Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) starts off her season 2 episode 16 of Parks and Recreation by hosting a celebration for her pals. Not more than 30 seconds into the episode, Leslie gives a mock interview to give viewers some context. She looks into the camera and asks rhetorically, "What is Galentine's Day?"
And thus, a demented holiday is born. In the thirteen years since, Galentine's Day has engulfed my private life and slowly destroyed my life.
Leslie goes on to describe the holiday in more detail. “Oh, it’s just the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style.”
Leslie distributes hand-crocheted flower pens, mosaic portraits inspired by "your favorite diet soda," and personal, 5,000-word essays explaining why she loves each of her friends. "This is just ladies celebrating ladies," says the author. Leslie's mother tells the tale of how she met a former lover, a story that makes her salivate like a feral dog in heat.
Yes, it is a satirical comedy that isn't meant to be taken seriously. That's why Galentine's Day has become a real-life alt-holiday for women who aren't in relationships, or women who are in relationships but feel their friendships cannot exist on the same day as their romantic entanglements, or women who want to raise a pink champagne glass to the end of a romance they used to cherish.
Women wear lipstick ranging from Ballet Slipper pink to Not Your Baby red and swarm the streets and villages, falsely claiming they are celebrating female friendship. Rather, observers interpret humor as something literal.
Change the word from Valentine to Galentine (not to be confused with galantine, a delectable dish of boned meat, wrapped in its skin and served cold with its own meat-jelly) is just plain stupid; women are not doctors, they are lady writers; and, as a favorite of the current zeitgeist, women are not bosses, they are girlbosses.
Regardless, every year we choose to reverse-scarlet ourselves with a big G where there should be a V. We are telling ourselves (and, through over-posed photos posted on Instagram, the world) that because we don't have romantic partners, we won't experience intimacy or emotional fulfillment like Valentine's Day.
Galentine's Day is all about "othering" female friendship and relegated it to the kid's table, denouncing it as "child's play." No matter how serious or long the effort invested, friendship will never surpass a 10-year relationship, or the general affinity two people have for one another.
Galentine's Day is not meant to be silly on Parks and Recreation. It is not to be copied, lest we contaminate the humor. Every year, women adopt it.
I want to do Valentine's Day without the Galentine gimmick for the first time in 13 years; I want to dine with my dearest pals in a 5-star restaurant gathered around a make-shift table for six; I want to wake up on February 13th for the first time in 13 years without worrying about Leslie's gorgeous 2010 eyebrows.
I certainly don't advocate for institutional censorship, but I do encourage my fellow TV viewers to refrain from watching the notorious Parks and Rec episode this year in protest. Better yet, stay indoors all of February 13th and revel in the one and only Valentine's Day. Or, if you must watch Season 2 Episode 16, take it with a pinch of pink Himalayan salt.
Will you be celebrating Galentine's Day this year? Let us know in the comments.