Inspired by a recent trend on Instagram and Twitter

by Claire Kyllonen, Staff Writer

All you need to enjoy your single Valentine’s Day: clearance chocolate and good friends.

Dating way back to elementary school days, I can remember loving Valentine’s Day. As a grade schooler, it meant we got to spend a day of class designing and coloring Valentine boxes and then passing out cards and candy. Everyone ate, laughed and enjoyed themselves together. Isn’t it funny how we couldn’t wait to grow up?

I can’t tell what time it happened exactly, but somewhere around fourth or fifth grade, everything ┬ájust flipped. Suddenly, there were “girls” and “boys” sections at the lunch table. A girl couldn’t play kickball with the guys unless she wanted to be called a “tomboy.” A boy and girl couldn’t even talk to each other without getting snickered at by everyone else. The opposite sexes didn’t even acknowledge each other unless it was a stolen glance in class or teasing. As far as I knew, all the boys in my class were dumb and Disney Princes were way better.

Then middle school happened, or my worst nightmare, as I like to call it. Hormones started surging, along with the rumors of who liked who. Everything became a “he-said-she-said” situation. I went to my first Valentine’s Day dance with a group of girls, and it was one of the most awkward experiences of my life. Most people just stood around the dance floor or (if they were me) lounged around the snack bar. Almost all of the “couples” were too embarrassed to slow dance (if you can even call it that) because everyone would stare at them. No one knew what to do with themselves, and before too long, overly excited parents had arrived to pick us up. I remember being relieved that it was over and clamoring to take off my painful shoes when I got in the car.

Fast forward to freshman year of high school. I thought my first day I’d feel so much more mature and closer to adulthood. Well, that didn’t happen. It took a little longer for me to realize the changes going on. Turns out, all that year really taught me was where attached-at-the-hip couples would go to and I wanted to avoid them.

Present day. Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr. Basically, all I ever hear about outside of school. All of these social networking sites have supposedly made communication easier than ever before. But, has it really? The way I see it, it’s only made things more confusing. Overall, boys still don’t understand girls, and girls still don’t understand boys. Furthermore, the intense pressure that’s put on society when it comes to celebrating Valentine’s Day has hit an all-time high. This can be seen in pictures, postings, and ramblings of emotionally frustrated teenagers that have come to plague social networking.

What “lonely” girls and guys should realize is that they’re not the only ones. I know it may frustrate someone to hear that, but it’s an important point to make. Also, just because you may not have a “significant other” this year does not mean you won’t for the rest of your life. What we can do is celebrate and cherish the Valentine’s Days we celebrate with friends or family (as we raid the clearance chocolate bin at WalMart). If ranting or rambling is needed (I’m an expert at this), there is no better cure than an endless supply of ice cream and a friend to listen. If involved in the aftermath of a breakup, I recommend lots of pillows and Disney movies. If currently in a relationship, well, be careful. People may make faces at you this Friday.