The fourteenth of February. Are you spending it loved up in an Italian restaurant? Or having a cosy night in with a soppy film and an early night with your partner? Travelling across the country to run into the arms of your loved one at the other end of the train journey? No? Well, you’re in the right place.
If you’re planning on spending the night sulking, doing your best Bridget Jones impression, or pretending that the significance of this day simply doesn’t exist, then (ironically) you are not alone. Valentine’s Day divides people into two distinct kinds- couples and singles. The couples are -ahem- spoken for tonight, the singles are at a loose end.
But instead of falling asleep hugging your pillow, drunk on wine and loneliness, make this night that little bit less tragic by making it your own Anti-Valentine’s Day.
Step One: Avoid the centre of York. Restaurants will be choc-a-bloc with couples, as will bars. During the day, you won’t be able to cross the street without weaving in between legions of hand-holding shoppers. Don’t dream of going to clubs; tonight’s the night for desperation in Willow. Unless you’re happy to spend the night being eyed up by people who are out completely alone on the day designed for lovers- give this one a miss.
Step Two: Don’t wear anything pink. Simple, this one. If you wear pink, then you’ll blend straight into the background, against all the lucid fuchsia cards and decorations.
Step Three: Don’t turn on the TV. Another simple one. Watching The Notebook, or some Wedding Special, is a dangerous path to take on V-Day. One minute you’re enjoying your standard Eastenderspub brawl, the next you’re being subject to proposals and sickly sweet love proclamations. Instead, crack out the least romantic film you have; Might I suggest Creep, or Hostel, or something equally terrifying/angry.
Step Four: Do not get drunk. Although it may seem like an easy way to avoid anything loved-up (vodka is, after all, the simplest way to wipe a night from existence), in reality, you just end up whining about how forever alone you are. Or worse, on the phone to your ex, screaming the lyrics to an Adele song. I’m trying to get you through this day dignity intact, so trust me on this one.
Step Five: Distract yourself. Maybe get your mates round? Surely you have some single friends. Maybe tackle that essay you’ve been putting off all week, or finally do all the washing you’ve accumulated over the term. You could even bake a tonne of cupcakes, and only give the out to single friends. Ha.
If all else fails, just make the most of the snow by pelting snowballs at people who look too damn happy. Not that you’re bitter. Not at all.
(First published by The Yorker at http://www.theyorker.co.uk/lifestyle/theknow/10435)