This is my third straight year without a date on Valentine's Day. That's actually probably a good thing because prior to that I'd had a date every year since I was 12. Serial monogamy aside, that first dateless year was a bit odd. According to popular opinion, single women on Valentine's Day should spend the day either crying while eating a whole box of chocolates and listening to Adele on repeat or get really bitter and spend the day telling everyone how much they hate Valentine's Day. That doesn't really jive with me. If you haven't noticed, I love holidays and all the quirky cheesy stuff that comes along with them. I've probably baked enough heart shaped apple pies to feed a small village of orchard dwellers. So what's a gal to do? Do better stuff!
Celebrating Galentine's Day
Direct from Leslie Knope it's Gal-entine's Day, the celebration of all your awesome girl friends who you haven't slept with yet. Realistically you probably have more love for your bros than you do for the last six girls you dated so why not celebrate it? I know this one is obvious but it's still a tried and true classic. Get together your other single friends together for dinner, drinks and dancing. Alternatively, you guys could have dinner and watch Romeo+Juliet. Bonus points if you pull off the evening without any secret romantic agenda or sleeping with any of your friends.
Send Flowers to Your Folks
Remember when you were little and your parents would give you valentines? Now that you're all grown up you can return the favor. I always send roses from Winston Flowers through NPR (to show I care, and care about the news) but most towns have a flower shop that can ship all sorts of bouquets anywhere in the country. If you live at or near your parents it's even easier -- just pick up some flowers and arrange them neatly in the kitchen. I guarantee your folks will be thrilled.
Write Some Seriously Heartfelt Letters
When was the last time you wrote a thoughtful letter to your grandmother, best friend, sibling, brother-in-law, best friend's mom, college roommate, or yes, even your parents. Probably not ever. Valentine's Day is a great time to remind the people in your life just how much they mean to you in a nearly-free and concrete way. Think about the sort of things you would want to hear from your close friends, or the kind of things you normally only say when you're drunk. If you want to get real into it, aim to make your letter so emotional and heartfelt that the recipient cries. (This should go without saying, but don't write a letter to your ex.)
Send Valentines From Your Pet
If you have a cat or dog, why not give a Valentine from your pet to a friend's pet? In theory this sounds slightly cat-ladyish, but in practice it's actually just adorable. For example, if you and the girl who lives across the hall both have dogs, tie a red ribbon around a dog bone with a note that says "Buster, I hope you have a paw-some Valentine's Day! Love, Cannoli." Alternatively, if you have a cat, you could send a pink ball of yarn to your sister's cat with a note that says "Midnight, I think you're purrr-fect. Be my Valentine? Love, Mittens." Simple is always better lest your neighbor think you're a psychopath.
If you don't already have a pet, Valentine's Day is a great time to adopt one! Puppies are the ultimate source of unconditional love and shelters are full of them this time of year. Check out The Shelter Pet Project for pets in your area!
The best part about being single on Valentine's Day is that you don't have to buy anyone a gift or pay for an expensive evening out! You can spend the money you would have spent on a gift for your girlfriend on something special for yourself. Whether it's a massage, hair appointment, or whatever, getting a spa treatment is the ultimate form of self indulgence. I suggest going for a manicure-pedicure. In terms of spa treatments it's usually only about $30 total and you get to sit in a vibrating chair while someone rubs your feet. If you want to up the ante on the V-Day elements, ask your nail tech to paint little hearts on you pinkies. If having painted nails isn't exactly your style, you can still enjoy getting your nails done and just ask for them to be buffed and left natural. Alternatively, save even more money and do this at home, alone or with friends, and a glass of wine or eight.
Pink Lemonade is delicious and Valentine's Day is your only good excuse to drink it until July.
Valentine's Day is about all sorts of love, even the love you have for yourself. Dedicate a yoga practice to all of the things that you love about yourself even the parts you secretly hate. Set your intention to be mindful of all the love in the world. Maybe focus on some heart opening postures. If you're suffering from a broken heart you can take some of the sting out of Valentine's Day by trying out this absolutely perfect Yoga to Cure a Broken Heart. Chances are good there's a weirdo embarrassing-but-awesome couples yoga option somewhere in your city; go with your roommate or best friend, and both of you can spend the rest of the day reveling in your sense of balance and moral superiority.
Celebrate with Kids
Little kids blindly love Valentine's Day even thought they're obviously not in romantic relationships. Even if you don't have children, I bet there are some little kids in your life; brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousin's new baby, etc. Even if there are no little kids in your life, maybe you could borrow one from your roommate. If you don't want to invest too much time into your Valentine's Day, you could certainly send the little kid in your life a cutesy valentine or a heart patterned piece of clothing. Alternatively, you could block off the day to play with said kid. Once you've secured your little kid, you can do anything from making pink-topped cupcakes together to helping them make valentines for their class. The best part is, whomever you're borrowing the kid from will probably perceive this as "babysitting" and thus get to enjoy a Valentine's Day night out if they so wish. Little will they know you're actually using their child as an excuse to glue doilies to more doilies.
Prep for the Future
Just because you're single on Valentine's Day doesn't mean you'll be single forever (unless that's what you want, in which case it probably does). Take Valentine's Day as an opportunity to put your best foot forward in your next relationship. Maybe this is the time to sort your underwear in to Trash, Period, Everyday and Sexytime piles. Maybe you want to finally install that dimmer in your ceiling light so you can have mood lighting in your bedroom. Maybe there's some lifestyle equipment you need to boil (just saying). If you feel like getting crafty, you can even make/order funny business cards to hand out to people at your local girl bar so they know how fucking amazing you are. Other people do that too, right?
There are a ton of people out there who don't have the money or time to devote to something as (real-talk) frivolous as Valentine's Day. Make this Valentine's Day about helping someone else by donating your time or money to a good cause. Plenty of cities hold Valentine's Day charity events for families in need so check out Volunteer Match to see what's going on around Valentine's Day near you. If you do end up buying someone (or yourself) a gift or flowers, consider shopping through a site like We-Care for which a portion of the proceeds go to charity. You can also, of course, always shop through Autostraddle's Amazon affiliate account. If you want to get really cheesy, you can even get involved with The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.