There was the year that a boyfriend told me he'd organise something 'special', then got so drunk at a party the night before that he spent the day sleeping off his hangover whilst I watched the box set of Sex and the City that he bought me as my present - which, might I add, he presented to me still in its HMV bag. Ugh.
Then there was the year I was stuck in some remote hotel room somewhere in Birmingham with this guy I was in one of those strange non-committal but kind of committed relationships with, eating fish and chips after helping him do some work-related stuff since 6 in the morning. Zzzzzzz...
And then last year I shared a less-than romantic Mc Donald's meal with my Uber driver after a night out in Shoreditch. I did that annoying "can you take me home via Mc Donald's please?!" thing that I sometimes do, and offered to get him something. So we chatted our way through our midnight feasts whilst discussing our weirdest Valentine's experiences - ironic, huh?
As girls we're fed by the media and Hollywood and everything around us this ultra shiny, Instagram-perfect idea so that in our pre-teen years we simply dream of having the perfect Valentine's Day. All the cliche's galore! A bouquet of red roses is a great place to start, no amount of chocolate in heart-shaped boxes is ever enough and if I don't get at least one I Love You teddy bear then you're dumped! Basically. But by the time we are in our late teens and early twenties, there's been a strange shift where we're so disillusioned by the whole thing we seem to hate it. "Commercialised and capitalised love! Cliche! Overrated!" we all scream whilst simultaneously rolling our eyes at our boyfriends saying "don't buy me anything" - only to then get completely furious at them on V Day when they actually don't get us anything. (Admit it! You've so done it too!) We're in that stage of our lives where we're playing it cool, being uber nonchalant and blase, because being in love and showing your emotions simply isn't cool - you loved-up losers!
My theory is this: our falling out of love with the day that celebrates love is partly because the romanticised Valentine's we always dreamed of set our standards higher than our crappy boyfriends could ever really reach. They hadn't got a chance! Life isn't a shiny rom com, and your late teens and early twenties are turbulent times of development when you're still working out how to really deal with other human beings properly so chances are, somebody is going to mess it up somehow. And just like that, we had our dreams crushed - just a little - by dumb teenage boyfriends (refer back to my opening paragraph for examples...)
But a girl can only take so many romantic disasters before learning something important. Where does it leave us now, as fierce independent women who can't (and won't) rely on a man with a bunch of red roses to make our Valentine's special? It's not about lowering your expectations (trust me, no girl should spend her Valentine's Day in a pretty dress whilst her boyfriend snores off his hangover) but simply changing them. Forget about the unreliable and clueless, and set your sights on spending your time with the ones who always have your back: your girls.
I am a girl's girl through and through - I mean, you can probably tell it by my seriously pro-girl agenda on this blog! So I'm saying why not celebrate it with each other instead? Forget about Valentine's Day - Galentine's has a far better ring to it.
Your girls are the special ones that always have your back, opening their doors to you with arms wide open, whilst simultaneously clutching much-needed hobnobs and a bottle of pinot, ready to listen when you've just had your heart broken. They help you decipher cryptic whatsapps, and co-write the perfect witty/sassy/sharp response. They are the ones who hold your hair back whilst you're sick after a few too many tequilas (and probably take some photos too for emotional blackmail - all about the balance!) and help you keep it together when you're freaking out (unnecessarily) that you might be pregnant.
Treat yourself and treat them, because we don't really have a day where we really say thanks to the girl's that we love the most. Fob off your fellas, head out for some retail therapy and buy yourself (or them!) something nice. Put on your favourite PrettyLittleThing dresses, go out for drinks and don't come home until the sun comes up. Take selfies. Dance to Beyonce. Do silly snapchats. Give the creepers at the bar some sass because you're simply not (and never would be) interested. Dance to Beyonce some more!
I promise you, you won't ever be disappointed again.
To get you a little inspired, I've made a couple of wish lists of the things necessary for the essential Galentine's Day - and keep scrolling to the bottom to shop my outfit!
Whether you're ditching the dudes to spend the big night with your best gal pals, slaying on the dance floor and showing your ex what he's missing, or actually being treated to a successfully romantic date, PrettyLittleThing has all of the perfect pieces to set pulses racing. #GalsOverGosling #GalentinesDay
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