Hello and welcome, it’s the most terrible time of the year!
If the romantic industrial complex and partnership normativity has you down in the dumps this Valentine’s Day season, then fret not, dear hearts. In lieu of going out to a dinner that is thick with unnecessary expectations as impressed upon you by completely arbitrary societal standards, I have hatched a list of sweet, sweet alternatives for you to celebrate the love you have for yourself. Or Beethoven. Or cheesecake. These can be done alone or with partners or in an orgy.
Let’s get cooking.
Hey, it’s “Mezcalentine’s Day”! This holiday requires that you, on your way home from work, grab a bottle of mid-range Mezcal from your local liquor store where the owner knows you’ll always bring up the weather at checkout and is consistently not interested. At least it’s not my IBS, Bob! You will then proceed to the market to grab one grapefruit, one lime, a bottle of agave nectar, and some soda water. You will make yourself a Paloma at home, and you will dip the rim of your glass in salt and secure it with a lime wedge because you’re full of life and we do it right on Mezcalentine’s Day. Put on your favorite Mexican film of choice, like the iconic Roma or Y Tu Mama Tambien and attempt to keep your pants on.
“Banalentine’s Day” is–shockingly–every single day for me, but this right here is an occasion to really lean in! Start your morning with a completely unexceptional breakfast like scrambled eggs–no salt–and go to work with the intention of doing your routine tasks in the least creative way possible. Actually just disassociate until you return home. There, you can unwind with a Natural Light beer whilst watching The Big Bang Theory. At the stroke of midnight, take your top off.
For those of us who aren’t Gyan Yankovich, “Calentine’s Day” is the day to get your iCal/Google Cal in order–I don’t discriminate on the tool! Unless you use Outlook…messy. Anyway, Grandma’s birthday? Drop it in. Friendly hangs you forgot about right after you made ‘em? Dig up those texts. Currently dating? Reserve time during the week for it so you don’t cancel every time it feels “too unplanned” (I see you!) End the night by burning the forgotten bundle of sage that’s been sitting in your nightstand for over two years in order to purge disorganized energy. Lights out at 9:30 p.m.
This one is for the real freak-on-a-leash. For Pastoral-entine’s Day, come home from work and immediately put Beethoven’s “Pastoral Symphony” (No. 6) on the speakers. Then, fix up Beethoven’s favorite meal, which apparently was pollock with potatoes and a glass of Austrian wine. Honestly…it could be worse for early 19th century Vienna. After eating said meal, take a Tum and put on noise-canceling headphones and record your attempt to sing the tune of “Für Elise.” If you get more than 50% of the notes right, then congratulations! You’re basically Beethoven. Wrap up the evening with a viewing of the truly mediocre Immortal Beloved starring Gary Oldman and Isabella Rosselini, with permission to pass out from pollock-and-potato-induced fatigue around the halfway point.
When I tell you that I am, in fact, participating in this exact V-Day alternative, you had better believe it. If your morale, like my own lately, has suffered from the slings and arrows of life and love, here are a few ways to provide it with a booster seat:
1. Take 15 minutes to look at photos from high school to remind yourself how far you’ve come. Those two sets of braces don’t define you anymore! You’ve bloomed like a peony!
2. Take yourself out to dinner and bring a book you just started. Note: The book has to be funny. If you’re me, you’re at a French restaurant ordering coq au vin with a glass of Bordeaux and the book is Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett. Dessert is non-optional, do not insult me.
3. Come home and watch/RE-watch Cheer.
4. Write a list in your journal–I’m not kidding here, you must–of things you admire about yourself in one column, then in another, a list of the ways you plan to act on those traits in the coming month, either for yourself or for others.
5. Set a mandatory late-night appointment with your vibrator.
Here’s hoping that one of the above provides a creative alternative to the usual Valentine’s Day–and dare I mention, Galentine’s Day–fare. If none of them strike your fancy, feel free to stick a square peg in a round hole with options like “Cheesecakentine’s Day,” in which you order and sample one slice of every cheesecake from the Factory (you know the factory of which I speak), or “Patrick Swayzentine’s Day,” in which you marathon every Patrick Swayze movie, saving Point Break for very last, and a have deadline to sign up for ceramics classes in your area by midnight.