Right now people are declaring their love for their partners in creative ways -- photos, poems, letters of love. I once wrote a feature for the New York Times listing creative Valentine gifts. The ultimate was a mutual butt cheek tattoo -- the "L" and "O" on yours, the "V" and "E" on your significant other's. They liked that one even better than the mutual chocolate bubble bath.
How dreamy. Chocolate bubbles and tatted tushes. At this moment I'm so far from that kind of relationship -- I could be in Antarctica again. But with no one to nibble or tickle or adore with all my heart, and with the media blitzing us with thoughts of love and images of bling, I need reminders of the random pleasures of going it alone. Here are five:
Clicker Control and Other Major Life Decisions
The clicker is a symbol of my freedom and independence and choice. If I should have to vanquish it, give up surfing through E! or Bravo, skipping from Anthony Bourdain to American Idol, I will surely fall into a heaving heap.
And the clicker stands for the myriad little decisions I get to make, 24/7, including: Toilet paper under or over. Whitener or tartar control. Lights on or off. Left or right side. Aisle or window. Front or back. Travel or stay home. White meat or dark. Pepperoni or sausage. Seat back or forward. Down or foam. Letterman or Leno. And on and on, in a line of major life decisions I get to choose, unilaterally.
Bottom line: I can do what I want, how I want, when I want, if I want. My call, all the time! (OK, I'd rather have passionate nookie on a rug and someone to help me figure out the apps on my iPhone, but hey, I'm being positive here!)
I may be of two minds on some things, but I always seem to wind up agreeing with myself. Some couples are delectably happy, but many berate, cajole, shout, whine, weasel, threaten insult and gnash pretty constantly. I hear them. Because when you're solo, you listen in. Who needs that? I enjoy the peace of knowing that I have no one to argue with. (This goes back to the first item, but I'm already having to stretch things a bit. Call this a corollary.)
I take full advantage of the times I'm not in an intimate relationship. I do not shave. I do not wax, tweeze or otherwise exfoliate, except when needed, and then, only strategically (for example, if I'm wearing a skirt the next day).
I don't shower before bed because my cat could care less. I cut back bi-weekly pedicures, and daily hair washes. I color my hair half as much and let it grow twice as long. I skip perfume and go light on mascara. In other words, I let it all hang out.
In a time of needed cutbacks, this saves time and money. I just wear long pants and a hat and accept the greeting, "Hey Mister."
If you're not in a relationship you don't suffer the awful pain of breaking up. I know this is a bit defensive, kind of like the absolute "Just say no" approach to sex. How's that for logic? Or is this a total rationalization?
I don't know about you, but other people's habits and tics drive me batty. And it may help you get through Valentine's time to think about even fastidious partners who bite their nails, pick their nose, grind their teeth, play with their hair, blow their nose during meals, burp and fart (sometimes in unison), bite their lips, say stuff like "like" all the time, play with their food, sniff for no reason.
Need I go on? These small habits can drain the joy out of romance. I can engage in some of these things, but someone else? Nah. I don't like people calling me on my quirks. On my own I act out any I want to in peace (See previous. These all intersect.)
Did this little list make any of you solos feel better? A little better? I know, these nasty things are worth it if you're in love, but I tried here folks.
Remain positive during the next days when cards and chocolates are as numerous and tantalizing as low-hanging fruit, and words of romance are hot and heavy. Stay strong. Hug your cat. Hug yourself. And be happy for those lucky in love; you never know, next year it may be you.
(Ok. I admit it. Being a onesie sucks during Valentine time. But remember, you have the clicker all to yourself. Woo-hoo!)