Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, so I find it fitting to reflect upon my feelings on the topic of romance. Perhaps I am a Valentine’s Grinch, but my musings today are composed in everything but a major key. Like a shadow, I hold a bow drawn taut; a black arrow prepared to pierce the heart of Cupid.

Mass media is ripe with Valentine’s themes. Love, romance, sex… could there possibly be anything more to life? The truth is that, in the USA, we live in a capitalist society. To make money is to survive, and to make more is to increase the quality of life. It is no secret that holidays are pushed upon the masses by our media because of profit. Our society plays off of lover’s emotions to increase sales, and I feel that this sends a harmful message.

The idolatry of romance ostracises those of us who were not lucky enough to find love. Society has created an expectation for everyone to have relationships, when in truth, not everyone does; not everyone can. Find a nice girl, date, marry, settle down, and raise a family. Isn’t that the American dream? It certainly is a nice dream, but for some of us it is only that - a dream. What of the people that do not fit that mold, what are we? Rejects, failures, losers, creeps, freaks, monsters. I’d like to believe that most people have had at least one lonely Valentine’s Day in life, so why does our society fall prey to this sick marketing scheme? Where is the empathy? Why is it okay to devote a holiday to depressing singles? This encourages pain, suffering, and suicide. That is not okay. There is nothing wrong with people enjoying relationships and wanting to celebrate that, but couples should have the decency to be discreet, and it should not be touted as a holiday.

I would like to see more stories portraying people discovering happiness without relationships, stories about friendship, enjoying the single life, and learning to cope with loneliness. Personally, I was never lucky enough to have a relationship. I have never experienced what it’s like to hear someone say “yes”, to hold their hand, hug them, spend time together, go on romantic dates, surprise them with gifts, kiss, cuddle, sleep in the same bed, live together, propose, get married, or have children. Are those things I wish I could experience? Yes, of course! At my age people, in general, are not getting married or having children yet, but if I had a relationship with someone I would be hoping from the start that it could lead there. I’m on the fence about children, but I want to get married. I am not the kind of guy who is interested in dating for the sake of dating, but I suppose it’s healthy experience, and you never know where it will lead, so I’m not entirely against it either.

With that said, it does not seem likely that I will ever find anyone. I have only ever asked one person out, but have already experienced being used, called a creep, and rejected (all by different people). My only option left is to meet new people, but my social anxiety has impaired my functioning to a point where that is far from possible any time soon. Making friends at all is impossibly hard for me. It is easy to get trapped in feelings of hopelessness and despair when thinking about my situation, but as if by a miracle, a friend has helped me find happiness with being alone. Over the last month or so my new sister has been there for me, listened to my deepest problems and secrets, and showed me love and kindness. When I feel sad and lonely I can cope by remembering that I have a brother and sister online that are there for me, and plently of friends that are like family on IRC. I have a room all to myself with a bed, a warm blanket, my pooh bear, and a laptop that lets me connect with people that make me happy. I’m safe and isolated from the scary world!

Furthermore, I have a wonderful dog. They say that dogs are man’s best friend, and I truly believe it! Unlike people, a dog isn’t afraid to love you, kiss you, play with you, spend time together, let you hold them in your arms, hug, cuddle, or sleep in the same bed. A dog has no concept of romance, and so you can enjoy those things with them without the stigma that goes with the social context implied by human relationships. You can’t do “romantic” things with friends, because they are only friends. Talking with friends on twitter and IRC, and being with my dog is enough to cheer me up.

I don’t really believe there is anyone out there for me anymore, or that I’ll ever have a relationship. I’ll never get to experience something as simple as holding another person’s hand. And you know what? That is okay. It is better to forget about the idea of romance. As far as I’m concerned it doesn’t exist! I can be happy without it, so why should I seek it? Why should I need it? I don’t need it, and other people probably don’t either! I think society as a whole would lead happier and healthier lives if we spread that message, and that seems like a good thing to do.