Valentine’s Day can be a drag when you’re single. Social media blows up with declarations of love and happiness, while you find yourself in your mid-30s, alone on a couch in your underwear eating Chef Boyardee straight from the can. This doesn’t mean that you can’t celebrate yourself on Valentine’s Day. After all, they say you can’t love anyone if you don’t love yourself. That’s why for the last few years I’ve started taking myself out on Valentine’s day.
The key to pulling off this romantic evening of not eating ravioli in your undies is to treat it as if you were planning Valentine’s night out for you and your better half. Get yourself a reservation at a fancy restaurant, the kind that should be full on Valentine’s Day. Don’t say you’re getting a table for one, get a table for two. When you arrive on the evening of the meal, give your reservation and take your place at the table alone. Dress up, look the part.
Your waiter will most likely ask where the other member of your party is, this is when you must break the news. “Well, my Sheila is sick tonight. She has a bad case of the turkey trots. But, she loves me so much she insisted that I do not miss our reservation and that I treat myself for Valentine’s Day. Don’t worry about her, she’ll be fine. I left her holded up in the bathroom with a bottle of Pedialyte.” I have found in my experience that this puts an end to any follow-up questions from the wait staff and/or management.
Enjoy the meal. Savor every single bite, but make a point to be busy on your phone so it appears that you’re checking in on “Sheila.” Tip the waiter well when the meal ends, compliment the chef, leave promptly. Odds are good they’ve been eyeing for when the weird loner will leave the restaurant since you sat down. After the meal, take yourself out to do something you really love. For me, that’s a dash over to a local arcade for several rounds of Pinball.
After pinball, I’ll return home, fix myself a nice martini, throw a Sinatra album on the turntable, relax and think about what an enjoyable evening I’ve had. This is my time to avoid going on social media and looking at all the posts about people in love and what not. It’s just me, my world, and the sounds of The Chairman filling the space around me. I find it so relaxing that I often will drift off into a short nap right around the time the “Nice and Easy” album finishes playing.
I then go on off to bed, with a smile on my face, my stomach full of amazing food, and feeling quite happy about my decisions to take myself out on a date. Valentine’s day can be a day that can bring a lot of those under the surface emotions to the front, that doesn’t mean it can’t be a day that you—single as the day is long—can’t enjoy either. Just remember those magic words: “holded up in the bathroom with a bottle of Pedialyte.” See you next week.