As one who is perennially single, I like to think I've achieved a certain level of aplomb and savoir faire about flying solo. There is one time of the year, however, universally acknowledged to be a big fuck-you to the large and ever-growing singles community: Valentine's Day.
You may be perfectly fine with sitting at home watching Downton Abbey any other night of the year, but Valentine's is supposed to be the day that someone surprises you with flowers, diamonds hewed from the blood of African workers, and, of course, mediocre-quality chocolates vulgarly adorned.
Now, I will say nothing against flowers any day of the year, and indeed I think there need to be a lot more flowers in all of our lives. But do you really want the rest of that? Complete with some mouth-breather to be your significant other? I think not.
So here are some few suggestions for the holiday for those of us who have chosen to eschew the mouth-breathers.
- Party up. My most recent, and best-loved, Valentine's Day was spent in the company of two dear friends watching Shakespeare and wearing a faaabulous dress. Gently feel out your single friends for plans and then do something fun. Sound pretty simple? It is.
- Pick up a bottle of prosecco. There is something depressing about buying chocolates for one's self at this time of year, but buying booze is just like buying toilet paper, isn't it? For an elegant, depraved touch, enjoy your bubbly in the am rather than pm. It was good enough for Noel Coward, after all; when asked why he took champagne for breakfast, his careless reply was, “Doesn't everyone?”
- Buy yourself a plant. Not flowers, a real, breathing plant (though something with flowers would be lovely). Perhaps this is the time to take up the luxury of raising orchids, or the day to put a little flowering chive by your front stoop. Spending time with green things is one of the most cheerful things I know, and long after the vulgar long-stems of others are in the trash can, your plant will be rewarding your care and attention.
- Dress up and cook yourself a swell dinner. Wait, you thought this was the evening for yoga pants and a pint of Haagen Dasz? For shame! Dressing nicely makes any occasion feel festive. Add a pretty ruffly apron and work that domestic magic. Recommendations include vibrant shrimp soft tacos; eggplant lasagne; crab pasta; a huge dinner salad with, perhaps, fresh artichoke, heart of palm, and anything else you fancy; and a basil lime sorbet.
- Put on some swinging music. Good mood music for the day includes Cole Porter, Lady Gaga, Bellowhead, or Les Chauds Lapins.
- Make a valentine for someone or anyone. No, don't make one for yourself, the whole concept there will just depress you. A major part of the frustration with Valentine's Day is not having a recipient for our affections. But what about your mom, your sister, your best friend? Hell, if you're strapped for people to love, drop a tiny homemade valentine in the tip jar at your coffee shop. The barista is a very important person in our lives!
- Masturbate. I really can't fathom how many prissy guides out there leave this out. They'll give advice like “pamper yourself” or “buy yourself a present,” but it all has to be above the waist? Retire to bed early with a naughty novel and some lavender oil. I'd recommend Michelle Slung's Slow Hand: Women Writing Erotica.