10 un-sappy ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day that won’t make you feel like a bitter old maid

Photo by Kimberly French/Twentieth Century Fix
Photo by Kimberly French/Twentieth Century Fix

Whether you have a hate-on for anything sappy or romantic, or your guy is of the genus Homo Neglectus and refuses to acknowledge the high holy day of love, it can be hard to find non-romantic things to do that don’t feel like you’re making some bitter-old-maid statement. You could send yourself candy with a note like Cher in Clueless, but we can think of 10 better things to try.

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Photo by Bryon Cohen/NBC Universal Inc

1. Celebrate Galentine’s Day
On the February 2 Valentine’s Day–centric episode of Parks and Recreation Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) gave all of her girlfriends presents and told them why they are special, celebrating what she calls Galentine’s Day. There’s no reason to spend Valentine’s Day solo if you’re single—take it as an opportunity to tell your ladies how much you love them.

2. A gadget of self-pleasure
If you’re going to be single, you really should treat yourself and invest in a device that will help pass the lonely times. For me, that device is a Kobo ($140, kobobooks.com). It’s discrete: no one will know you’re reading Nicholas Sparks’ books on the streetcar. Plus you can indulge in cute covers like brightly hued leather envelopes, Moleskine notebook lookalikes, or this one from Indigo with a cute typewriter graphic ($38, chapters.indigo.ca).

3. Indulge in someone else’s dysfunction
2011 was the year of funny women writing memoirs, and while I loved Tina Fey’s Bossypants and was amused by Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), there was another funny-girl-who-writes-for-TV book you may not have heard of: Hilary Winston’s My Boyfriend Wrote A Book About Me ($7, chapters.indigo.ca). Just like the title of the book says, her ex did write a book about their relationship, but in it he calls her his “fat ass girlfriend.” Ouch. Her collection of essays deals with their relationship (she calls him by name, rather than, say, “thinning hair boyfriend”), and also her hilarious forays into cat lady-dom and vagina-breaking one-night stands.

Photo by Kimberly French/Twentieth Century Fix

4. See a non tear-jerker movie
Listen, I am not going to hate on you for wanting to see The Vow, hey, Channing Tatum gets naked in it, but maybe Valentine’s Day isn’t the time to do it. Even if you’re going to see it semi-ironically, I still worry that as you fall asleep you’ll have a little sad moment of inner-reflection. Avoid the pre-REM pity and go see something fun. Opening February 14, This Means War has the requisite romance, but instead of pining there’s Chris Pine, and instead of hard times, there’s Tom Hardy. Both of these babes are fighting over the girl (in this case, it’s Reese Witherspoon). Bonus points for: Chelsea Handler as Witherspoon’s source for bitchy advice, a Gloria Steinem joke, and Witherspoon having fun with both her suitors without being morally conflicted by it. Sorry, Channing.


5. Perfume for poor people
I’ve been given a lot of heinous presents for Valentine’s Day (example: underwear with skulls on them, which to me says nothing good about how the guy sees that area of my anatomy), when all I’ve wanted was a nice bottle of perfume. Rather than investing funds in a new fragrance, I like the idea of throwing a perfume swap with friends. I have plenty of half-finished bottles that I’ve grown tired of, and this way someone else can give them a spin. Embrace the day and the theme and write a corny invite incorporating perfume names: Take a Chance, and you may leave Happy with a new Obsession to bring you Pleasures, if you don’t find The One enjoy drinks and Candy.

6. Stay at home and watch TV in denial
You could treat Valentine’s Day like any other night of the week and stay at home and watch TV, we won’t judge. The season premier of Cougar Town (CityTV) is a good reason to bask in the warming glow. I’d make a joke about you one day becoming a cougar yourself, but the show isn’t really about that anymore—Courteney Cox and costars are just a bunch of wine-swilling and sarcasm-spewing friends who’d never judge you for polishing off that big glass of pinot before the second commercial break.

7. No-make-out makeup
In anticipation of us all obsessing over our appearance for The Most Romantic Date Ever, beauty companies launch some amazing new lip products around this time of year. Unlike the girls that will be headed to Make Out City later in the evening, you don’t have to worry about looking all Ronald McDonald if you wear a deep shade. So paint on a vivid shade of Lancôme’s new Rouge in Love lipstick ($30, lancome.ca) or a bright Rimmel Kate Moss lipstick ($6, at drugstores) and know that it will look perfect all night thanks to your abstinence.

8. Revel in another’s awkward experiences
Whether you’re in your twenties and worry you’re the only one who doesn’t get guys, or if you’re past that stage and want to feel grateful that you are, watch Tiny Furniture ($24, criterion.com). Starring, written, directed and self-funded by Lena Dunham, this little film that takes place between that time when you’re finally done college but have no idea what to do next. In the case of Dunham’s character Aura, it’s obsess over the wrong guys while alienating friends and family.

9. Download some new music
If you insist on something that will accentuate your solo status, download Islands A Sleep & A Forgetting (Anti-Records), which recognizes the long tradition of the contemplative break-up album. Islands’ Nick Thorbum wrote the songs to deal with the end of his relationship, and the Valentine’s Day release is filled with sweet melodies about loss and moving on.

10. Shoes
If all else fails, buy the one thing that symbolizes how little men will ever understand women: shoes. From clunky wedges to sculptural sandals, men seem uninterested in anything more complicated than the pump. With spring stock starting to make its way into shops like crocuses heralding pedicure weather, shoes may hurt you but they’ll never let you down. These wooden wedges from Suno ($185, shopbop.com) are just the kind of design that feels simple to us, but would cause a guy to scratch his head.

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