Despite its seemingly ambiguous origins, Valentine’s Day is celebrated by millions across the world. Restaurant reservations, flower delivery services and heart-shaped boxes of that nasty assortment of chocolates are sure to be reserved in abundance, with many taking to social media to brag about what their man or woman got, or will do for them on Feb. 14.
As I scroll down my social media timeline, I see the usual “Bae is getting me this for Valentine’s Day,” “February 15 is ‘Side Chick Appreciation Day,'” and/or “F*** Valentine’s Day!” posts. But what I didn’t expect to see was the sheer amount of status updates from men thinking that all women value the holiday in the same fashion (i.e. with heavy importance). In fact, I saw this sentiment being expressed so much that I was actually prompted by a male associate of mine to clear up the confusion.
Before I go any further, I must admit that I love love, the idea of falling in love and showing your mate just how much you mean to them any day of the week, Valentine’s Day included. But not all women hold the day in the same regard that I do.
I was casually scrolling through Facebook when I received a notification that I had been tagged in a group post by my Facebook friend, who had slept with a woman for the first time just a couple of days before Valentine’s Day. He wanted to know if we thought the woman expected them to be serious and commit due to them having sex close to the holiday reserved for lovers.
Upon reading his status, I couldn’t help but to laugh out loud. The fact that some men think that women assume you “go together” because you’ve had sex with them is laughable. While I understand that some women may get the wrong idea, many women understand that sex is simply sex until a commitment is verbally expressed and agreed on by both parties—or in many cases, the relationship progresses to sex and it is mutually understood that a commitment comes with the act. But as ridiculous as I interpreted my friend’s thought process to be, I understood it.
For centuries, female sexual liberation has been regulated. We are told that a dozen and one very natural sexual urges, actions and desires are “unladylike,” and women who practice sexual freedom are frowned upon and judged. We are told that we are the more emotional sex, when in actuality, we just have more leeway to freely express our emotions thanks to gender roles and societal guidelines on how we are to conduct ourselves. In other words, we’ve been conditioned to be overly emotional, to become attached easily and to only sleep with those who we have a deep desire to be with. So of course buddy would believe this woman wants to lock him down because they slept together days before Valentine’s Day (side eye).
Let’s face it. For some men, the idea of women being able to have sex with them and not be attached is frightening. It goes against everything that should be, according to society. But the truth is that to some woman out there, you either are, have been, or soon will be nothing more than a booty call or friend with benefits. Just sayin.’
While one would think you wouldn’t mind showing a kind gesture or two to someone who you’ve been intimate with on Valentine’s Day, it isn’t required. Most genuine people like acts of kindness that come from the heart, not out of pure obligation. Here’s a rule of thumb: do not assume that someone is expecting you to be their Valentine because you are sleeping together. But you better believe she will notice your absence. If she cares enough, be prepared for her to adjust accordingly.
Shantell E. Jamison is a digital editor for EBONY.com and JETMAG.com. Her book, “Drive Yourself in the Right Direction” is available on Amazon. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter @Shantell_em and Instagram @Shantell_em.