As a senior, I live a life that is increasingly confusing, despite the knowledge my ages of experience should have granted me. On Friday morning, for example, I reached sleepily into my makeup bag and smeared purple eye shadow on my cheek instead of powder with a stoic certainty that very seriously concerns me. I often wonder if my leading career option might be, as a friend once joked, “modern-day bridge troll.” However, in the blustery, snowy hellscape of New England winter and the equally stormy, bleak landscape of my future prospects, there is still one cultural icon whose voice I am willing to follow blindly and who brings me cheer. Her name is Leslie Knope of Pawnee, Indiana. I’m here to talk to you about Galentine’s Day.
If you’re new to the concept, here’s the gist: Every Feb. 13, Parks and Recreation’s Leslie Knope summons her “lady friends” to her side for a celebration of friendship so pure and powerful that the entire Internet has stopped to listen. It’s easy to understand why; Galentine’s Day is a sorely needed celebration of women, by women. I’d argue that it’s not limited to any particular gender fundamentally. Galentine’s Day is a chance to recognize the positive influence friendships have on our lives, and an assertion of the importance of that continuing support. I take it very seriously. Dead seriously. Valentine’s Day has its merits, among them keeping Hallmark afloat throughout the recession, but my calendar is starred for the day before. Here’s some friendly advice to help you keep the spirit of Galentine’s thriving:
If you’re in class on Friday, you’re going to have to be ready to get moving on your Galentine’s festivities once that last professor dismisses you. If you’re not, though, you have a different assignment: breakfast. Specifically frittatas, which are vital to the Leslie Knope Galentine’s experience, and as an aside are very in right now because of the perfect eggy harmony they strike between omelet and quiche. In the words of Knope herself, “It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas.”
Try to have some candy ready for later. The only problem is that since this is pre-Valentine’s Day, you’re going to have to buy any and all heart-shaped chocolates at full price. Please don’t ever buy those Necco Sweethearts, unless you’re planning to send them to someone in an angry envelope full of glitter.
Pick something you and your friends love and do it to death. If you, like me, choose to shop in thrift stores because, say, you’ve always yearned to play god in a powder-blue power-suit with shoulder pads, make it an event. If you want to busk Avril Lavigne songs on Spring Street in the February chill, I dare anyone to get in the way. If you want to get in line to see the midnight opening of Fifty Shades of Grey, I won’t stop you, but only because I can’t.
The most important element of Galentine’s Day will be the last on this list: affirmations. Sit around a table, preferably with a frittata-laden plate in front of you, and give each other compliments. Maybe thank your friends for the myriad ways in which they improve your life. For example, I might thank every single one of my friends for letting me into my dorm when I forget my ID, which I do a lot. Remind them that even if you can never agree on what to split at snack bar, you begrudgingly respect their decisions.
And that’s where it gets a little more serious: The friendships we form here are rich and complex, intensified by our proximity to one another. It’s easy to take each other for granted, to become swept up in other activities – ranging in significance from Herculean reading assignments to Netflix marathons – but so much of what we have here rests in each other. Make sure the people in your life know that. There’s no better time than what might be Massachusetts’ most miserable meteorological month. However you choose to celebrate it, Galentine’s Day is an opportunity to show your love for the people with whom you share those late-night conversations, and that most sacred of rites: buffalo fries. Let Leslie lead the way.