I have been on both sides of Valentine’s Day – that wonderful romantic feeling with flowers delivered to my office, a lovely dinner out somewhere, etc.,. and at other times it has been the, “Well, here you are alone while the rest of your friends have someone to celebrate with” situation. Granted, as we enter into our 23rd year of marriage, it has been a long time since I felt left out at Valentine’s Day, but those pangs have not disappeared from my memory.
The simple truth is that Valentine’s Day is another one of those marketing targets and as an unabashed capitalist, I’m okay with that part. Yes, advertisers make it seem as if everyone on the planet should be exchanging expressions of love – that’s what marketers do. By the way guys, if you are on a tight budget, let me tell you that a single rose given with a card is every bit as romantic as a bouquet that you can’t really afford. If the girl/woman you’re trying to impress needs the big bouquet instead, the relationship has other problems. But back to the point of feeling down at Valentine’s Day. This is where having girlfriends can come through for you. Take in something artsy – an exhibit, a concert, a lecture. Hit a cutesy cafe instead of a restaurant offering that special dinner for two. No girlfriends available? If you want to stay home – do a favorite take-out or how about experimenting with a recipe that you’ve been meaning to try? Make it a movie night, although instead of a romantic comedy, maybe something poignant like “Searching for Bobby Fischer”, “Tuesdays with Morrie”, or a film noir - ”Body Heat”, “Double Indemnity” and so forth. Feel like going out? If you have the slightest inclination toward sports, do a Sports Bar and yes, sit at the bar and eat. Talk will swirl around you and none of it is likey to be about personal relationships. If you have an Irish pub nearby, that’s good, too. If anyone understands being alone at Valentine’s Day, it’s the lyrical Irish.
And here comes the inevitable cliche – go ahead and love yourself at Valentine’s Day. It counts, my friend, it counts for a great deal.