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February’s here, which to best of us agency algid and backbreaker with aloof a few ablaze spots: an anniversary examination of Groundhog Day, some affectionate of televised amount skating and yes, Valentine’s Day, a anniversary that, with its alone aerial affiliation to an abstruse saint, has continued been chided as a greeting agenda creation. But it’s broadly acclaimed nonetheless because yes, love, and what abroad is there to do in February? As I blazon this, I accept aloof moments ago advantaged in some Valentine’s-related burning by acclimation a alternative of best Valentines from Etsy. You ability accept I ordered these to duke out on Valentine’s Day, conceivably to leave a aisle of addendum for my admiring fiancé. But you’d be wrong—they’re absolutely for the fictional-turned-actual anniversary Galentine’s Day, and I plan to accelerate them to my changeable accompany with a cool yet feminist bulletin inside.
The affair is, I’ve never been abundant for the sincere, Hallmark-sanctioned affair of Valentine’s Day, and I don’t absolutely do adventurous cards. As for my fiancé, able-bodied the aftermost time I fabricated him a Valentine it featured a photo of Val Kilmer lying on a bank with the bulletin “Happy ‘VAL’-entine’s Day” (he admired it, and I’ve accommodated myself to the actuality that I’ll never top it). Sure, we go out to banquet because I’ll never absence an break to adjustment an cher cocktail and dessert. But all the roses and balloons and commercials for Jane Seymour’s Accessible Hearts accumulating can feel a little stifling.
Single or not, I’ve continued apparent the Valentine’s Day division as an alibi to get calm with girlfriends who accede its cheesiest aspects, like sickly-sweet alcohol specials at places like Bar Louie, or the usually abhorrent “date” movies that are abundant added fun aback watched with a snarky core of ladies (past notables accommodate the lamest-of-lame Valentine’s Day, He’s Aloof Not that Into You, and, of course, the decidedly absorbing Fifty Shades of Grey, best enjoyed with banned canned champagne). Because so abundant of the cultural programming about the anniversary is already geared against women, Galentine’s Day seems like a accustomed idea, aloof one that we had to delay for the abundant minds of Parks and Recreation to dream up.
Galentine’s Day fabricated its admission in a 2010 adventure of the sitcom. In the algid open, feminist charlatan Leslie Knope (played by feminist charlatan Amy Poehler) has aggregate her mother and accompany calm for a female-bonding brunch, presenting them all with active gifts, such as circuitous portraitsmade from ashamed soda bottles and 3,000-word essays on anniversary woman’s greatness. “It’s like Lilith Fair,” she explains, “minus the angst, additional frittatas!” There’s no added acknowledgment of Galentine’s Day in the episode, but those few aperture account were abundant to atom the imaginations of abounding changeable viewers—why don’t we accept a anniversary adulatory changeable friendship?
One of the things I admired best about Parks and Recreation at its aiguille was its adherence to changeable friendship, in accurate that amid Leslie and Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones), whose accord area the aboriginal two seasons in particular. In this post-Sex and the City-era, it’s accessible to balloon aloof how underrepresented changeable accord has continued been in accepted culture. The old adventurous brawl adumbration is that women accompany are generally present to accommodate bold admonition to our arch ladies, and again abandon because romance, like Rosie O’Donnell in Sleepless in Seattle or Bonnie Hunt in any ‘90s adventurous comedy. (Or booty the atrociousness committed by the banal Ashton Kutcher/Natalie Portman agent No Strings Attached, which ashen both Mindy Kaling and Greta Gerwig in such roles.)
But in the aforementioned way Parks and Rec put changeable accord first, Galentine’s Day is committed to appropriation up the ideal relationship. A changeable acquaintance is not a alleviation prize, or a chocolate-ice-cream-and-wine commitment actuality who ancestor over alone aback we’re distinct and dateless, but a acute allotment of our lives. Adventurous relationships get all the attention, but friendships accomplish the apple go ’round, too.
Rosie O’Donnell and Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle (image via Sony/TriStar)
I didn’t host my aboriginal Galentine’s Day anniversary until 2013, already I had become a certified Parks and Rec fanatic. That year, I fabricated a catch for a accumulation of girlfriends at a bounded brunch spot, and set about putting calm some Leslie Knope cards with architecture cardboard and glue. Likewise, my acquaintance fabricated heart-shaped accessory pins for the occasion, both of us award in these artless crafts a way to accurate our adherence to our accompany (and of advance to abet a wacky, pop culture-inspired acceptable time). It was a snowy, ice-cold Pittsburgh morning, but it’s nonetheless a abundant memory: laughing, brunching and bubbler mimosas was not out of the ordinary, but the asinine faculty of break was. It was a time to absolutely accede how beholden we were to accept anniversary other—minus angst, additional frittatas.
I was activity appealing able and aweless in my best to activate adulatory a television holiday. As a actuality who wrote her Master’s apriorism on Roseanne and never absent a TV affair song academic game, this was durably in my wheelhouse. But in talking to others about my February 13th brunch plans, I accomplished I wasn’t the alone one—far from it. A accomplished accumulation of women from my alum affairs were additionally adulatory Galentine’s Day with a brunch, and Facebook abreast me there were added still. I acquainted abnormally indignant: no one is a bigger Parks and Recreation fan than me! I wondered if bodies adulatory the anniversary were absolutely admirers of the show, or had artlessly heard of the concept. Quickly I accustomed that these were brainless thoughts to be having, and un-Leslie Knope-ish at that. Admirers or not, it didn’t matter: Galentine’s Day as a abstraction was already acceptable bigger than a TV show.
Now in 2016, the Internet is abounding of accessories on how to bless Galentine’s Day, and there’s alike a baby industry about it. In accession to chargeless printable cards, online shops action Galentine’s t-shirts, cards, tote bags, buttons, and alike wine accoutrements and canteen labels (wine actuality the actionable cooler of Galentine’s Day). A quick google chase for “Galentine’s Day 2016” allotment pages of after-effects announcement accessible events—a masquerade brawl for alms in Portsmouth, a women’s retreat in Tacoma, a appropriate roller derby bout in Indianapolis, an affected tea affair in Elkridge, Maryland. Are the organizers of these contest Leslie Knope fans? One would accept so. But abounding accomplish no acknowledgment of the appearance in their descriptions. It’s bright that in its way, Galentine’s Day has become a real, bona-fide holiday.
Still, Galentine’s Day charcoal adequately alien alfresco the specific demographic of women in their backward 20s and aboriginal 30s—the aforementioned accumulation for whom funny feminists like Poehler, Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling and Amy Schumer are an inspiration. But alfresco of this accumulation of us, Galentine’s Day doesn’t generally register. For example, a few years ago one of my accompany was alive as a copywriter for an online accouterment aggregation for adolescent women. Aback she referenced Galentine’s Day in one of her February artefact descriptions, she accustomed backdrop all about from her twenty-and-thirtysomething changeable coworkers. But her bang-up (an earlier man) didn’t feel the same: he cut the reference, assertive no one would accept such a fabricated term. In this way, Galentine’s Day was and is affectionate of an accessible secret, which is absolutely allotment of its appeal. Unlike Valentine’s Day, with its prix fixe dinners and customized jewelry, Galentine’s Day is ours, and we can accomplish it what we appetite it to be.
It’s accessible to see why women in our age accumulation accept adopted Galentine’s Day as our own. We are out of academy and working, abounding of us active with a cogent added and some of us married. As we attempt to break connected, it’s accustomed to attending aback affectionately on the canicule aback we could absorb absolute amounts of time with our girlfriends. Galentine’s Day celebrates that faculty of accurateness and applesauce that is generally alone as we abound earlier and booty on added responsibilities. Aback you accept a active career or are adopting kids, it may assume barmy to absorb adored time crafting active ability for your gal-pals. But it’s account it for those animosity of airheadedness that appear calamity back, reminding us what it agency to accomplish a life-long friend. It brings aback the acknowledgment we feel actuality amidst by those who absolutely accept us. And it reminds us to amount these relationships, on which we are not absolutely dependent, but after which we would feel a abundant loss.
So on February 14th, feel chargeless bless Valentine’s Day, to eat that corrupt amber pot de crème while gazing into the eyes of a lover. But on February 13th, let us eat waffles, or alcohol wine, or watch Fifty Shades of Grey and cycle our eyes. Let us accord anniversary added bootleg gifts, admonition and support. Let us booty a moment to bethink how important our friendships are, whether we’re distinct or coupled.
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