Editorial | It’s OK to be alone on Valentine’s Day

’Tis the season of pastel pink hearts, chocolates in heart-shaped boxes and adorable plushies. These items prominently line the shelves of stores while a million voices cry out, “I’m free on February 14th.” But amid all of the romantic pressure of the holiday, we want to remind you that it’s OK to spend Valentine’s Day with yourself.

If you find yourself “needing” a date for Valentine’s Day, you’re not alone.

In fact, this pressure to find a date underscores an altogether bigger issue: How college dating and hookup culture pressures individuals into having regrettable sex to find belonging.

For many of us, attending a university coincides with the point in our lives where we are given monumental freedoms that we have never experienced before. The knee-jerk reaction is to chase these highs without any concern for what we really want. How many doe-eyed freshmen go to parties looking for the love of their life only to be disappointed by the results?

We’re not saying that you shouldn’t participate in hookups or dating culture, so long as you enjoy it and practice it safely. The act itself is not the problem.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

The issue comes from the toxic aspects of college culture that make you feel as though you need to participate in hookup and dating culture. For example, some fraternities and sororities on campus regularly shame their brothers and sisters for not having sex.

But you don’t have to be in Greek life to be subjected to this kind of teasing. Boasting about sexual conquests and shaming others for lacking experience or interest is far too common online. The result? Feelings of inadequacy and estrangement.

This kind of language is symptomatic of our society that associates sex with status. The idea of this is that those who have sex and are able to “pull” a variety of different partners are superior to those who do not or choose not to. This way of thinking is inherently flawed.

Valentine’s Day comes from contentious origins — be it martyred priests or pagan fertility rituals. But this time of year has always been about sending romantic cards and lovemaking, and as everyone scrambles to find a date, the true meaning of love can get lost in translation.

In our society, the act of love is a paradox. When we rush into relationships, we often don’t stop to consider whether we’re mature enough to love at all. Broken hearts are not uncommon around Valentine’s Day.

Instead, you should love at your own pace and enter the dating scene when you feel ready to do so.

If you find yourself dateless on Valentine’s Day, fret not — there are a variety of different things you can do on campus that do not require a date. You could get your friends together and plan a movie night where you laugh at a rom-com. You could take yourself out on a date to a restaurant you’ve never been to before (we recommend making a reservation first).

If neither of these options suit you, then there’s nothing wrong with snuggling up on the couch with some cheap candy, putting on a movie you like and enjoying your own company.

This Valentine’s Day, we challenge you to fall in love with yourself. You might learn a thing or two about loving others.


[email protected]