holiday. If you'd like to join I'll be that girl at Cheeburger, Cheeburger wearing a hot pink homemade crop top with the slogan "Keepin' it tight, for Mr. Right" and a pair of backwards jeggings -- for old time's sake.
Originally posted on Literally, Darling, an online magazine by and for twenty-something women, which features the personal, provocative, awkward, pop-filled and pressing issues of our gender and generation. This is an exact representation of our exaggerated selves.