What is the difference between a new graduate and Cupid? Nothing! You are both optimistic beings with an overwhelming zest for life and a romanticised view of the world. You are fun-loving; imbued with a sense of goodwill and a burning desire to make your mark on the world. Fast forward four years and the only resemblance remaining is that you are both naked, vulnerable babies trying to navigate through a world filled with other lonely cynics. People expect much more than you have to offer and curse all of your misfires. Welcome to your life!
While this is most certainly the season for ostracising overly affectionate couples, it must be remembered that even the taken can be equally disdainful of St. Valentine’s holiday. I myself am betrothed and did not experience the anticipated welcome pack of romance and self-fulfilment on my very first Valentine’s Day. In fact, our attempt at a slightly fancy hungover meal out was inescapably cringeworthy. As we sheltered underneath papier maché hearts and tried to avoid the smug gaze of fellow couples, we proceeded to discuss our ravenous hunger. I have no clue if the other couples were discussing baby names and skirting boards but I certainly did not feel that I belonged to the same category.
I might even dare to be so bold and suggest that it is almost worse to be in a couple on February 14th. Before you aim your pitchforks, do be reminded that I enjoyed a blissful 20 years of male-free V-days and I too, once scorned the other side. I continue to despise the assumption that every singleton yearns to find their counterpart in a chance encounter, perhaps in a log cabin on a rainy day, or a similar Nicholas Sparks vomit-inducing scenario. But that is the beauty of the holiday; the entitlement to sling figurative eggs at the red heart industry and be reassured that the promise of promiscuity and freedom lay ahead.
This brings me back to the equipollent life of a college student. We are indoctrinated to believe that your graduation is the culmination of all your hard work and will validate all of your life choices up until that point. Earn a degree! Nab a man! And all your dreams will be realised. But of course, we all want what we can’t have. When we get the ambiguous Arts qualification, we realise we should have probably opted for a more specified degree. Likewise, when we get that person to snuggle up to on the couch, we wish to revert back to Party Island where compromise and dependence are urban myths.
I am not an embittered cat lady (not yet anyway). But Cupid is a dirty liar. And so are our guidance counsellors.
P.S. Apologies to my other half. You can dump me on the 15th.