Only in Korea could they come up with a holiday that’s even more depressing to singletons than Valentine’s Day. What could be worse than a day that focuses on loved-up, simpering, slushy couples kissing and smooching and giggling from behind mountains of roses and fluffy toys? Oh, I know – a day that focuses on people who are all alone in the world, who return home each night to an empty apartment, and who never get sent flowers. Let’s all turn and stare pityingly at the poor single people, God bless their lonely souls!
The idea behind Black Day, of course (overlooking the obvious “to sell even more cards/gifts/appropriate foods”), is to ensure that no one is left out. Couples have Valentine’s Day for the men, and White Day for the women, and on Black Day it’s the turn of the single people. Except, to be honest, we don’t really want a turn. We don’t want to be reminded of the fact that we have no one. We don’t want to be identified as luckless in love, or as the ones nobody wanted. We just want to be PEOPLE, people! Not curious specimens identified by our singledom.
On Black Day, you actually get free or heavily discounted meals in restaurants if you go alone. Now, I’m sorry, but while that may on some level be a very nice gesture, I think I’d want to kill myself if I was sitting there all alone in the midst of other sad-sacks like myself, eating black noodles which I got for free because people feel sorry for me for not being able to find a husband, while everyone who walks past look knowingly and sadly at me, wondering what’s so fundamentally unlovable about me. Especially in Korea, where being an unmarried woman over the age of about 25 is a cause for serious concern. And on BLACK Day, for crying out loud. They might as well call it “Cloudy Day Of Gloom And Woe” and be done with it.
I bet Black Day was invented by someone who was happily married and wanted to spread the love by creating a day of charity for the poor, sad, singletons. Either that, or by one of those annoying “Being single ROCKS!!!!” folk who feel the need to defend their singleness at every given opportunity in case anyone should think that they’re simply single because they can’t get a date: “I’m single and I’m LOVING IT!!!”.
“Celebrating singleness”, to me at least, just screams of insecurity and desperation to be seen as not caring about something about which you actually care very deeply indeed. Why would you bother making a big deal about it if it didn’t matter to you?
Being single is not who I am, so I have no desire to either celebrate it or agonise over it. I don’t introduce myself by saying “I’m Hails, and I’m single!”. I am many things – dreamer, writer, teacher, ditzy, poet, giggly, clumsy, thoughtful, excitable, forgetful, likely to break into song without notice – but I’d never feel the need to include “single” in that list. Being single is neither a positive nor negative trait. I’m not particularly happy about it, and I’m not particularly sad about it. There are some things I like about being in a relationship, and some things I like about being single. There are also things I dislike about each. I’m not sure I see one as being better or worse than the other – but no singleton could fail to be aware of the general perception that if you’re single, you must be unhappy about it. If you are, you’re not going to want to be reminded of it, are you?! And if you’re not, then you won’t appreciate everyone treating you like a charity case, as if there is somehow something wrong with you, or lacking in your life.
So Black Day Pity Day is unnecessary. Thanks all the same!