Editor’s Note: I remember when I was in High School and College, Valentine’s Day was one of the days girls loved, and feared. If you had a boyfriend, you wondered if he was going to send flowers, or a card, or do anything romantic to show his affections. When “the love express” arrived, you were joyful. If your boyfriend “forgot,” you might not be talking to him the next day! However, if you weren’t dating anyone at all, Valentine’s Day was a bit like being on the stag line at the dance…you knew you were going to be by yourself until and unless some guy (any guy) came along to “rescue” you from your V-day blues. Yes, it was truly unemancipated — why didn’t we know better?! But for the girls in my class and later, in my dorm, who didn’t get anything, it really was agony. Decades later however, even though most adults know that Valentine’s Day is a commercial holiday, that card, that love note, that invitation to dinner, a rose (or a lot of roses), or a special gift, doesn’t seem to silly or pointless. As my co-author Tony Sabatini (aka. “Leather”) has said on our relationship website, Leather and Lace Advice about giving gifts or tokens of the season: “Gifts allow us to bring a little permanent piece of joy and happiness to a relationship.“
Katie Rice is an intelligent young woman who is also a talented writer, and very pretty as well. She is currently writing reviews for The Advice Sisters (when she writes for us, we specifically acknowledge her content). Since Katie is a lot younger than I am, and as I presume it, unattached at the moment, I wondered how she views February 14th. Her article surprised and delighted me — I think you will enjoy it, too. (Alison Blackman Dunham)
DATING MYSELF THIS VALENTINE’S DAY, by Katie Rice for the Advice Sisters
This is not one of those articles. You know the kind I mean: those whiny, single woman Valentine’s Day articles about finding the right brand of fancy chocolate to eat while you think of all of the men who broke your heart, or all the unavailable men you’re lusting after ( although I will admit that I may throw in some fancy chocolate recommendations).
As a single twenty-something dating in New York City, I never assume I will have a date for Valentine’s Day. I haven’t been seriously dating someone—nor do I want to be right now—and Valentine’s Day is hardly ever chosen for a blind date or a first date or even, gasp!, a Tinder date. Yes, I’ve just admitted to using Tinder. The day has taken on a mythic significance in the singles culture. It would mean something to have someone to have an expensive prix fixe menu dinner with on the night—this year even more convenient because it’s a Friday. It also means something not to have a date.
I’m not a Valentine’s hater. I’m sure when I’m in a relationship I’ll jump right in the boat with the rest of them and tell everyone I know about the fancy place where my boyfriend made reservations. But until then, my Valentine’s Days consist of a different kind of romance. And I’m not talking about the cheesy “Galentine’s Day”—although a boozy brunch with the girlfriends is sometimes necessary during V-Day Weekend. I’m talking about romancing myself. This means doing exactly what I want to do. And indulging.
Working in publishing, I’m not exactly rolling in money, so even though I’m only responsible to myself—no kids, no dog, only a cactus to my name—I don’t normally indulge myself. This year, I’ve come up with a whole weekend of ways I’ll be courting me, myself, and I. Whether you’re unattached or even if you do have a “special someone,” I encourage you to help yourself to a few of mine, or come up with your own.
Firstly, Valentine’s Day 2014 is on a Friday night. I don’t want to fight the crowds at a restaurant, but I do want to eat well. (This is where I mention how vitally important single friends are to this plan. Because I am a twenty-something, I still have plenty of single friends.) I plan on cooking something decadent and probably in-theme. Because I love themes and red desserts (red velvet cake anyone?), I’ve picked out this spaghetti dish and these cupcakes. I’ll pair them with a nice Rioja and have an all red dinner. My friends and I are planning on sharing the cooking and cleaning responsibilities so everyone has a good time, and no one becomes the host-who-does-everything.
I always like the idea of going home full and warm from a dinner with my friends, but on Valentine’s Day I think it is imperative to at least go out for a drink. This year, I’m going to choose a dive bar, some place where I won’t be rubbing elbows with PDA or accidentally stepping into some V-Day haters party. And then I will take myself home and sleep happy and warm and full.
Saturday is my own sort of self-appointed secondary day of Valentine’s lovin’. If I were paying more attention to my inner dialogue more of the time it might read something like: “please, relax!” “let’s go get a hair cut!” “can we please do another one of those exfoliating masks you did six months ago? That was great.” So, Saturday, February 15th is a spa day. My ideal day includes a great exfoliating mask—and one that fights my beautiful (ha!) adult acne—(The Aloe Source has a great one called the Jojoba Radiance Cleansing Polish), a long shower and some serious hair care—I’m all about the Wen line—and finally an at home pedi complete with Kiehl’s Crème de Corps, the richest lotion I’ve ever used.
I’m also looking forward to catching up on my reading and the stack of New Yorker magazines that are piling up on my nightstand—no, I still haven’t finished reading the 1897345897 page piece on Barack Obama. I might even dive into a classic romance novel because, although I may be romancing myself this Valentine’s Day, after this at-home spa day and weekend of relaxation I am going to be looking and feeling pretty good.
Honestly, I can’t wait to date myself! I know me better than anyone else, and I know pretty much exactly what I want to be doing at any time. So while New York has a love-drenched weekend, I’ll be happy with me, myself and I . Happy and waiting for Monday morning when I unveil the rested, relaxed me. I might even jump back into the dating game again—after singles everywhere have breathed a sigh of relief that Valentine’s Day is now safely 364 days away. And if not, I’ll probably keep up with this dating myself thing. Because it’s not so bad.
*well said, Katie! Katie Rice is a writer who works in eBook publishing, marketing and PR during the week and spends her weekends writing and drinking copious amounts of coffee in her apartment in Brooklyn. We’re delighted to have her talent at advicesisters.net and wish her a fabulous Valentine’s Day weekend.