“Valentine’s Day is around the corner. What would you suggest two young, single girls do so they aren’t home pining over a tub of ice cream?”—K.W.
Valentine’s Day has got to be the worst holiday on earth. And I say that as a woman who hasn’t spent one alone in about six years. There’s so much pressure for single women not to be alone and for women in relationships to have a fairy-tale night and for men to make an absolutely perfect grand gesture that “proves” their love on one very specific, and very arbitrary, day. Most of us just end up anxious, then disappointed because real life doesn’t live up to Hollywood fantasy or budgets.
My advice to you is to think of Feb. 14 as just another day, which I know is next to impossible, with the roses and bears and chocolates and all-pink or -red everything and couples dominating practically every place you look.
I tried to psych myself out one year. I went to the gym after work, which was practically empty, and had the treadmill all to myself, which was great. A few trainers were flirting—and I flirted right back. I figured, if they were on call on that night of all nights, they were probably single. And let’s be real: My ego liked the boost.
I was doing all right until I took the subway home and saw all the women with roses and candy, and all booed up with who I hope was their man and not one borrowed from someone else. And I finally lost it when I was walking the block to my house and some street harasser called out, “You too pretty not to have a man.” I think he meant it as a compliment, but I just felt bad for being alone when everyone else seemed to be paired off. I went home and cried loud enough that my neighbor, also single, came across the hall to check on me. She told me I was being ridiculous, which logically I knew to be true, but still.
Don’t be me.
And you won’t be. You have your girl, and Valentine’s Day is still far enough off that you can devise a plan to avoid a pitiful fate. Try these tips instead:
1. Spoil Yourself
You don’t have a special someone to spoil you? That’s cool. You can always treat yourself to a day at the spa, a trip to the nail or hair salon or a fancy pair of shoes.
2. Date Your Bestie
One of my favorite scenes from Sex and the City is when the women declare that they may not have found husbands, but at least they found one another. You and your girlfriend can dote on each other for a day by sending each other flowers, taking each other to dinner or exchanging cards or gifts.
3. Play Hooky
Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday, which makes it perfect timing for a three-day weekend. There’s still time to book a last-minute Caribbean getaway, and you can get great discounts this time of year. If that’s out of the budget, take a weekend getaway to your nearest big city and have a fancy dinner and enjoy the theater or an art gallery.
4. Snuggle Up With Your Imaginary Boyfriend
Break out that pint of ice cream and pick out a few films on Netflix that include your favorite actor—for me, it’s anything with Idris Elba or Michael Ealy. Split a bottle of wine and indulge in your fantasies. Once your girl heads home, take the fantasy up a notch by breaking out your rabbit.
5. Spread Love … the Brooklyn Way
Put some good love karma into the atmosphere by distributing Valentine’s Day cards or small gifts to your friends and family or your colleagues. Putting a smile on someone else’s face often leaves you with one on your own.
Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor at The Root, a life coach and the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life and the upcoming Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at firstname.lastname@example.org.