Hate the date? Still single? You can still celebrate—see our suggestions
By Melissa Stefanec
You know that quiet voice inside your head? It’s the one you (usually) listen to. Use that voice to say something to yourself. Say it in an even tone and with conviction. “There is no right or wrong way to do Valentine’s Day.”
Don’t believe me?
Let history be your persuader.
According to history.com, there are currently 12 Saint Valentines, and the most recent one was canonized in 1988. Although there are a dozen saints with this name, they all have the same heavenly duties after they die. Not only are they the patron saints of engaged couples and happy marriages, they are also responsible for interventions regarding beekeeping, epilepsy, the plague, fainting and traveling.
If there is more to being a Saint Valentine than love, surely there is more than one way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. So, if you don’t have plans yet, don’t despair. I have a list of ideas with options to cater to any status, agenda or persuasion. Because, after all, “there is no right or wrong way to do Valentine’s Day.”
❤ For the person who is in a couple where neither partner cares about V-Day: Order out. Scan the menu for something unhealthy and indulgent, then indulge together. After that, scheme about creative ways to work the calories off. Hiking in the cold at Sterling Nature Center or group Pilates perhaps?
❤ For the person who is in a couple where only you care about V-Day: If either one of us wants to have a Happy Valentine’s Day, you’re going to need to try some common ground. Here is my recommendation: each person puts four things they want to do in a cup. The only rule is that thing must not take more than two hours. Then, trade cups and draw one item from your partner’s cup. Your partner does the same. Now, you are both on the hook to do those things. It will be a good exercise in empathy and compromise, two skills you need if you’re going to make it as a couple.
❤ For the person who is in a couple where only your partner cares about V-Day: Please play the cup game cited above. Remember, the words of the day are empathy and compromise.
❤ For the person who is in a couple but hates forced expressions of love: Set aside 10 minutes for the love interest in your life. Dig deep down into your soul and find all the positive feelings you have about your partner. Write those feelings down on a square sheet of paper. Fold that paper into an origami star. In less than it takes to order and receive a coffee, you have a sentimental gift for someone you care about. If this seems like overkill to you, it might be time for some introspection.
❤ For the person who is single and cynical: From approximately Feb. 7 through Feb. 15, keep your mouth shut about all love or love-hate subjects. You can silently self-affirm your choice to be single. You can revel in the fact you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do AND no one is going to make you feel guilty for it. Just don’t throw it in other people’s faces or be negative about it. Buy yourself a luxurious beverage of your liking and toast to doing what’s right for you. Just keep the dialogue internal.
❤ For the person in couple where both of you love-love-love love: Why keep your Valentine’s Day celebration to just one day? If there can be 12 Saint Valentines, then you can celebrate the 12 days of love. Each of you choose six things you would love to do with the other. Then, choose a timeframe and get as much loving in as possible. Be obnoxious. Annoy others with your love. It’s the (almost) fortnight of your love!
❤ For the person who is single and loving it: Congratulations, you are loving you right now. That’s fabulous. That’s worth celebrating. Whatever your favorite solo activity is, do that thing. Celebrate you. Feed your soul. Buy a little something for yourself.
❤ For the person who is single and hating it: It’s your day to play Vampus, a character I just invented as the Valentine’s equivalent of Christmas’ Krampus. Buy a bag of snack-size Valentine’s Day candy. Then, sneak around campus and stealthily throw pieces of it at people who are displaying affection for one another. People might get mad, but they will simmer down when they see a peanut butter cup. Meanwhile, you get your holiday-related angst out by throwing small, hard objects at lovers.
❤ For the person who is coupled and hating it: It’s a conundrum as old as Valentine’s Day itself; when you aren’t feeling it anymore, do you dump someone before or after Valentine’s Day? There is no good answer. You’re a jerk either way. The best time to dump someone is when you know you have no interest in being with them. So, stop reading this article and do that jerk thing. The only thing jerkier than dumping someone on Valentine’s Day is stringing them along and tangling them in your web of lies.
❤ For the person who is coupled and loving it: If you love being in a couple and your partner does too, and you are both relatively neutral on celebrating Valentine’s Day, do a little a something to celebrate. Life is crazy and its demands are endless. What can it hurt to slow down and reflect on the beauty that is love?
❤ For the person who doesn’t like other people all that much: If you are one of these people, embrace yourself. Forget Valentine’s Day is even a thing. Get up, go to class, eat, do your work, recreate in some way and go to sleep. Tune out the Valentine’s Day noise, keep your head down and keep living and loving quality time with yourself.
Remember, “there is no right or wrong way to do Valentine’s Day.” Whether your jam is avoiding eye contact, throwing candy, slow dancing to love ballads, taking yourself on a date or doing couple’s jujitsu, do what feels right to you. After all, if you don’t embrace and enjoy who you are, no one else’s embrace will compensate for that. As the patron saint of beekeeping might suggest, “there is no sting like a day without love.”