The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday August 9th

Column: Reclaiming February for single people

DTH Photo Illustration. Valentine's Day isn't always a day of love.
Buy Photos DTH Photo Illustration. Valentine's Day isn't always a day of love.

My mom always told me there were lots of fish in the sea. And in a way, she was right. 

There are thousands of people at UNC, many of whom are wonderful, down-to-earth people who would make a great significant other. But my mom forgot to consider a few factors: the attractiveness of the fish, where the fish lives, the age of the fish, the fish’s personality, their potential red flags, the circles the fish swims in, what the fish is studying, what the fish wants out of a relationship and, most importantly, if the fish has already been caught on someone else’s hook. 

This is where the month of February comes into play.

February is supposed to be the most romantic, let’s-show-the-world-we’re-in-a-relationship month of the year. And to many, it is exactly that. 

On Valentine’s Day, these people were presented with flowers, chocolates and personalized gifts — all in the name of love. That night, they went on dinner dates at fancy restaurants or picnicked under the stars. In the days following, this affectionate affair doesn’t just disappear, but manifests itself into a dreamy couple of weeks where couples can reflect on and celebrate their relationship — and other people’s lack thereof. 

Couples have had enough fun and games this month, so it’s time for us single people to do some quick spelling: You can’t spell Valentine’s without "i." You can’t spell romance without "me." One anagram of "heart" is "hater" (sorry, that’s not exact spelling — I’ve just been playing too much Wordle lately.)

But these few puns shouldn’t be the only win that single people get this month. In fact, for the reasons below, I argue that people who are not in relationships actually have a better February than those in relationships:

Expectations

Personally, I know I’m an optimistic, cup-half-full type of person. But even pessimists and realists in relationships can’t help but have high expectations for Valentine’s Day. From gifts to surprise dates to romantic letters, everyone has a mental checklist they subconsciously hope their significant other will check off — and if they miss a box, disappointment is inevitable. However, single people have zero expectations during the month of February. We know our place, and because of our lack of hope, even the smallest positive gesture comes as a happy surprise rather than a discouraging relationship setback.

Effort

On Feb. 14, I slept in until 11:30 a.m., woke up, brushed my teeth, got dressed in a casual outfit and went to class. I had dinner with friends, joked about all of the groups in the Pit who were trying to shove roses down our throats, went to the gym, did some homework and went to bed. And honestly, it was a great day. It might not have been a starlit dinner on the balcony of TOPO, but I prioritized my self-care. People in relationships not only care for themselves, but a whole OTHER person as well. 

Their Feb. 14s were filled with stress, pressure and expensive reservations, while the worst part of my day was that not enough people laughed at my rose joke. 

Social media

Valentine’s Day social media is a complex entity. For single people, it can be disheartening, monotonous, but very informative. These posts tell us who’s on and off the market — how many fish there really are in the sea. But for people in relationships, social media is a turbulent sea of to-dos and not-to-dos: to post or not to post, to caption or not to caption, to use three red heart emojis or not to use three red heart emojis. 

Marketing your relationship on social media also contains two distinct paths: the soft launch and the hard launch. The soft launch is a subtle reference to your significant other — maybe an Instagram story post that shows a glimpse of their hand or the back of their head (and no tag). Soft launches are usually exercised by new couples who are still figuring out their dos and not-to-dos, or long-standing couples who have been dating since middle school and know people are tired of seeing them celebrate their "best friend and boyfriend who made me the person I am today."

A hard launch, on the other hand, is an overwhelming, pervasive social media takeover that ensures that every single follower sees and envies their soulmateship. However, if you end up breaking up in the weeks after a hard launch, it’s incredibly embarrassing — so this route is usually taken by the most stable couples (or those who really want to make their exes jealous). 

I know this column is supposed to be about the successes of single people rather than the complex obstacles that couples have to go through during the month of February, but just thinking about the juxtaposition between soft launch and hard launch is giving me a headache — let alone actually posting it. 

Ultimately, relationships are stress-inducing, taxing nuisances — yet everyone wants to be in one. From dating apps to the UNC Crushes account, our society makes it so single people feel FOMO this month, but I think we need to start empowering single people. 

Single people take the time to brush their teeth in the morning. Single people prioritize writing the history essay worth 30 percent of their grade rather than going to someone’s apartment just to watch 15 minutes of a movie and fall asleep. 

Why are single people even called single? We came out of our mother’s womb as single people (except for twins and triplets, sorry guys). We took our first steps as single people. We get dressed and go to the bathroom and fall asleep as single people. 

Single people are just independent, self-sufficient individuals — so why do they get their name from the fact that they aren’t in a pair? Couples can feel free to celebrate their love any other month of the year. Single people are officially reclaiming the month of February.

(But if you do happen to be an attractive fish with a nice smile, kind eyes, sense of humor and great personality — hit me up.)

@_hannahkaufman

opinion@dailytarheel.com

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.



Comments

The Daily Tar Heel Victory Paper for March 7, 2022

Special Print Edition

Games & Horoscopes

Print Edition Games Archive