Depending on your relationship status, Valentine’s Day can be either bliss or torture. What appears to be yet another Hallmark holiday on the surface is actually rooted in centuries of history, with the ever-sweet myth of St. Valentine story to remind everyone that love is great.
Unless you’re in college. If you’re in college, love is not great. It’s actually terrible.
I’m not talking about people in steady, committed relationships. To those people, I say congratulations. You get to watch the rest of us struggle to survive in the shark tank that is college dating. Since hookup culture has taken root in the lives of college students, Valentine’s Day is a sad reminder that the one guy you met at Maggie’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill definitely won’t text you. And that cute girl from your biology class who was totally girlfriend material? Forget it. She too partakes in hookup culture and may just want to copy your biology notes.
I know I sound cynical, but there is a remedy to this unfortunate bifurcation between the adorable Valentine’s Day tradition and the harsh realities of current dating trends. I am here to remind you about Galentine’s Day. I first heard about Galentine’s Day from the “Parks and Recreation” character Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), but it is not a new concept. Galentine’s Day refers to the beautiful day of the year dedicated to buying sale-priced chocolates and celebrating the kind of relationship that won’t let you down: good old platonic friendship.
Instead of being sad that you don’t have a significant other, be the strong independent woman (or man) you were meant to be, gather your closest gals and/or bros and treat yourselves to some discounted chocolate or literally anything else that helps you unwind and have fun.
I am a sucker for a good Valentine’s Day celebration. Who doesn’t love sappy movies, excessive amounts of sugar and homemade cards that look like they were crafted by a second grader? But as I have grown older and wiser, I find that spending time with single, platonic friends is equally important.
Unfortunately, Galentine’s Day cannot entirely distract us from the fact that hookup culture is failing to smoothly integrate into traditions of the past. Gone are the days of going steady or getting pinned. Valentine’s Day throws the realities of how difficult hookup is into sharp relief. These days, the culture of casual hookups has stopped resembling a looser form of dating and instead functions as an excuse for faux-commitment.
As a self-professed “relationship person,” I struggle to understand the draw to this culture as it seems to cause most young people nothing but emotional hurt and discomfort. Whether or not you believe that humans are meant to be monogamous, there seems to be a disproportionate number of unhappy hookups out there. People of all genders and sexual orientations are left wondering what emotions and motivations might be lurking behind a simple flirtation.
Hookup culture is destroying the traditional customs of relationships and, unfortunately, is kicking Valentine’s Day traditions to the curb. But where Valentine’s Day falls short and loses cultural significance, Galentine’s Day will never disappoint.
Annie Cohen is a College sophomore from New Orleans.