In case you’ve just awakened from a coma, or have not had electricity for some time, let me be the billionth person to remind you that Valentine’s Day - also known as Singles’ Awareness Day – is this Friday, February 14. I know this can be a high-pressure occasion for many people, coupled or single, and so I’ve come up with a few tips to ensure a successful observance – or non-observance – of the day:
1. Be happy – you’ve got it good!
If you are part of a couple, take a moment to quietly savour that fact. The operative word here is QUIETLY. This is not “your special day.” This is a huge and profitable holiday, ranking second in spending behind Christmas and ahead of Mother’s Day in the U.S. A whopping $17 billion will be spent there this year alone. It’s an occasion that at least half the world marks and the other half has definitely heard of. It’s really not that special to you in particular. But if you’ve got someone who smiles at you when they haven’t seen you in a while, that’s some major warm fuzzy fodder right there. So go ahead and glow.
If you are not part of a couple, take a moment to quietly savour that fact. The operative word here is QUIETLY. This is not “it’s awesome / it sucks to be me” day. The world did not conspire to create this holiday so that you could gloat about how you don’t have to do anyone else’s dishes, and can kiss whoever you want, whenever you want, because you’re single. And if you do, those poor suckers who have to pretend to be excited about a short-stemmed roses from the grocery store that’ll be brown by Monday will simply tell themselves that you’re bitter and envious (ha!) Who wants to add to their smug (if delusional) satisfaction?
2. Be thrifty – get nasty!
If you are part of a couple, and you don’t fancy feeding the retail monster just because the mall mafia tells you that’s what your partner wants you to do, but you’d still like to do something special, why not have sex? I’m not talking about making twee coupons you exchange for specific acts, or circus sex with props and costumes and special flavoured liquids. Just good old-fashioned, clothes-in-a-heap getting’ it on. Isn’t that why you’re part of a couple in the first place? Apparently that’s what two-thirds of men and one-third of women would prefer anyway, according to a recent survey. (I should note that I am personally slightly concerned about the big gender divide on this issue. Do you coupled-off guys need to brush up on your skills or what?)
If you are not part of a couple, congratulations! You don’t have to feed the retail monster just because the mall mafia tells you to do so. But if you’d still like to do something special, you can take even half of what the average coupled-off person expects to spend this year ($240!!!) and still buy yourself an extremely fancy high end sex toy. (For the record, I am NOT paid to endorse the Lelo brand – but I still very much do!) Or just go out to any bar – bars are NOT full of couples on Valentine’s Day, funnily enough – and enjoy the fire-sale atmosphere this not-very-important holiday creates. There’s sure to be at least a handful of very attractive, intelligent, charming people who have been had enough of scrolling through their coupled friends’ nauseating Facebook posts and just decided to hit the bottle hard. Why not take advantage?
3. Be Cupid – improve your karma!
If you are part of a couple, and you know some single people who are looking for love, why not help them have a better Valentine’s Day? Throw a little party and invite them all (don’t tell them why – single people do not like knowing they are being set up). Encourage them to try online dating – OkCupid is a great free site that is also fun to use. If you don’t think you can project adequate enthusiasm for these tasks, send them my way!
If you are not part of a couple, and you know some single people who are looking for love, why not send them Valentines? Especially if you’re actually interested. V-Day was never originally intended for the happily coupled, incidentally. It was a day for secret admirers and clandestine couples (or wannabes) to declare their desires, not the “behold the happiness of my beloved and I, for it is majestic and overwhelming” parade that it is today. Everyone deserves a little love, even platonic friends, and no matter what anyone tells you, even an e-greeting is better than no greeting at all. I like someecards for its subtler grasp of the complex emotions these holidays elicit.
Still got a case of “the mean reds” about Singles’ Awareness Day? Here’s a personal inspirational tale:
In 1991, when I was living alone in NYC and kind of depressed at the age of 20 (I know – there oughta be a law) a friend sent me a dozen long-stemmed roses on February 14th. Once I got over the fear of being shot – nothing says “you’re about to die” quite like a giant Italian man pounding on your door unexpectedly, pointing a long white box at your peephole – I couldn’t have been more thrilled. In fact, I kept half of them and took the other six down to the rather legendary East Village bar that was right below my apartment, where another friend and I gave them away to total strangers and people bought us drinks all night. Until last year, when my boyfriend and I went to a dollar store and bought props to wear in the photo booth (total cost, including picture strips: $13), it remained my best V-Day ever!