must.have.these.

Much like it’s evil twin, New Year’s Eve, this “holiday” (which I’m convinced is a conspiracy of greeting card companies and chocolatiers) can make a single gal feel decidedly single. I’ve just survived the holidays with the relatives and their well-intentioned “how’s your love life?” interrogations, listed and then promptly forgotten about all the ways I was resolving to be better person in 2012, and am settling back down into normal routines, and then – Valentine’s Day. It’s back, and I’m still single. Le sigh.

I’m not upset about being single. I love it. But something about these contrived occasions can bum even the most secure women out.

I’m here to tell you it’s okay to get annoyed with everyone being in love except you, and you don’t have to fake happiness for them during these times. But it’s simply impolite to be obvious about it. So just find another way to channel it into something enjoyable for yourself!

Over the years, my other chronically single girlfriends and I have utilized various coping mechanisms when it comes to Valentine’s Day. Here are some of my favorite, either for their comedic or healing quotient:

totally.

1. Live and Learn Party – This was very entertaining in my college years. Details are fuzzy due to large amounts of two buck Chuck consumed (we had a “one bottle per chica” minimum), but the rules of the evening involve lots of anthemic girl-power music (think Chaka Khan, Pat Benetar, Joan Osbourne, etc.), and candle light. We performed a ritual listing of all the men boys we’d ever loved, shared with the group their names, the reasons we had loved them, the reasons it hadn’t worked out, and what we’d learned from the relationship. We promised each other that we would spend more time figuring ourselves out as independent women before we moved into the next relationship. Many brownies and much ice cream was consumed. A dance party in the living room ensued.

I give you permission to do this.

2. Pity Party – A misery fest can be very healing on Singles Awareness Day, particularly if you’re just exiting a relationship. A solid cry can be very cleansing. Sylvia Plathonce said “There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.” Don’t actually pull a Sylvia because you’re depressed, but do let this axiom can guide your evening. You need only yourself, sweatpants, wine, ice cream, a tub of bubbles, and a movie guaranteed to set off tears. Settle onto the couch with your wineglass and watch something that will restore your faith in finding love, such as “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” or “The Notebook,” depending on your mood. Take the time to journal or meditate on past relationships and figure out how you can redefine as your heart’s desire for the next big thing.

3. Girls Night Out Something I engage in quite regularly, but I love the chance to get dressed up (somehow getting ready is always at least as much fun as actually going out, right?), have a fabulous meal, and then dance the night away. Make eyes at the hot bartender/waiter/cab driver, laugh loudly with your girlfriends, and pass it off as any other day. Do you need a man on your arm to feel like fun? Nope. Let’s dance about it!

4. Hearts on our Sleeves Party – A few years ago, single and upset about it, I drove to my friend’s house, armed to the teeth with streamers, tablecloths, and cheesy heart everything. We decorated, baked goodies in heart-shaped pans, prepared a fabulous multi-course meal, and reminded each other about the qualities that made us complete, awesome people. We embraced the idea of love, acknowledged we weren’t in relationships we wanted, but decided we were okay. We shared details from childhood and past relationships that had guided us to who we were at that point in our lives. I left feeling loved and hopeful.

5. Hit the Road – For New Year’s Eve this year, BFF and I decided to escape the usual traps of expensive evenings out or disappointing house parties, and headed off to create our own adventure.

perfect.

We picked a friends who lived in a place neither of us had been (in this case, Portland, Oregon), created a sweet song mix, stashed some delicious snacks into the car and hit the road. Everything was new and exciting, there was no pressure to be at anyone’s event back at home, and we got in some great bonding time. Our New Year’s Eve saw us hiking waterfalls, eating from street carts, drinking whiskey from a flask, dressed as casually as I’ve ever been on that day, singing along to a cover bands “End of the World as We Know It” and kissing ten strangers at midnight. It was the best start to a new year, ever.

You could volunteer at a homeless shelter, orphanage, or senior center and love on some of our society’s forgotten. Take your parents out to dinner to thank them for their love that created you. Write love letters to your girlfriends and thank them for what they mean to your life. The options are endless. Whatever you decide to do to celebrate or ignore this “holiday,” remember that you are a great person, with much to offer this world AND a future mate. And really, February 14th is not designed to define you. It’s really just another day.

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