I was ready, dear reader, to use this blog to rail against Valentine’s Day. I was going to remind you that it’s just another pagan holiday usurped by the Catholic Church to ease the transition to Christianity; that there is no historical evidence of a St. Valentine involved in anything related to romantic love. The stories about Valentine marrying soldiers against the emperor’s orders, or falling in love with his jailer’s daughter – it’s all a lie, dear reader. This truly is a consumerist day of pseudo-loving one-ups-man-ship that equates to bank for Hallmark. Why do we fall for such gross displays of capitalist greed? What is romantic about a dozen red roses, the gift that says, “I put zero thought into you as an individual”? Valentine’s Day is bullshit.
Still that doesn’t mean February 14th can’t be a nice day.
Here are Seven Simple Steps to Making Valentine’s Day Not Suck. I have no doubt Cosmo will want to publish this next year for all the lonely ladies out there.
1. Plan a romantic date. Then invite a good friend. This step might require the Intervention of Fate. For example, your good friend might have been out of town since 2012 began, but you know she’ll be in the city for a single day between trips this week. When you suggest hanging out for the minute she’s home, it’s dumb luck that it’s Valentine’s Day. Though you were planning to spend this day drunk, crying, and watching a Buffy marathon on Chiller, this other plan is much better. Good luck wrangling those stars to align, it doesn’t usually work out so rom-com cute for you. Tip: choose a friend who bakes and will bring you a brownie baked around two Oreos layered in peanut butter. This unexpected surprise will make your day infinitely better.
2. Start the day with a margarita. From Chipotle. At 11:30am. Because your life is about embracing new experiences and expanding your horizons, and despite thousands of Chipolte burrito bowls, you’ve never had a Chipotle margarita. Besides, won’t ice skating be more interesting if you’re drunk? Bonus: you’ll have an excuse for falling down.
3. Go ice skating in Central Park. Profess to hate clichés but secretly desperately want them? Just do it. Ice skating in Central Park sounds like the cheesiest romantic activity possible, so own it, live it, love it, even if you are there with a girl and will not make slow circles around the rink holding hands and looking deeply into each other’s eyes. Glide with giddiness. Push yourself faster and pretend you’re flying. Let your heart break watching a father catch his tiny daughter over and over as she flails backwards into his patient arms. Make decisions about taking breaks based on the goodness of the rink’s playlist. Fall only once, ten minutes before you’re finished skating for the day, to maintain your clumsy street cred. Tip: bang your knee so hard you have an excuse to avoid the gym for a few days.
4. Go to Serendipity 3 for frozen hot chocolate. You’ve heard endlessly about this restaurant and its special treat on 6oth Street. Why not take this romantic opportunity to finally experience it for yourself? The frozen MINT hot chocolate will be the size of your head. It will be everything you heard it would be. You will drink it all, no matter how ill it makes you feel. Because Valentine’s Day is all about the over-consumption of chocolate and you are living the dream. (Also, eat the blue corn chips with goat cheese. Don’t get the weird fishy dim sum with honey mustard sauce. They’re gross.)
5. Go to Strawberry Fields. Because meandering through the park is another romantic activity you can reclaim as your own. Because you’ve been coming to New York for three decades and have somehow never been here. Because your recently inflamed Beatles obsession is starting to get…obsessive. Tip: laugh inappropriately about whether the guy who shot John Lennon did it for Jodie Foster, or if that’s the guy who shot the pope. Tip within a tip: Amid your sacrilegious giggling, file away for later contemplation the woman crying over what isn’t even Lennon’s grave, 30 years after he died.
6. Get lost in Harlem. Just a smidge lost. Before it’s actually dark out. Because once again, it’s your mission to explore New York and all its corners, so…do that. While also creating a very silly memory with your lovely friend.
7. Spend the evening at home doing things that make you want to hug YOURSELF. After a long day out, it’s okay to spend the night alone. Who needs a man to snuggle with when you have Once, which is basically a hug on film? Who needs any man but David Sedaris to cuddle under the covers with? There is no better way to end a day dedicated to love than with things you feel passionate about.
BONUS ADVICE: Wear your sexy lacy black underwear. Even though you know no men will see it, do it for you. Do it to feel sexy and fun-loving and fully content with your single, silly self. Not just because you have four weeks worth of laundry to do and don’t have any other clean underwear.
So that’s it. You want a romantic, cliché-ridden Valentine’s? Do it for yourself. Chocolate is easy enough to come by (and brownie/oreo/peanut butter concoctions are sure to give you an erotic jolt), ice skating while holding hands is dangerous anyway (twice the opportunity to fall!), and the two straws in your giant frozen hot chocolate mean that you can still suck it down even if one gets sprinkle-clogged. Real life laughter with a good friend is far better than a pre-printed, saccharine card. And you can print that in your cards, Hallmark, and…..read it.