I don’t need a "survival guide". I don’t need Galentine’s Day. I don’t need any consolation prize-inspired spins on a day that is very clearly and obviously centred around something I don’t have: love. It’s not a secret, nobody’s pulling any pink wool over my eyes here. Guys, it’s Valentine’s Day. It’s okay if it sucks.
As a single woman who has been single for an actual decade, I’m no stranger to the left-out feelings that come along with flying solo. And sometimes I mean that literally. Two years ago I went to Puerto Rico with my friend Susan, but apart from that, I cannot remember the last time I was on a plane with another person. I do recall, however, that on my last flight not one but two women were stuffing wedding dresses into overhead lockers. Anyway...
I don’t need any consolation prize-inspired spins on a day that is very clearly and obviously centred around something I don’t have: Love.
There's no shame in being a little bummed out on Valentine’s Day if you’re single. It’s a completely normal feeling that I think we should be allowed to feel, instead of sticking a plaster over it with single people versions of things. Call me crazy, I think sadness is a valid emotion and I’m fine feeling it a little, rather than dyeing its hair and changing its clothes and telling it to introduce itself as triumphant at a party.
What even is a holiday? It’s a thing humans invented for a reason we probably don’t know much about anymore. Go read the Valentine’s Day Wikipedia page; it’ll put you to sleep. The day has become, if I’m honest, a day where single people feel left out and coupled people feel pressured. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone, of any status, rave about their plans. Is it really that great? I just think it’s pretending to be and using the seasonal section at the shops to make its case. Essentially, Valentine’s Day is just 14th February in a bad suit.
Though since it’s actually a date on the calendar, since the sun will rise and set and in between we have shit to do, I thought I’d offer a list of ideas for living Valentine’s Day truly, as a single. Not covering it up, not spinning it, just living life on a day that hasn’t been fun since your friends handed out those strawberries and cream lollipops to the entire class in third grade.
Send snail mail
I actually send Valentines to other people. My parents, my closest friends, my friend Conor who takes time out of his day to read and praise everything I write even though he couldn't be further from my target market. I’m a big believer in snail mail, always have been. It requires a level of effort that emails never will. I’d compare it to being offered my choice of a beautiful glass of Burgundy wine, or like...a grape. Send people snail mail. Send some love.
Valentine’s Day is the worst of the seasonal candies, don’t @ me. Actually, @ me, I don’t give a shit. There is nothing enticing to me about a solid piece of chocolate simply because it’s shaped like a heart. I don’t like my sweets to involve taking chances, and those box-of-chocolate situations are calorie roulette and I’m not here for it. There’s also far too much reliance on chocolate itself as a delivery system and the holiday has a colour scheme that feels a bit one-note. No thank you Valentine’s Day, keep your sweets, they are the worst. For the record, Easter candy is the best.
I wouldn’t mind seeing some stand-up this Valentine’s Day. It’s my favourite form of entertainment and truly, what situation is not improved by laughter? Also something about dark basements and two-drink minimums appeals to me on this night. If for some reason you’re unable to leave the house on Valentine’s Day because you're not feeling well or you're worried about Omicron, there are delightful stand-up options available to stream on. For single women specifically, I recommend Sofia Niño de Rivera, Aparna Nancherla, Michelle Buteau and Iliza Shlesinger.
Feel zero pressure
What’s that you say? I don’t have to plan or purchase anything, for anyone, out of calendar-inspired obligation? Cool!
YouTube funny shit
I think it’s about time to dig into that Now & Then think piece I’ve had on the back burner, don’t you? I burned a hole in the tape (YES, TAPE) because I watched this so much as a kid, and revisiting it as an adult is eye-opening. What is it about female foursomes that make for good storytelling? Why is it assumed that Samantha’s parents’ divorce was responsible for her unsavoury personality traits? When do we get a remake with an inclusive cast? I have thoughts and questions.
Batch delete emails
Is anyone’s day improved by the crime against words that is a Valentine’s Day-themed subject line? Get out of here! I have no use for stores that sell totally normal things suddenly thinking their inventory makes the perfect V-Day gift. Actually Karen, it’s the same travel adaptor you’ve sold all year. And let's not with people trying to tell me what the "best cities for singles" are. For the record, the best cities for singles are whatever cities they happen to be living in currently. Thank you for attending this lecture.
Etsy deep dive
If there are no other plans for this day, I’d like to spend it finally organising my thoughts around delicate gemstone rings, anxiety blankets and merch on offer in the bottomless purchase pit. Every time I’m on this site I want everything and nothing.
Do what makes you happy in the moment not because you’re left out of Valentine’s Day, but because you’re included in life.
Eh, fuck it. Order your favourite food. Open the "nice" bottle of wine. Bubble bath it. Rent a movie starring Denzel Washington. Rent a movie starring Denzel Washington’s son, John David Washington, because that’s now an option that’s available to us. (Thank you.) Do what makes you happy in the moment not because you’re left out of Valentine’s Day, but because you’re included in life.
If you don’t like themed menus and a roomful of people dining in pairs, eat dinner at home that night. Make a beautiful pasta with chicken sausage and broccoli rabe with lemon zest and parm. Keep watching the new season of whatever you're enjoying on Netflix. Do your bi-weekly sheet mask. Go to bed early and wake up refreshed and ready to be productive the next day. Be a little blue for a moment because you’re not celebrating the day that’s dressed in red. Know that there’s no shame or failure in feeling that way. Know that the feelings of single women on Valentine’s Day are as valid and worthy and allowed to exist much as anyone else’s. At least that’s my plan.