Wait, Valentine's Day is still happening? I figured that since I'm single and important, Hallmark would just call off the holiday and wait until I found love. No? This is slightly upsetting, but I guess I'll manage somehow. Actually, despite my place among the demographic of women who watch Chelsea Lately and subscribe to Gwyneth Paltrow's e-newsletter, I'm thrilled for February 14. Why? I like love, conversation hearts and those stuffed animals that magically kiss. It's a holiday devoted to adorableness -- I can't take issue with that. But if one too many microwave dinners has you shuddering at the thought of sonnets and infants dabbling in archery, fret not. I have a few steps for surviving the day that love hath made without dissolving into a pool of self-pity:
1. Decline all invitations to dinners with girlfriends. Sorry single ladies, but there's nothing more tragic than a cluster of us, sitting around a table, bemoaning men, love and the one that got away. Please, I would rather go to Home Depot, buy myself a shovel, and spend the evening digging myself a cat lady grave. R.IP. Love. If you have to gripe or greave, do it in private because no one wants to catch those man-repelling germs. Instead, I suggest treating yourself to a good, stiff over-the-counter sleeping aid and an over-priced facial mask. Then spend the evening blissing out on Disney movies (a.k.a. animated reminders that love is real and magical) and getting some much needed beauty rest (so you look your best when your dream man sinks his schooner and you have to save him from drowning.)
2. Avoid the liquor store. I know the impulse when under extreme emotional distress is to get silly drunk and have a night of carefree abandon. Yet, if I've learned anything, it's this: one drink leads to seven, which leads to a regrettable message to an ex-flame in which you liken him to a dolphin, which leads to more drinks, which leads to waking up in various states of undress with Mr. Can I Call you a Taxi. It's a slippery slope, my friends. So, just say no. Or whatever, put on your sluttiest dress, slather on some tan substitute and say yes. Honestly if it doesn't cause you to slip into a coma of self-loathing, you cares. Right, no one, you're single.
3. Turn off your phone. Sorry to be the bearer realistic news but he's probably not going to see the flash of light from above, call you and make dreams come true. And I'm sure you have better things to do than stare at a blank screen, like, say, brush your hair. A casual "Hi," (see also: "Hey," "Heyooo," or "Hello there") within 24-hours of Valentines Day says one thing: "I'm desperate" (which obviously you're not -- hello: hair brushing). Or worse, it says to the recipient, "I think you're more desperate than me." The last thing you want to be (anytime) is a last minute decision - or make someone else feel like they are. So give yourself a break and switch your phone off for the night. You can turn it back on tomorrow. I'm pretty sure the world will not have ended in the meantime.
4. Embrace regressive tendencies. You've outgrown the childlike joy of making paper valentines? Too bad: One sniff of those markers and I swear you'd be transported back to the egalitarian days where everyone got a Valentine (and obviously you got the most). Sure, they came with cooties, but I bet now you'd give anything for a bag of Transformers-themed love notes. So beat everyone to the punch with a satchel full of D.I.Y. gorgeousness. For one, it says: She's so content with her single self that she took time out of her jam packed social schedule to make me this strange looking card. For two, it's so freaking cute that I'm pretty sure everyone in the world will fall in love with you -- most centrally your co-worker's super dreamy brother who happens to have just qualified for the Olympic sailing team.
5. Develop an unrealistic crush on a public figure. It worked well enough in middle school, right? You cut out the pictures, put the names into a magic MASH game, and voila! you were fated to marry Jonathan Taylor Thomas and live in a mansion. There was something gratifying about the fantasy even though you knew it was a fantasy.
With that memory in mind, I recommend that instead of pining for someone at all available, you should spend your evening drooling over glossy images of men you have no chance of ever meeting. Matt Lauer, for instance, or Charles Barkley. Is there a chance either of these gents will call me and ask me for a date after reading this deeply compelling piece? Probably not. But once upon a time, when I was, oh, 12, I believed this sort of thing was possible. And on Valentine's Day, what's wrong with indulging that belief one more time (provided you don't up the ante with any light stalking)?