I feel assaulted whenever I encounter clichéd images of romance -- advertisements to buy flowers, candy, diamonds, sexy underwear, even cell phones -- all to show love. Buy, buy, buy! Love, love, love! I say Bah Humbug!
News flash: a lot of us are single and are not going to be celebrating Valentine's Day. So, Let's occupy V-Day, and take this $17.6 billion day away from Madison Avenue and make it our own.
Valentine's Day is a commercial holiday, in which the average person celebrating will spend $126.03. It is based upon the:
• Dubious myth of 14 martyred saints, all named Valentine
• Pagan ritual stolen from a Roman fertility festival called Lupercalia; a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus
• Belief during the Middle Ages that February 14 was the beginning of birds' mating season
Here are some tips to get through the day:
• Ignore it: pretend it is just another day in which a lot of people got a memo in which to wear red and pink, silk boxers or lingerie, but that you didn't get the memo
• Do something for yourself: be your own best valentine. Use the day as an excuse to go for that walk, start that painting, write that poem, make that phone call, or go out to see if you can catch any birds mating. Pigeons don't count.
• Learn to salsa, or any other kind of dance: Many places have a free lesson before the dancing starts.
• Play basketball, or run around the block. Scream as you drive through a tunnel.
• Pamper yourself: it's a good day to take a long steamy bath, to give yourself a mani/pedi, a facial, etc.
• Celebrate yourself: enumerate the things you've done, and the successes you've had.
• Celebrate your friends: bake them cookies, make them something, tell them how much you love and appreciate them. Have them over for dinner. Love comes and goes, but friends can last forever.
• Keep perspective: it's just one day, and, with hope, no one has died. That's what's important, that no one died. Period. Unless it's him or her, and you want him or her to be dead, and then it's a cause for celebration. See above.
• Call in sick and stay in bed all day: just pretend the day doesn't exist.
• Volunteer: nothing puts our own pain in perspective than to see someone else's pain, so go to the homeless shelter, the local children's hospital, or sign up to volunteer with the local Red Cross. Bear witness with compassion.
• Give: make some goofy valentines give them out to everyone at work. Everyone. Remember in grade school when you didn't get a valentine from that one person who you really wanted a valentine from? Maybe even do something to counter the heterosexual bias prevalent in our society that V-Day perpetuates.
• Pleasure yourself: if you're not sure how, practice. Fantasize. Use it or lose it!
• Laugh at yourself today: laughing will keep the hounds of depression at bay away better than almost anything else will.
• If you're feeling really flush, send126.03 to the U.S. Treasury, ATTN: Deficit. I wonder what would happen if enough of us did this...