So you're single on Valentine's Day, huh?
Like most people, I have been both single and coupled on Valentine's Day and can admit that I've had more fun as a single lady than as one half of a couple.
Valentine's Day is like the New Year's Eve of couple-dom; high-pressure, high expectations, absurdly expensive and generally kind of a letdown.
Boxes of refined sugar are sweet but hazardous. Overpriced plants cut off at the knees are strange symbols of affection. Romantic candlelit dinners are less special on Valentine's Day when every restaurant without a clown as its spokesperson is booked to an uncomfortable capacity and you're forced to pony up for a four-course prix fixe meal.
But lucky you! You don't have to deal with any legislated Hallmarky malarkey! You're single! You are free!
Many singles feel lame when they don't have plans for Valentine's Day. This is valid. It never feels great to assume that the rest of the world is having loads of fun and sex while you sit at home streaming episodes of The Bachelor.
But it doesn't have to be like that! Make Valentine's Day work for you. Here are a few ideas that will help make this February the 14th far less painful than any other February the 14th you have ever known.
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Head to the pub. It's the one night of the year (except for maybe Christmas Eve) when you can safely assume that everyone in your direct vicinity is single... or will be very soon. Brazen flirting ahoy! Also, it's a safe bet that the pub in question has amazing nachos. Do you really need love when there are amazing nachos in this world? Please answer honestly.
Hit the gym. It will be emptier than usual. And anyone working up a sweat at GoodLife at 8 p.m. on Valentine's Day is single. Ogle at will!
Play video games and drink beer. It's February. No one's going to judge.
Embrace the pathetic. One Valentine's Day, I put on a full face of makeup, whipped up a massive vat of Kraft Dinner, threw in some sliced hot dogs and plopped myself down on the couch to watch many, many hours of reality television. I felt like Peggy Bundy. It was basically the best.
Go to the movies. Avoid romcoms and sweeping romantic epics. Stretch out in the seats of an action or horror movie with some friends. If you are of age, smuggling in a bottle of "extra-special juice" will make this experience all the more entertaining. Just sip your juice discreetly. And responsibly.
Rent Blue Valentine. It practically guarantees that you'll never want to be in a relationship again. Not even with Ryan Gosling or Michelle Williams. (Especially not with Ryan Gosling or Michelle Williams.)
Check out a local singles event. Look adorable. Drink fancy drinks. Meet hotties. It is a triumvirate of win!
Read a book. Have you ever tried reading? Reading is awesome!
Babysit. Take one for the team and give the overtired mums and dads in your circle of friends a break from the lovely tedium of childrearing. They can have a night out as a couple for the first time in 18 months and you'll have someone cute who smells good and doesn't talk much drooling all over you. And -- deep down -- isn't that everything you've ever wanted?
A version of this article originally appeared in Sun Media newspapers.