Much like it's evil twin, New Year's Eve, this "holiday" (which I'm convinced is a conspiracy of greeting card companies and chocolatiers) can make a single gal feel decidedly single. I've just survived the holidays with relatives and their well-intentioned "how's your love life?" interrogations, listed and then promptly forgotten all the ways I was resolving to be better person in 2012, and am settling back down into normal routines, and then -- Valentine's Day. It's back, and I'm still single. Le sigh.
I'm not upset about being single. I love it. But something about these contrived occasions can bum even the most secure women out.
Over the years, my other chronically single girlfriends and I have utilized various coping mechanisms to channel any negative vibes into something enjoyable for ourselves. Here I share with you some of my favorite, either for their comedic or healing potential:
1. Live and Learn Party - This was very entertaining in the post-college years. Details are fuzzy due to large amounts of Two Buck Chuck consumed (we had a "one bottle per chica" minimum), but the rules of the evening involve lots of anthemic girl-power music (think "The Bodyguard" soundtrack, Pat Benetar, Joan Osbourne, etc.), and cupcakes. We performed a ritual listing of all the men we'd ever "loved," shared with the group the reasons we had loved them, why it hadn't worked out, and what we'd learned from the relationship. We promised to spend more time figuring ourselves out as independent women before we moved into the next relationship.
2. Pity Party - A misery fest can be very healing on Singles Awareness Day, particularly if you're just exiting a relationship. Sylvia Plath once said "There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them." Don't actually pull a Sylvia because you're depressed, but do let this axiom guide your evening. You need only yourself, sweatpants, wine, ice cream, a tub of bubbles, and a movie guaranteed to set off tears. Settle onto the couch with your wineglass and watch something that will restore your faith in finding your own unique love, such as "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" or "Secretary." Take time to journal about past relationships and redefine as your heart's desire for the next big thing.
3. Girls Night Out - I love the chance to get dressed up (somehow getting ready is always at least as much fun as actually going out, right?), have a fabulous meal, and dance the night away. Make eyes at the hot bartender/waiter/cab driver, laugh loudly with your girlfriends, and ignore any couples you see. Do you need a man on your arm to feel like fun? Nope. Let's dance about it!
4. Hearts on our Sleeves Party - A few years ago, single and upset about it, I drove to my friend's house, armed to the teeth with streamers, tablecloths, and confetti. We decorated, baked goodies in heart-shaped pans, prepared a fabulous multi-course meal, and reminded each other about the qualities that made us complete, awesome women. We embraced the idea of love, acknowledged we weren't in relationships we wanted, but decided we were more than okay. I left feeling loved and hopeful.
5. Hit the Road - For New Year's Eve this year, BFF and I decided to escape the usual traps of expensive evenings out or disappointing house parties, and headed off to create our own adventure. We picked a friendswho lived in a place neither of us had been (in this case, Portland, Oregon), created a sweet song mix, stashed some delicious snacks into the car and hit the road. Everything we saw was new and exciting, there was no pressure to be at anyone's event back at home, and we got in some great bonding time. Our New Year's Eve saw us hiking waterfalls, eating from street carts, drinking whiskey from a flask, dressed as casually as I've ever been on that day, singing along to a cover band's "End of the World as We Know It" and kissing ten strangers at midnight. It was the best start to a new year, ever.
You could volunteer at a homeless shelter, orphanage, or senior center and love on some of our society's forgotten. Take your parents out to dinner to thank them for their love that created you. Write love letters to your girlfriends and thank them for what they mean to your life. The options are endless. Whatever you decide to do to celebrate or ignore this "holiday," remember that you are a great person, with much to offer this world AND a future mate. And really, February 14th is not designed to define you. It's really just another day.