Single on Valentine's Day? I've been there! In my early 20s, an ex thought it would be an ideal day to propose. Up until that point, I didn't think Valentine’s Day was a big deal...up until our relationship was over and I was left to associate it with… GULP… The Proposal. For the next decade, it was a day I dreaded.
Here’s how I celebrated single’s awareness day alone in ways I would definitely not recommend.
1. Rom-com Movie Marathon
One year I decided to watch movies. I set myself up with popcorn and Netflix and completely intended to watch comedies and forget all about V Day. Six hours into my "recommended for you" rom-com marathon, I realized that popcorn just isn't as good when soggy and I'm powerless to resist romantic comedies. What I learned? Don't subject yourself to Hollywood's ideal relationships on Valentine's Day. If you're already feeling a little down, this really pours salt in the wound.
2. Working In A Restaurant
During college I worked in the bar of a popular chain restaurant that rhymes with "Billy’s." It's definitely not the most romantic place to eat, but it was still packed on Valentine's Day. I figured since it wasn't a romantic place to eat that it would not be full of lovers. I was horribly wrong. Complete strangers feel comfortable asking you about your relationship status. When you reply that you are single, they look at you with extreme pity. There are lots and lots of couples who vary in cuteness. It really drives the point home that after your shift, you’re going home alone to your dog and reruns.
3. Dive Bar Visits
There were a few times I thought it would be interesting to go out to dive bars. As I got ready to go out, I told myself that it would be like an anthropology assignment. The weirdness of the particular date would always make the whole thing more awkward. The normal question "so are you single?" isn't as much of a factor when you're clearly clutching your drink on a couple’s holiday and standing alone. I marked dive bars off my list when I realized that the real challenge was avoiding groping and requests for random hook-ups.
4. First Dates
One time I thought it would be okay to go on a first date on Valentine's Day. It was a spontaneous first Internet date where we met up at Starbucks and both agreed in advance to not let it get weird. Guess what? It was still very weird. Until I was feeling painfully self-conscious, clutching my skinny hazelnut latte, I didn't realize just how many cute couples are out on Valentine's Day. When you are there to meet someone new, it makes the interaction feel strange and forced, as if you should already be a member of one of those cute couples. The pressure of it being Valentine's Day along with normal first date awkwardness was too much for the blossoming romance to overcome. We both resolved to call and never did.
5. Awkward Gifts
There was one year I had just started seeing someone new when Valentine's Day hit. I didn't expect that we would exchange gifts; after all, we had just met and been on only dates. He called me on V Day to mention that he wanted to give me a gift. I hadn't expected to exchange anything with him so I was a little surprised and worried that I didn't have anything to give him in return.
I was planning on spending the evening at a house party with friends and didn't really want to invite him, so I told him I would meet him to pick up the gift and spend a few minutes getting coffee. He presented me with a video of a stock-trading seminar, which we had discussed on one of our dates. We made awkward conversation for a few minutes before I bolted to go to my party. The next time I saw him, he told me how he had met "the one" and rambled on and on about their perfect love. Given the high level of awkwardness in our interactions, I was thankful that "the one" wasn't me.
Valentine's Day is not the best time to give or receive a gift from someone you have just started dating. It puts too much pressure on a new relationship.
6. Las Vegas With Your Girlfriends
Las Vegas is filled with lovers on Valentine's Day. People whisk their loved ones there to spend a fun-filled adults-only holiday. It's the perfect place to unwind in an awesome suite and enjoy cocktails and entertainment. When you aren't in a relationship, wreaking havoc on Las Vegas casinos with drunken girlfriends can be entertaining, but feels a little empty. I was also lucky enough to get a raging head cold on the second day of the weekend. Nightclubs lose their appeal while you’re trying to avoid coughing on innocent passerby.
7. Calling Your Ex
Do not call your ex on Valentine’s Day for any reason. I've tried this and trust me, you do not want to know what they’re doing or even if they will answer the phone. Calling your ex on V Day re-opens the wound in a more intense way than it would if you called on virtually any other day. It also leaves you wondering if they are celebrating with someone new. You do not want to know! If you’re desperate to talk, resolve to call a good friend instead.
How have you spent Valetine's Day while single? Let me know in the comments!
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