Valentine’s Day Tips for the Sublimely Single

If the idea of an infant carrying a bow and arrows equipped with killer aim chasing you doesn’t bring about feelings of love and romance, then Valentine’s Day is not for you. Also, you are part of the sane percent of the population.

Every year the few and the brave (the Singles’ Club) huddle together during the beginning of February, climb into their bunkers and wait out the long dark days before the loneliest holiday of the year. These bunkers are completely undetectable by that mother trying to guilt trip her daughter into producing grandchildren, as well as virtually impenetrable to television and advertising. These places of safety keep singles sane, and allow them to hope that maybe next year will be different. Maybe, just maybe, they will be the ones signing for a Hershey kiss the size of Rhode Island.

Those of us who brave February bunker-less, armed with only The Feminine Mystique and 200 different sports channels, are a little less hopeful. We experience the media (and motherly) bombardment full on, wishing only for the 14
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to be eradicated from the calendar. We find ourselves asking “Why?” and “Isn’t there something better than this?”

Ever wondered who St. Valentine was and why he is a large part of our annual torture? No one seems quite sure, but legend has it that St. Valentine was killed because he performed marriage ceremonies for young lovers when Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage. Other sources claim the cause was that he wouldn’t renounce his faith. Either way, this holiday comes from a simpler time, long before online dating or The Bachelorette was around. The 14
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of February actually had romantic significance long before the saint arrived on the scene and used to be devoted to the Roman love lotteries. These “lotteries” involved young women putting their names in a large urn to be picked by any of the town’s single gentlemen. These men would then serve as the lady’s companion till the following year’s lottery, and often these lottery relationships would lead to marriage. Oddly enough, the whole thing sounds a lot like a freshman orientation class at a small Christian college, but maybe this writer is a tad jaded.

Though the idea of a lottery for dates might sound good to some, there are other alternatives to spending Valentine’s Day alone, or worse, being berated by your mother for being single at—gasp—23! An Independence Day party is exactly the thing needed to get your attention away from being single, and instead, focused on the freedom you have. This kind of party can be structured any way you want—a dinner with friends, a night out with the girls, a hostile take over of Hallmark …

Whatever event you plan to kill time—or a few cupids—watch out for the ever present bargain.Many establishments offer discounts for the single crew, which is a good deal for all you thrifty students. Try going out to a fancy restaurant and asking all the happy couples to contribute to your fund for the obviously less fortunate—yourself. Even if you end up spending the evening by yourself, don’t do so grudgingly. Most people in long-term relationships seem to complain about not having enough time to themselves to simply breathe and relax, so enjoy the time while you have it! Grab a good book, a few good movies and some discounted holiday chocolate and remind yourself how wonderful it truly is to be independent.

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Gentlemen, three words: NBA All-Stars Weekend. As my friend Zach Massey (now dating a lovely young lady named Sarah) once pointed out, a girlfriend only gets in the way of enjoying all of NBA All-Stars Weekend. All-Stars Weekend takes place from the 13
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-15
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of February, with tickets starting at about $700 for the All-Star game. Luckily, you can also enjoy all the action from the comfort of your living room! Kick back, invite your boys over and soak up one of the greatest things ever created—All-Star basketball. Use the time during the commercial breaks to call those of your friends who are attached and remind them you are spending the day with the best basketball players in the NBA. Maybe you can even compose a poem for those unfortunate souls (or ex-girlfriends) who get to spend the day trying to figure out how a stove works or selling their organs in order to pay for dinner that evening—something like, “Roses are red, violets are blue, you were okay, but Basketball is better.” This will serve to remind them how blessed you really are.
Women, if you simply cannot face another Valentine’s Day alone, here’s one crazy idea: You do the asking. Do you remember that adorable guy you saw working at the Whole Foods Store, who knew just enough about tofu to be interesting? Now is the opportunity to get something more than organic almond butter and rice wine vinegar from him.

For the more civic-minded (and less bitter) soul, Valentine’s Day presents the perfect opportunity to love those who might be feeling doubly lonely on the 14
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. Take candy or cards down to your local retirement home and spend some time listening and sharing with the elderly, who might not receive any visits this year. Any night is a good chance to volunteer at a shelter, so why not start on Valentine’s Day and help give hope and shelter to those who sorely need it? Better yet, involve any friends who you know are not spending the evening with a boyfriend/girlfriend. Are you waiting for the right chance to get to know your neighbors? Drop off a card with some chocolates at their door and use the opportunity to bridge the gap within your immediate community. If there was ever a holiday perfect for random acts of kindness and love, Valentine’s Day surely is that holiday.

Whatever you end up doing on the 14
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of February, do it with gusto. If you can’t have genuine gusto, fake it. Don’t let the man/woman get you down, and take the time to milk the most money, candy, gifts and fun out of a day that usually goes out of its way to exclude you. Men, you might even get a proposal out of it. There’s still time to hunt down that man or woman of your dreams—just start right away, as if chased by a hoard of demented cupids fresh out of archery camp … or “Mother.”

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