Valentine's Day-a time for love, romance and thoughtfulness. It's also a time for expensive dates, elegant flowers and even more expensive gifts for the one you love. We look at Feb. 14 as the day when couples celebrate their bond with each other, a moment where hearts are filled with adoration and an assortment of fine chocolates.

Yet in the midst of this orgy of forget-me-nots and cards, one group is left outside alone-the singles. The entire holiday revolves around those who are currently in relationships, spreading affection to those who are fortunate enough to be involved with a special someone. And for those who happen to be without a significant other, well, better luck next year.

As a chronically single person, I say not this time. This year I am going to have a day where I can celebrate my relationships with my friends. No longer shall I sit in the background and think, "Maybe next time around." I am going to be proactive and create my own holiday. Singles Awareness Day.

Actually, I can't take the full credit. This holiday was invented by myself and some of my high school friends back in the day. In a unilateral response to the endless amounts of balloons and candy our coupled friends were receiving at school, this group decided to have a day where the single people can hold their heads up high.

So on Feb. 15, just one day after the dreaded V-Day, the singles get together and give each other gifts. Not only do we get discounted "day after" candy, but we also have a time where we can say, "We're tired of the pity we get, sick of the stigma surrounding single life and exhausted from being so bitter about happy couples."

Singles Awareness is a time where we can be happy about being unattached, even for just one day. We rejoice in the knowledge that we have great friends. We refuse to feel sorry for ourselves, and, contrary to what some may think, we don't take the time to sit around all day and pray for someone.

There are no tears that day, no shame and nobody to go home to. And it's perfect.

I am surprised this idea wasn't thought up long ago. For too long have we been denied the right to take part of the rampant commercialism that envelops V-Day. We have sat idly by while florists delivering flowers and messages of lust and love walk past us. Our hearts leapt in our throats as we found a Valentine card in our mail, only to discover our dentist wants us to enjoy the holiday and remember that our lovers love clean teeth.

Yeah, Singles Awareness Day is needed.

Being single can be exhausting. We have good days and bad days, so why can't we have one guaranteed good one? Couples that fight always manage to call a truce for one day to get their freak on. So shouldn't single people have one day where we'll know in advance we won't be made to feel like crap for being alone?

I think so. In fact, I know it. I am through with the disgrace and embarrassment. I am single. I have my own day now, too. A day when my friends buy me things, as if they're saying, "OK, so you're single again. But this time I'm going to reward you for your hard work throughout the past year. This is for the countless hours you've spent talking to dead-end people. This is for the emotional stress caused by all the relationship games. This is for the bad dates, the fights and the tears. You've been though a lot attempting to snag someone. Now, just for today, you can rest. This is for you, my single friend. Happy Singles Awareness Day."

Dustin Barnes is a senior communication major. He can be reached at life@reflector.msstate.edu.

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