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Single People Are Refusing to Be Shamed on Valentine’s Day

Last year around Valentine’s Day, a digital financial company in the UK, Revolut, thought is was oh-so-clever when it created an ad that said, “To the 12,750 people who ordered a single takeaway on Valentine’s Day: You ok, hun?

Do you know who was not okay after that? Revolut. They got inundated with complaints for their utterly condescending, singles-shaming message. Single people just aren’t taking that singlist crap anymore.

Beyond the condescension, the ad was oblivious to how we live now. For many people, single and coupled, take-out is an ordinary part of everyday life. And as more take-out delivery services pop up, it is becoming increasingly so. Getting take-out is not something we do because we feel sorry for ourselves; it’s a convenience, or maybe even a treat.

(The people upset with Revolut also complained about the creepiness of a company that monitors what you buy, how much, and on what days, but that’s not as relevant to the Valentine’s Day theme of this article.)

There’s something else that single people aren’t going along with anymore – the embarrassingly narrow-minded idea that the people who should be valued more than anyone else are spouses and other romantic partners. As I explained in Singled Out, at other times and in other places, our notions of love were much more expansive.

Sometimes it takes a sitcom to shake us out of our matrimaniacal mindset. On a 2010 episode of Parks and Recreation, Amy Poehler’s character, Leslie Knope, introduced Galentine’s Day: “Every February 13, my ladyfriends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies.” I don’t like the assumption that everyone has a spouse or romantic partner (or that those partners are all going to be men), but I do like the idea of valuing and celebrating friendship.

Galentine’s Day has caught on. Perhaps the real indication that the holiday is now taken seriously is that it has been co-opted by businesses using it to sell stuff – often pink, heart-themed things.

Sasha Cagen, author of Quirkyalone, was on to a similar and even more expansive idea when she introduced International Quirkyalone Day in 2003:

International Quirkyalone Day (Feb. 14) is a do-it-yourself celebration of romance, friendship, and independent spirit. It’s a celebration of all kinds of love: romantic, platonic, familial, and yes, self-love.

International Quirkyalone Day is not anti-Valentine’s Day. It’s NOT a pity party for single people. It’s an alternative–a feel-good alternative to the marketing barrage of Valentine’s Day and an antidote to the silicone version of love presented in shows such as The Bachelor.

It just happens to fall on the same day as Valentine’s Day. That’s our story and we’re sticking to it!

Valentine’s Day is a good day to celebrate all the important people in our lives. But so is every other day.

Counter-programming in the form of Galentine’s Day or International Quirkyalone Day are examples of ways to resist the matrimaniacal messages of Valentine’s Day. Another option – one that perhaps comes naturally to some of us – is to simply ignore it. I wonder how many of those 12,750 people mentioned in Revolut’s ad never even thought about Valentine’s Day when they ordered take-out last year.

Photo by globochem3x1minus1

Single People Are Refusing to Be Shamed on Valentine’s Day

Bella DePaulo, Ph.D

Bella DePaulo (Ph.D., Harvard; Academic Affiliate, Psychological and Brain Sciences, UC Santa Barbara), an expert on single life, is the author of several books, including "Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After" and "How We Live Now: Redefining Home and Family in the 21st Century." Her TEDx talk is "What no one ever told you about people who are single," Dr. DePaulo has discussed singles and single life on radio and television, including NPR and CNN, and her work has been described in newspapers such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and magazines such as Time, Atlantic, the Week, More, the Nation, Business Week, AARP Magazine, and Newsweek. Dr. DePaulo is in her sixties. She has always been single and always will be. She is "single at heart" -- single is how she lives her best and most meaningful life. Visit her website at

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APA Reference
DePaulo, B. (2019). Single People Are Refusing to Be Shamed on Valentine’s Day. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 23, 2019, from


Last updated: 5 Feb 2019
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