The past few days we’ve released plenty of quality Valentine’s content – where to get take-home meals, fun stuff to do over the weekend, virtual date ideas, and even the tale of a romantic couple haunting the Miller Caves – and that’s all well and good. But now’s the time for a little something different. Now’s a little something for the unattached, the numero unos, the dinner for ones, the loose pringles, the unsung guys and dolls living it up by themselves this February 14th.
I got a few humble suggestions from the coffee-stained desk of the Young Mongoose for you, my brothers and sisters in arms. Are they good suggestions? I dunno, maybe. I actually haven’t written them yet – I’m doing this intro first, and then I’m gonna get to them. If I know myself, they’ll probably be all right. For what its worth, they might entertain you for a minute or two. Hey, let’s start with that.
1. Read This Article
Look here, you’re already doing suggestion number one. Good job. I’ll just take this opportunity to hype you up for taking my first suggestion so quickly. Look at you. You’re the best, you absolute diamond, you. Keep on keepin’ on.
2. Put Your Phone Away
Seriously. This Valentine’s is on a Sunday, so hopefully you don’t need your phone for work. You can just leave it somewhere not attached to your body. It’ll be great, I promise. This isn’t a joke at all. Focus on something else, anything else – watch a movie, cook a meal, go for a stroll in the cold, literally anything other than social media, and you’ll almost certainly feel better.
3. Listen to an Album Straight Through
Since I’m not a musical artist struggling to make a living off my work, I love Spotify. Use it all the time. But it, along with iTunes and digital track-by-track music consumption in general, has kinda ruined the old art of front-to-back album listening, which is a damn shame considering the unmatched experience of listening to a masterpiece in its entirety in one sitting. If you have the time this Valentine’s, there’s no better way to transport yourself than putting on an album in the background and giving it your full musical attention. The choices are many – Cat Power’s Moon Pix or You are Free, Johnny Flynn’s Been Listening, maybe Earl Sweatshirt’s Some Rap Songs. Have you heard Weezer’s new album? It’s kinda shockingly good. The album’s called Ok Human, which makes you think, oh God, what is this, a Radiohead parody album? This is gonna suck. And then you listen, and you think, oh damn, that was good.
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4. Lift Weights
Callouses criss-crossing your swollen hands, you stoop down to pick up that kettlebell one last time. “GET SOME,” you scream, as you swing it up over your head. Your muscles beg you to stop, but you won’t give in. The stench of your armpits causes a flock of birds passing the building to plummet to their deaths. You drop the kettlebell to the concrete, where it clangs a final death knell. The sun has not yet risen. Your hands are torn, a blister popped and a callous ripped free. You drink the blood from the wound and relish the pain. You look down at your bulging muscles, panting and sweating like a beast in the field. There is no Valentine’s — only GETTING SOME.
5. Check Your Bank Account Balance and Smile
Count your blessings. However little you have, remember it could always be less. Pull up that bank account balance and give it a once over. How much did you spend this weekend? Five dollars on a Subway footlong. No flowers, no expensive dinners. Look at those savings. What a sight to behold. And guess what? You have enough to buy a new PS5 now. Beautiful. Take satisfaction in that.
Unfortunately, this one doesn’t apply if you have alimony. Sorry.
6. Read the Great Monastic Texts
“Valentine’s Day? More like Stupidtine’s Day,” wrote the great master of monasticism St. Frankie of Upper Sheboygan County.
Nah, that was just a little joke. He’s not a real saint. I do jokes sometimes to keep things upbeat, you know?
So existence is a gaping void we’re cursed to face down, puppets engaged in the relentless theater of our own doom, right? And that’s kinda hard to deal with. But a lot of men and women have gone before us and faced that emptiness as straightforwardly as possible – by isolating themselves in an ordered community of solitude and contemplation. And the stuff they wrote is great. If you want to take being alone to the next level, give these a read: The Ascent of Mount Carmel and The Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross. The Interior Castle by St. Theresa of Avila. No Man is an Island by Thomas Merton.
7. Do Whatever You Want
Ok, let’s get down to brass tacks here. The best part of being alone on Valentine’s Day is simple – no obligations. It’s just another weekend, do what you want. You can wake up early and lift. You can sleep until two. You can eat Cheerios. You can read. You can watch television. You can play the new Hitman game for ten hours. It’s your day, bud. Hell, you can even write a whole dumb article about spending Valentine’s Day alone and not know how to end it and so just turn a run-on sentence into a mediocre meta joke that just cuts off without any