What are your plans for Valentines day? Happy_Valentines_Day_by_seiyalover

Tucking into a snazzy meal in a fancy restaurant with your one true love?

Or how about sitting home alone, angrily scrolling through Instagram-filtered pictures of your friends living a more romantic life than you?

If you’re in the first group, then my advice to you is to avoid spaghetti, or any food that could result in you getting sauce all over your chin, shirt or date.

That is, of course, unless tomato sauce dripping off your face is the look you’re going for- hey, who am I to judge?

If you’re in the second group, then CANCEL YOUR PLANS IMMEDIATELY.

I have a better idea for you.

I think Valentines Day is actually a good thing. It’s a little bit cheesy, a little bit cliche, but it’s fun to spend a day thinking about romance.

Sure, it’s super-pink and we’re all bloated from the extra chocolate, but at least it’s trying to be sweet.

What I don’t like about V-Day, however, is the crazy pressure it puts on us.

If you don’t get a card, you’re not a failure.

If you’re home alone watching the Eastenders omnibus instead of on a hot date, you’re not wasting your time.

Even if you’re in a relationship, but you really hate the idea of spending loads of money on a silly gift for the sake of it, you’re not breaking any rules.

V-Day is supposed to be light-hearted fun, a day set aside to shyly whisper “I love you” to someone special.

It was never meant to make anyone feel bad for not being in a relationship, or to make people feel in any way unloved.

It’s crazy that a day about love has sadly turned into a day about loneliness.

So instead of feeling pressured to find a date, break the mould and remind yourself that you are loved, and you don’t need a bunch of red roses to prove it.

For more on valentines day turn to page 13 – 15 of Issue 2 of Shine ALOUD Magazine for ‘Valentines Day: now and then’ .

About Shine Aloud

We are a youth led social enterprise that aims to provide creative solutions to address sexual health inequalities among marginalised groups!