a single girl's guide to valentine's day
Here we are again.
In case you missed the past month of billboards demanding you drop half your paycheque on sparkly dental floss masquerading as underwear - it's Valentine's Day today. Or as I like to call it, the day when every florist and selfie-stick toting couple conspires to make you feel crap about being single. Hurrah. Yay. My enthusiasm, it's palpable.
But while I might not be jumping up and down Oprah's sofa with lovestruck glee about today, I am fine. Being single on Valentine's Day is fine. You will be fine. Chill.
See, I have been single for, well, every (literal) single Valentine's Day of what societal constructs would depict as a lonely, miserable, cry-my-self-to-sleep-hugging-a-pillow-with-Ryan-Goslings-face-on-it single existence. The only actual Valentine I have ever received was a prank.
So if there's one thing I know well, it's singledom. I know it intimately. So well, in fact, that I'm practically in a relationship with it. It's love. Actually, y'know what Single Life? Be my Valentine.
So on that note, here's some advice for not just surviving V-Day while single, but rather coming to love it like the fabulous excuse to drink all the wine and eat all the chocolate and annoy all the couples by spinning Single Ladies on repeat that it is.
Don't pretend it doesn't exist
It's like someone telling you not to think of the pink elephant. Suddenly the only thing you can think about is the pink elephant, you just can't stop imagining this pink elephant, all you can see is pink, and all you can hear is elephant. And oh look it's spouting champagne out its rose adorned trunk and farting love hearts and getting I <3 Dumbo tattooed on its scarlet elephantine bum.
Trying to block out V-Day when you are single is fruitless, and will inevitably end with you scrolling through your couple-clogged Instagram feed at 3am drowning in red wine and #bae hashtags.
Besides, you shouldn't be so hung up on not being in a romantic relationship that the only way you can get through this day designed for couples is by ignoring it. You might as well live the rest of your life pretending that everyone in the world is single. But here's the thing - some people have relationships. You don't. Cool. Some people have dogs, too. Can they be nice and cuddly and great for pre-warming up the bed? Sure. Can they be a pain in the arse and demand constant affection and cleaning up their bodily fluids? Yes. Are you a lesser person because you don't have one? Absolutely not.
So don't manically flick past the Valentine's Gift Guide in whatever shitty tabloid you're totally not reading at work. Look at it. Look closer. And revel in the fact that someone out there really did spend £79.99 on a diamante encrusted key ring spelling Live Laugh Love. And then relish imagining someone pretending to like it.
Which brings me to the next point…
Remember that it's pretty much just a commercial exercise designed by our capitalist overlords enticing you to spend tonnes of money on crap you don't need because nothing says I Love You like dropping £99 pounds on cheap smelling perfume.
Like Christmas, Easter, and your great uncle twice removed's birthday, Valentine's Day has morphed into a day of consumption and puns. That's not to say celebrating them is bad - I mean, I don't not want to be showered with presents while I eat my entire body weight in dairy products. It's just good to keep in mind that this that this exercise is mainly about money, not love, as you wade through streets lined with crumpled petals and Hallmark cliches educating you on the colour of roses and violets.
Reclaim romance. And pink.
The notion that fizzy wine and pink things and chocolate boxes the size of a bath are reserved for those in some semblance of a relationship is, quite frankly, a travesty. Somewhere along the line, Valentine's Day has laid claim to all of them, probably because they're as sickly sweet as a long distance couple saying goodbye after a three hour long Skype chat. But these things are fun and sugar is delicious and you, my single friend, should not be missing out because of your blank Facebook relationship status. Yes, you have to buy it yourself, but you're not spending money on someone else so get the goddamn pink bubbly.
Date your friends, because they're the bloody best things ever.
I don't mean literally date your friends, although you can do that too, as long as you are respectful and abide by all the screwing-the-crew etiquette which we won't go into here. Doing romantic things together, platonically, is great. See above.
Trawl through Tinder/Happn/Bumble/Bloozy/Chancey/Blobby/Swoony/*insert frustratingly-catchily-named-shagging-app-here*
And therapeutically swipe left as you reflect on how fortunate you are not to have to spend any time with the self-proclaimed 'Entrepreneur at Self Employed' or 'Life Coach at Me'.
Do some work.
I don't mean the tax return due two months ago. I mean the kind of work that you actually want to do, the kind that maybe doesn't even feel like work, the kind that doesn't send shivers of dread down the spine that you've ruined from hunching over a keyboard.
This is undoubtedly one of the greatest aspects of being single. You have so much free time when you are not bickering about whose turn it is to wrench themselves from the cosy dream fort of bed to flick off the light. Put it to good use by manufacturing the kind of life and work you want. The kind that doesn't leave you bored and unfulfilled and yearning to crawl into someone's undeserving arms at the end of a crappy day. Write a book! Knit a tea cosy! Whatever. The world's your oyster.
Celebrate something else.
Granted, this is much easier if you have a family member who was conveniently born on February 14th, allowing you to pretend that the entire world is exploding in a cesspit of rose petals and oversized plush toys purely for them. On that note - Happy Birthday Mum!
Very different to being lonely. Being lonely involves crying into your XL glass of wine about the fact you've never found the floppy haired Hugh Grant that all the soppy rom-coms you've watched promised would seduce you with a sly quip about kebabs. Being alone also involves all these things, while simultaneously relishing the fact you can spread eagle across your crisp crumb lined bed and wriggle to your (happy) heart's content without being slapped over the head with a used condom.
Ignore every little last bit of this advice.
And do whatever the hell you want. Because the best part of being single is having to answer to nobody. Except your mum. You should probably still listen to your mum.
Text Georgie Wright
Image taken from Bridget Jones's Diary