Valentine's Day... A.K.A. Single Awareness Day. Out of my 25 years on this earth, there have only been two years where when February 14th rolled around I had myself a Valentine. The first was in 2005, my sophomore year of high school when my two best girlfriends from theater camp and I were dating 3 guys, also from theater camp and who were also good friends. It was VERY 90210... if those kids had all been theater nerds. We got together at my house for a "group hang" (remember those?) which consisted of baking cookies, shooting pool, and watching a movie which I'm 72% sure was "When Harry Met Sally". I've always been a sucker for 90's Meg Ryan. I gave my boy a picture of the two of us framed in a picture frame that you could record your voice on (hello early 2000's technology) and I think he gave me a teddy bear. It was adorable.
The next was in 2011, my senior year of college. My boyfriend and I were in a serious long distance relationship so our Valentine's Day that year was brought to you by the United States Postal Service. He sent me a flowers and I sent him a heart shaped cookie cake, accompanied by a valentine that I had to re-write 5 times because, in trying to make it "sexy", I sprayed it with my perfume causing the ink to smear, and then put on red lipstick to kiss the paper as my signature, only to leave a totally unflattering red BLOB on the page. Naturally the final product had neither perfume nor lipstick blob involved. "Sexy" has never been my strong suit.
So that leaves a good 23 years unaccounted for. 23 years of being single on Valentine's Day.
Now I know you're thinking that those first 12 years shouldn't count. The first 4 years of my life I didn't even know what Valentine's Day was and then for the next 8 years I was much too young to have a boyfriend anyway so why should it matter? That might be so, I was most certainly too young for a boyfriend, but it mattered.
Every year at school we would have a Valentine's Day celebration in class, as I'm sure you all did too. There was a rule in place that if you were going to give out valentines you had to give them to everyone, which was really thoughtful and initially made the experience very inclusive. But this is L.A. we're talking about - there had to be SOMETHING exclusive about it. Enter Valentine Grams. Valentine Grams were little valentines that you could purchase from the school office and fill out to be delivered specially to a student or teacher of your choice... or as I like to call them, "a chubby pre-teen with bad teeth's worst nightmare". Some girls got Valentine Grams from boys in our class, which I'm sure you can imagine was a huge deal on the playground at recess. I was never that girl. I was the girl who got one from each of her parents, one from her brother written in her mother's handwriting, and occasionally one from her father's assistant if he was particularly sweet and wanted me to have one from someone without a blood relation. I was a super "bless her heart" case.
Now I know this may seem like a digression, but this trip down memory lane has a purpose. It speaks to the fact that I have spent the greater part of my 25 years on this earth figuring out how to make being single on Valentine's Day work in my favor. It's been a long road, but what I have found in all my years of research is that the key to happiness as a single girl on V-Day is a simple shift in perspective. Instead of thinking about all the things you could do if only you had a boyfriend, think about all the things you COULDN'T do on Hallmark's National Day of Love if you had a boyfriend. Let me show you.
10 Ways A Single Valentine's Day is Actually the BEST THING EVER
1. You don't get to eat truffle mac & cheese and deep fried Oreos celebrating GALentine's Day with a girlfriend at Cafeteria in Chelsea till almost midnight the night before.
If there are big Valentine's Day plans with the boyfriend, the chances of you getting a proper splurge on GALentine's Day are very slim. You're going to want to be rested for what your man has in store, and therefore will need to conserve the energy spent both in the consuming and the digesting of those heavenly dishes. You have no idea what you'd be missing.
2. You don't get to partake in the booze and baked goods extravaganza that is being a single girl in NYC on V-Day.
Hugely important. If you have a boyfriend, you won't get to partake in this oh so delicious party for your taste buds. You won't get to go to Magnolia Bakery and pick up one of their delicious red-velvet whoopie pies, or make a trip down to the Lower East Side for boozy cupcakes at Prohibition Bakery (clockwise from top: Mulled Wine, Bee's Knees - gin, lemon, honey, and Old Fashioned). No - you'll be too busy counting Weight Watchers points and freaking out over what outfit you're going to wear out with your fella that night to whatever fancy dinner he has planned and, more importantly, how you look with said outfit off. There will be no "treat yo'self" on Valentine's Day if you have a boyfriend... and what a shame that would be.
3. You don't get to go see a matinee showing of 50 Shades of Grey.
I know nothing about the franchise, I've never read the books, but if I were of a mind to go be super uncomfortable and giggle nervously in a movie theater with a bunch of other women, I couldn't do it on Valentine's Day! Not if I had a boyfriend. Take it off the list.
4. You don't get to buy your own gift.
Another problem. If you have a boyfriend, the gifting situation is completely in his hands. You can hint all you like at certain things you see in shop windows (ahem Paper Source) or compliment things you see other women wearing to help him get an idea for your style... but ultimately he's gonna do what he wants to do, that is if he remembers at all. If you're single, you get the satisfaction of spending your own hard earned money on your own damn present that you're going to LOVE. Like me. This year I bought myself a new Kate Spade bag to carry my laptop around with me. There was a Surprise Sale so the bag ended up being 75% off. Happy Valentine's Day to me!
5. You don't get to NOT shave your legs.
Sorry ladies... unless you have a boyfriend who doesn't care (in which case you should marry him YESTERDAY)... this just isn't an option for you.
6. You don't get to skip a bikini wax... or four.
Ditto on the leg shaving, ladies. Ditto.
7. You don't get to go to Olive Garden for Unlimited Soup, Salad, and Breadsticks with all your friends.
I know that you might think how lovely it would be to go to some fancy schmancy dinner with your man on Valentine's Day. Get all dressed up, make a night of it. But what I want you to do right now is close your eyes, think of all 8 of those oddly portioned courses with things like edible flowers on the plate, and think of how expensive that bill is going to be when it comes and how, unless you're dating Chuck Bass, part of you will feel badly about it afterward. And now think of Unlimited Soup Salad and Breadsticks for $8.99. Visualize the breadsticks... smell the breadsticks... taste the breadsticks... and then see yourself surrounded by all your friends, laughing and smiling, and putting down $20 as your share of the bill, because let's face it you're having wine. Now... Is there any question?
8. You don't get to put on stretchy pants when you get home and have a good ugly cry watching "Sleepless in Seattle" with a pint of Ben & Jerry's.
Don't even think about it. And I understand, after all 8 of those courses what you really want to do is put on sweat pants and fall into a massive food coma. But no. You have a boyfriend, and it is VALENTINE'S DAY. Buck up buttercup, it's go time. He just bought you an expensive dinner and potentially a piece of jewelry that you may or may not even like, so there is work to be done. There is lingerie to be worn. And there is sex appeal to be thrown around... no matter how much of a beached whale you might feel like. I on the other hand will be snuggled up in my sweatpants, tummy full of breadsticks, perfectly content with Meg, Tom, Ben, and Jerry. Four people in my life who have never let me down. Except for when Meg got the bad work done circa Against the Ropes... that was SUCH a sad day.
9. You don't get to take a long hot bath chock full of heart shaped bath products from LUSH while listening to Sam Smith Pandora and drinking bubbly.
For the same reasons you can't put on sweatpants and fall into that food coma, you also won't be allowed to take a relaxing soak in the tub. Unless the boyfriend wants to get in the bath with you, in which case you might get the soak but you won't be relaxed, because unless you have a spa type soaker tub which, let's face it, is probably NOT the case, that's just going to be a sloshy tangled mess. No thank you.
10. You don't get to go to bed at 10pm.
And let's be real... how good does a solid 10 hours sound right about now? So good. Soooooo good.
And there you have it. With just a shift of perspective I was able to turn 10 potentially upsetting situations into the best of possible circumstances. I'm feeling really good about my Single Valentine's Day, and I hope you are too. Besides... I have the only Valentines I need - my 22 month old nephew and my father. Because you know what they say down south,
"A Rebel Girl never forgets her first true love... Her Daddy."
Happy Valentine's Day, y'all... girls with boyfriends - eat your heart out.
WIth Grace and Good Humor,