The Single Lesbian’s Guide to Surviving Valentine’s Day

Being single isn’t always a bad thing. As times change, more and more young women are embracing the freedom of single status. Celebrities are like Emma Watson – who is proudly ‘self-partnered’ – are happily flying solo. I can honestly say that I love being single. But there’s a certain time of year when the world is full of reminders that some things are better with two: Valentine’s Day.

Every year it’s the same. Shop displays are all about cards and chocolates. You can’t turn on the TV without seeing a romantic comedy. And the commercial breaks are crammed full of adverts for engagement rings and all-inclusive holidays. The cards, the movies, and even the advertising are all super straight. His & Hers remains the default on everything – from tacky mugs to tanned (but always white) couples in films and ads.

Even so, lesbians aren’t immune to this constant social messaging that we should be in a relationship or actively looking for one. I have spent more than one Valentine’s evening watching Imagine Me And You – the ultimate feel-good lesbian rom-com – in my pajamas, alone except for two good friends: Ben and Jerry. As a single woman in my early twenties, Valentine’s Day made me feel like the most important things in life were passing me by.

But now I’m a single woman in my late 20s. And I know that’s bullshit. Being single has given me the space to think about what I would want from a partner, and what would make a relationship right for me. For example, I’ve realized that I only want to build a life with another woman of color.

Admittedly, this limits my options. The lesbian dating scene in Scotland is whiter than Bing Crosby’s dream of a white Christmas. But life is short, and I don’t want to spend it as the lone speck of brown in family photos. And – crucially – I don’t want to raise a daughter knowing that her other mother might look at her through the lens of racism.

Being single is so much better than being stuck in a relationship with the wrong person. And that’s a detail that’s left out of the Valentine’s Day hype. Valentine’s Day was created by the Catholic Church. And it was put on steroids by capitalism. Neither of these institutions has the greatest track record when it comes to lesbians. So ignore tradition and do what makes you happy.

Being single is so much better than being stuck in a relationship with the wrong person. And that’s a detail that’s left out of the Valentine’s Day hype. Valentine’s Day was created by the Catholic Church. And it was put on steroids by capitalism. Neither of these institutions has the greatest track record when it comes to lesbians. So ignore tradition and do what makes you happy.

If you’re single and you want to celebrate the relationships in your life, plan something special for Galentine’s Day. If you’re single and want the steamier side of Valentine’s Day, buy yourself some decent sex toys. Trust me, it’s an investment you won’t regret.

I may not be one half of a happy couple. But I am a whole woman who finds at least one thing to be happy about every single day. And that wouldn’t be the case if I hadn’t spent time being single, devoting this time and energy and care to myself. Being single has taught me to treat myself with gentleness and respect – and that any woman who fails to do this doesn’t deserve a place in my life.

The idea of spending my twenties single would once have been devastating. But now, regardless of whether or not I find a woman I want to spend the rest of my life with, I know that it will be a good life. A complete life, filled with culture and crafting, friends and family, travel and adventure.