Single or not- I love Valentine’s day. Always have. I love the pinks and reds, the tacky flowers and fuzzy stuffed bears, chocolates everywhere, the glittering golden cards, the cheerful bunch of balloons. I don’t know what it is. I think there is something very cute and sweet in making all this fuss about love.
I’ve been rewatching Sex & The City lately. Most of my friends cringe when I tell them this. There’s a lot of filtering a Black, queer human like me must do to watch this kind of show. In one episode or another, the show is fatphobic, racist, transphobic, classist, sexist, ableist, homophobic, truly all the ignorant things. But in spite of all that-I love it. I don’t relate to the context clearly, but I relate to the feelings. And it makes me laugh. It’s comfort food. I noticed lately that watching Sex & The City feels different. These days, I don’t care much about the boyfriends and fiancees. The romantic love isn’t what moves me. Now it’s all about the platonic love. I watch Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samatha’s giggle and dish at their weekly girl’s brunch. Chatting about sex, and breakups. The way they are all so charmingly different and somehow the same. I want that! I don’t cry at the kissing and falling in love. Now, I cry at friend moments. Like when Charlotte finds out Miranda won’t go through with her abortion, she has to choke back her tears. “Oh my god. We’re having a baby”. Or when we find the four women sitting around a table at Miranda’s wedding. In spite of the happy day, Miranda insists that Samantha talk about her breast cancer. When the women hold hands. When they give each other space to be vulnerable. When they make each other stronger. These are the moments that make me feel gooey inside. Maybe I’m gayer than I used to be or maybe something is changing for me.
I used to LIVE for my partner. My girlfriend was the cake, my friends were icing. My love for my friends was deep and real but I didn’t spend a lot of time and energy showing it. All my energy went into my girlfriend. And I’m sure you know how that ends. An entire world crumbles away around me. I sleep on friend’s couches. I weep in their arms. And I scramble to rearrange my priorities, realizing how wrong I was to keep friendships on the sidelines of my life. And then I start dating again, partner up (again), and I’m a mediocre friend again. It’s an exhausting routine but it’s easy to slip into that pattern. If you’re very lucky- your romantic partnership will last until one of yall dies and it will be magical. If you’re most people-that shit is finite. In my heavy-handed Carrie Bradshaw narration voice I ask, “are friends the modern girl’s true love?”
An important note: TV is not real. You can’t have a romantic comedy love story. The same way you can’t have a Sex & the City friend crew. Life is more complicated than that. Our worlds stretch beyond hour-long episodes with neatly crafted narratives and lessons learned. But I can’t help pining for it. I want friends like that. I feel like the cliché “single girl” in every romantic comedy but instead of kisses in the rain, I’m dreaming of platonic spooning. I love my friends so much. They are my favorite people in the universe. They are weirdos and beautiful. They inspire me. They get me.
These days I go out looking for friends like I used to look for dates. I always thought people “looking for friends” on tinder were obnoxious. I’d roll my eyes and swipe left. Tinder is for casual sex, stop wasting everybody’s time. But now, I’m starting to understand the sentiment. I want friend dates! I want to make dinner, snuggle, skype, send letters. It’s simple and maybe it’s common sense to you-but I realized that my friendships are the strongest relationships I have. We disagree often, we drift apart and together. But the point at which a romantic relationship would end- a friendship changes shape.
These days most single folks celebrate the ANTI Valentine’s day. The whole I DON’T NEED a partner, FUCK love, FUCK my ex, I CAN DO BAD, GOOD, GORGEOUS all by my DAMN self. And I am no stranger to that holiday. That’s a day I celebrate ALL year round. But this year, I want to celebrate a new tradition. Leslie Knope (probably one of the best fictional friends on TV) popularized the ultimate friend holiday-Galentine’s day. Galentine’s Day is exactly what it sounds like. Observed on February 13th, it’s a day to celebrate platonic love and to shower your friends with gifts, compliments and cocktails. I interpret it as a day to do something romantic for a friend. My friends live all over the world, so it’s more about correspondence. Letters, voice notes, weird gifts, texts. Anything to connect with and grow closer to the true loves of my life.
This V day, and maybe this year in general give it a try. Be a weird creep and do something romantic for your homies. Spice up that friendship! Call your friends because you miss them-not because you’re falling apart. It’s a radical thought- but you are allowed to send flowers to someone you’re not fucking. It feels good. It won’t be perfect. Some of your friends will be emotionally unavailable, some will be too busy to hang out. Some new friends won’t be right for you. Some will crave more-than-friendships. And some friends break up with you just like partners do. Life is weird and hard like that. But I think it’s worth the effort to try. For me-being a good friend and having good friends is the ultimate happy ending. Of course it would be lovely to also get laid-but that would just be icing on the cake.
Happy galentine’s day, my boos.
Below are SOME of the loves of my life. What princes!