My World is almost normal… On Surviving Valentine’s Day

They say “April is the cruelest month.” They’re dead wrong. February has it beat six ways from Sunday. First of all, the excitement of the Januarian New Year has worn thin. By now, there’s really no hope that this year will be much of an improvement on the previous, and we’re back to the daily grind. New Year’s resolutions have all been broken, college classes have resumed, and reality has once again set in. However, it’s still extremely cold. And of course in February the epitome of cruelty, otherwise known as Valentine’s Day, occurs.

First of all, it’s mildly cruel even to those who are attached, and I don’t just mean Siamese twins. Society has, as various emails I’ve received will attest, conspired to create yet another day of obligatory capitalist expenditure. Greeting cards and chocolate and flowers and balloons and disgustingly cute bears and various and sundry other things of the sort. I think even a dismembered carcass would be purchased if it were painted red and covered with lace, or cut in the shape of a heart. And a parity of gifts must be achieved, as you don’t want to feel that the relationship is too unbalanced. And may god have mercy on the soul of he who forgets to buy anything for his significant other, because she sure as heck won’t.

But enough about how the couples suffer. Because I don’t care. As one of the many bitter, single people on this earth who looks forward to Valentine’s Day almost as much as getting my wisdom teeth removed, I can’t help but not feel any sympathy at all. Try complaining about how expensive your kitchen repairs are to a homeless person. The unfortunate masses, myself included, get to spend the whole day watching couples fawn all over each other. As if this wasn’t irritating enough during the rest of the year.

So, it’s going to be an unpleasant day. This is unavoidable. However, not all is lost. Having just survived this year’s V-day, I can inform you that there are several methods you can use to lessen the nausea of saccharine romantic cuteness:

1) Denial. There’s no reason you have to acknowledge that today is a holiday. I bet there are lots of other saints you ignore on a regular basis. Just isolate yourself in your room and turn up your stereo. If you have to have contact with couples that are attached, respond to any vestige of Valentine’s Day by acting very excited about the upcoming St. Augustine’s Day. When they say they don’t know what you’re talking about, berate them for not getting into the spirit.

2) The Bluff. After you’ve finished eating lunch with your friends, pull out the little heart-shaped box of chocolates you were given today. Everyone will know that somebody out there loves you. They don’t have to know that it’s you. A box of chocolates will do nicely; a card is optional, though entirely unnecessary. Sending yourself more than one Valentine’s card is a sign that you are going a bit too far.

3) Substitute. So, you don’t have a significant other that loves you. There’s plenty of love in this world to go around. Your grandmother loves you, if she’s still alive. If you’re religious, god loves you. Smile and tell people that when they see that you’re sitting alone. You’re spending quality time with god. Or for great effect, appreciate the affections of an inanimate object. Maybe your toaster is the only one who truly understands you. Bring your toaster around with you all day and constantly hug it. Which leads us to the next method….

4) Pity. Whether you’re hugging a toaster or gazing forlornly out a window, the happy couples are bound to take notice of your non-coupled nature. They’re probably having a great day, so it’s likely that they might be feeling sympathetic towards you. If you’re lucky, you can even score a pathetic pity hug or two from someone else’s girlfriend or boyfriend. It’s almost as good as real love, in the same way that cleverly disguised tofu is almost as good as real meat products.

5) Desperation. Okay, so you’ve come to terms with the fact that you’re alone on Valentine’s Day. There must be some other lonely people out there too, right? Just look for lonely people using the first four methods, walk up, and go for a French kiss. (Note: the author of this piece denies all responsibility both legal and moral for any consequent lawsuits.) Sure, in most cases the random person will be disgusted and offended, but there is a chance that you’ll find someone in this manner. (Just like there’s a chance that the presidential campaign could be won by Ross Perot, however small. And so are his chances.)

So good luck to my fellow embittered single folk out there. When V-day comes around again next year, just remember that there are numerous methods for defeating it. Soon the day will be over and the fact that you are very alone will be slightly less apparent. And in case you don’t want pity, remember this final helpful hint:

“If you look depressed, you’ll face an inquest, so go with denial and wear a fake smile.”

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