Unfortunately, Valentines’ Day is here.



As you may be able to tell, I’m not the biggest fan of those old Saint Valentines. No that’s not a typo. Now I’m sure some of you lovebirds with your partners and social life love the opportunity to celebrate this forsaken day. To you I say two things:

1) How dare you! >:(

2) Yeah that’s fair, enjoy what you want. Valentines’ can be a fun day, and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying it.

However, some of us are curmudgeonly old grinches who despise joy and human connection, so we shall complain!

This so called “holiday” is nothing but a corporate sacrifice organised by and directed to Big Chocolate and Big Flower and Big Card. The companies do not care about your love, they just want to make bank by slapping a heart on their product and demanding your money. And it’s not like they’re even using the real shape of a heart! This is what a heart looks like and don’t you dare use any other shape!


So why do we even celebrate this “Valentine” chap?

Valentines’ Day grew from a Christian celebration honouring Saint Valentine of Rome and Saint Valentine of Terni (who may or may not be the same person). There is also a third Saint Valentine who did things in Africa but he was only mentioned in like one book, so we don’t know much about him. This is why I’ve been calling it Valentines Day, there’s like 3 Valentines. So VR and VT were both priests back in the third century when the Roman Empire was very…. stabby when it came to Christians, so they both got executed. The Christian Church was like “damn, that sucks, they were good dudes and maybe performed miracles, we should recognise that” so decided to make them saints and have a day for them. Supposedly Valentine of Rome healed the blindness of his jailer’s daughter, which was his miracle.

So… what does any of this have to do with love?


Any take on a tale of a Saint Valentine being a romantic dude are fabrications made after Valentines’ Day was made all lovey dovey.

And when did Valentines’ Day become all about romance?

The first Valentines’ Day was celebrated in 496 CE, whereas the first mention of it as a romantic thing was in 1382 CE. That’s nearly 900 years later! This holiday has been celebrated non-romantically longer than it has romantically!

Also the Valentines are thieves, they stole the day of love from poor Saint Gregory and/or Saint Vincent, as well as stealing Saint Anthony’s status as patron of love.

But enough about those old geezers, let’s actually talk about the day. Like a parasite, virus, or cancer, Vals’ has spread across the world, to varying levels of success and through varying levels of change.

In Japan, Valentines got separated into multiple days, Valentines’ and White Day. Valentines’ Day became the day for girls and woman to give chocolate to men. There’s still a level of romance with this, but you give chocolate to everyone, with varying amounts of quantity and value. If you’re an unlucky sap who’s on someone’s hitlist, you’ll get crappy “chō-giri choko”: ultra obligatory chocolate.

When White Day rolls around a month later, the men then have to give gifts, usually of sweets, back to those who gave them chocolate.

It’s a cute enough tradition, even if it is pretty gendered.

But the South Koreans decided to make another day for all the LOSERS who didn’t get any gifts, called Black Day. Which is an absolutely brutal move. The general idea is that you wear black, eat black food, and lament your single life. WHAT A MOOD.

Pictured below: a Black Day “celebration”


You may be relieved to hear that not every country celebrates Valentines’ romantically!  Estonia, Finland, and most of Latin America all view it as more of a friendship day.

India isn’t a big fan of Valentines’ so last year one of their government branches, the Animal Welfare Board of India, decided that maybe they could do some fun rebranding on the day to make it more wholesome and relevant. Thus “Cow Hug Day” was born! Cows are sacred in India, so why not shower them with extra affection once a year?

Sadly, Cow Hug Day was not a success. Which is sad news for the cows out there who enjoy being hugged.

Now some countries, like me, dislike Valentines’ Day enough that they’ve actually banned it!

Saudi Arabia has a ban on Valentines’ Day, to the point where they’ve banned the sale of all Valentines’ Day memorabilia. Consequently, the black market started to boom, selling such illicit substances as roses and wrapping paper, those dastardly criminals.

But enough about the worldly misadventures of a Saint’s day, let’s get into real beef.

The thing with Valentines’ Day that causes this mass of hatred within me is the overwhelming status quo the holiday represents.

There’s this really old-fashioned idea in society. When you grow up, you’re going to get married and have a house and have a nine to five job and have your nuclear family of husband, wife, and 2.5 kids and any exception is abnormal. In the media almost every story is forced to be a romance.  It bleeds through the screens, through the books, through the lips of friends, family, teachers, blares in our minds, is stamped into our soul.

And then Valentines’ comes around and this cacophonous message crescendos.


It’s tiring.

Society is not a monolith. There are people who don’t want the generic guy and gal romance. There are gay folk who want partners like themselves, polyamorous partners who don’t believe in only one true love.

Aromantics and Asexuals have it particularly hard, especially around Valentines’. There’s so much societal pressure to get a partner, to become a nuclear family, that when people never get these desires they feel unnatural and outcast. People are surprisingly judgmental about those who don’t want to be part of a couple.

So let’s shine a light on those who haven’t fallen madly in love. For you, dear reader, I have collected some stories that focus on those who are asexual and aromantic, as a bit of a shield to protect you from the rabid bombardment of “love”.


The butterfly assassin / Longman, Finn
“Girl by day, assassin by night: a dark, twisting thriller about a teen assassin’s attempt to live a normal life. Trained and traumatised by a secret assassin programme for minors, Isabel Ryans wants nothing more than a new life as a normal civilian. And she might just be in with a shot when she befriends Emma Westray, because for the first time in her life things are looking up. But when Isabel blows her cover by impulsively murdering a burglar, she draws the attention of the guilds – the two organisations who control the city of Espera. An unaffiliated killer like Isabel is either a potential asset … or a threat to be eliminated. Can a killer ever truly escape their ghosts?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Aces wild : a heist / DeWitt, Amanda
“Some people join chess club, some people play football. Jack Shannon runs a secret blackjack ring in his private school’s basement. What else is the son of a Las Vegas casino mogul supposed to do? Everything starts falling apart when Jack’s mom is arrested for their family’s ties to organized crime. His sister Beth thinks this is the Shannon family’s chance to finally go straight, but Jack knows that something’s not right. His mom was sold out, and he knows by whom: Peter Carlevaro: rival casino owner and jilted lover. Gross. Jack hatches a plan to find out what Carlevaro’s holding over his mom’s head, but he can’t do it alone. He recruits his closest friends–the asexual support group he met through fandom forums. Now all he has to do is infiltrate a high-stakes gambling club and dodge dark family secrets, while hopelessly navigating what it means to be in love while asexual. Easy, right?”– Book jacket” (Catalogue)

Dear Wendy / Zhao, Ann
“Aromantic and asexual students Sophie and Jo, engaged in an online feud as the creators of popular relationship advice accounts “Dear Wendy” and “Sincerely Wanda,” unwittingly become real-life friends and navigate their shared aroace identities as they face the challenges of college life.” (Catalogue)

Loveless / Oseman, Alice
“It was all sinking in. I’d never had a crush on anyone. No boys, no girls, not a single person I had ever met. What did that mean? Georgia has never been in love, never kissed anyone, never even had a crush – but as a fanfic-obsessed romantic she’s sure she’ll find her person one day. As she starts university with her best friends, Pip and Jason, in a whole new town far from home, Georgia’s ready to find romance, and with her outgoing roommate on her side and a place in the Shakespeare Society, her ‘teenage dream’ is in sight. But when her romance plan wreaks havoc amongst her friends, Georgia ends up in her own comedy of errors, and she starts to question why love seems so easy for other people but not for her. With new terms thrown at her – asexual, aromantic – Georgia is more uncertain about her feelings than ever. Is she destined to remain loveless? Or has she been looking for the wrong thing all along?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Elatsoe / Little Badger, Darcie
“Imagine an America very similar to our own. It’s got homework, best friends, and pistachio ice cream. There are some differences. This America has been shaped dramatically by the magic, monsters, knowledge, and legends of its peoples, those Indigenous and those not. Some of these forces are charmingly everyday, like the ability to make an orb of light appear or travel across the world through rings of fungi. But other forces are less charming and should never see the light of day. Seventeen-year-old Elatsoe (“Ellie” for short) lives in this slightly stranger America. She can raise the ghosts of dead animals, a skill passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family. Her beloved cousin has just been murdered, in a town that wants no prying eyes. But she is going to do more than pry. The picture-perfect façade of Willowbee masks gruesome secrets, and she will rely on her wits, skills, and friends to tear off the mask and protect her family” — Publisher’s description.” (Catalogue)

Seven ways we lie / Redgate, Riley
“A chance encounter tangles the lives of seven high school students, each resisting the allure of one of the seven deadly sins, and each telling their story from their seven distinct points of view.” (Catalogue)

The lady’s guide to petticoats and piracy / Lee, Mackenzi
“A year after a whirlwind grand tour with her brother Monty, Felicity Montague has returned to England with two goals in mind: avoid the marriage proposal of a lovestruck suitor from Edinburgh and enroll in medical school. But the administrators, see men as the sole guardians of science. When a doctor she idolizes marries an friend of hers in Germany, Felicity believes he could change her future. A mysterious young woman will pay Felicity’s way, if Felicity will let her travel along– as her maid. Soon they’re on a perilous quest that leads them across the promenades of Zurich to secrets lurking beneath the Atlantic. — adapted from jacket” (Catalogue)

Belle révolte / Miller, Linsey
“From the author of the Mask of Shadows duology comes a standalone fantasy where two young women must trade lives, work together to stay alive, and end a war caused by magic and greed. Emilie des Marais is more at home holding scalpels than embroidery needles and is desperate to escape her noble roots to serve her country as a physician. But society dictates a noble lady cannot perform such gruesome work. Annette Boucher, overlooked and overworked by her family, wants more from life than her humble beginnings and is desperate to be trained in magic. So when a strange noble girl offers Annette the chance of a lifetime, she accepts. Emilie and Annette swap lives-Annette attends finishing school as a noble lady to be trained in the ways of divination, while Emilie enrolls to be a physician’s assistant, using her natural magical talent to save lives. But when their nation instigates a terrible war, Emilie and Annette come together to help the rebellion unearth the truth before it’s too late.” (Catalogue)

Radio silence / Oseman, Alice
“What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong? Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside. But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken. Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past…She has to confess why Carys disappeared…Meanwhile at uni, Aled is alone, fighting even darker secrets. It’s only by facing up to your fears that you can overcome them. And it’s only by being your true self that you can find happiness. Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has.” (Adapted from Catalogue)



So long, good luck surviving!