If you’re single, unhappily matched or just bitter by nature, Valentines Day can be a nauseating event. As the stores start to fill with topical merchandise presented in a stunning array of horrible pink and red tones, even the most romantic among us can easily become fed up. Those trinkets and the sentiment behind them can seem to be as far removed from real love as possible, particularly to those who are nursing broken hearts or have sworn off romance in general. What’s a bitter heart to do? Why not put some of that angry energy to work and follow this unique, 7 days of anti-Valentines to get you through those tough days prior to the big day.

1st day – The Joys of Reality. The sudden influx of romantic paraphernalia may leave you feeling like you are possibly the only person who is not joyously entwined with another human. Don’t succumb to the depression; align yourself instead with cold, hard stats. Relief is only a Google search away.  If you spend at least five minutes a day researching just how successful relationships and marriage really are you are certain to be comforted. You may even close your laptop in a haze of confidence knowing that you may just escape a lifetime of relationship drudgery. Consider documenting some of those stats into your phone so you can have them on hand at all times. That way when a sickeningly happy couple wanders past, you can just check your notepad to remind yourself that marriage statistically shortens women’s life span. That ought to put a smile back on your face.

2nd day – Making a list, checking it twice. This won’t be easy, but it will knock any silly notions out of your head immediately. Get yourself a glass of wine, a big one because you’re going to need it. Sit down, get comfortable and list every man you’ve ever been with. It is important to be honest, as you need to remind yourself of why they didn’t work. Take a deep breath, relive the rough times and write them down on paper where they are real and inescapable. You may find yourself shocked and perhaps even amused when you see the pattern in your partner choices emerging. Perhaps they’ve all had bad tempers. Perhaps you’ve let them all walk all over you. Perhaps you became an ultra controlling, over sensitive monster as soon as they tried to get close. You won’t know until you see and once you’ve seen, you can start to take some steps to change the pattern.

3rd day – People Watching Festival. Is everyone in a relationship truly happy? Spend a day people watching in earnest and you’ll be surprised at what you see. Truly look at women who are with their men. The signs might be subtle, but if you really watch her smile, the look in her eyes or her body language, you may be able to catch more than a few conflicted, disappointed ‘better halves’. Not that it’s polite to revel in their misery, but you may be pleasantly surprised to find that the myth of love is far more difficult to find then Hallmark suggests.

4th day – Adult Personals Tourism. If looking for the truth in secret glances doesn’t work for you, nothing will turn you off of the myth of ideal romance more than a quick perusal of adult personals. Whether you choose to look online or in a newspaper, taking the time to stick your toe in the seedier side of the romance pool is time well spent if you’re looking to quell any inconvenient desires. Prepare yourself for a dimly lit world of desperate, unfulfilled need. It might take you a few minutes or a few hours but no matter how entertaining these advertisements might seems initially, by the time you’re done you’ll see sex in a whole new light.  Much like the way love has been bastardized by corporations and industries looking to make money, adult personal sites and pornography is marketed to appeal to the same desperate need for perfection in order to fill a bleak, endless pit of loneliness.  Yeah…don’t spend too long on this one.

5th day – Whine and Dine. There is no better time to get together with your girlfriends then just before Valentines Day. You can be assured that at least half of them are suffering from the same onslaught of Valentines’ pressure as you are, so why not endure it together? Get out of the house by arranging to meet at a restaurant you’d probably choose for an important date and instead of making awkward conversation with a man, spending a few joyous hours bonding over your mutual frustration with them. Even those women who seem to be in a perfect relationship will inevitably spill some juicy complaints after a glass of wine or two. Avoid that friend who is in the first few months of a new relationship; she won’t be rational for at least half a year. As sweet as she may be, she’ll just bring the table down. In all honesty, she’d be happier choosing some bad polyester ‘theme’ lingerie for the big date. Don’t hate on her though, lord knows we’ve all got a few of those get ups in the back of our drawer somewhere.

6th day – Seduce yourself. Is there a chance that you are the worst lover you’ve ever had?  Why not take the time to analyze how well you pleasure yourself and what can be improved. Too many women look at masturbation as something that is dark, sinister and embarrassing. Hardly. Self-pleasure is very empowering and can be enormously satisfying. It’s a time when you can discover what works for you and all of your millions of sensual triggers. Solo sex is completely different from sex with a partner but that doesn’t make it any less important. You are not being judged. No one needs to know what you’re thinking, how long it takes you, what you are using, what you are looking at. Those moments of self pleasure belong completely to you…why would you waste that time being embarrassed and giving yourself less than satisfactory orgasms.  Blow your own mind!

7th day – Random Act of Valentines. This final day is one of the most important and amusing days in the list. This is the day when you admit that you may not be having the best Valentines Day, but that doesn’t mean everyone needs to suffer. Unwrap yourself from your cloak of misery and make someone else’s Valentines Day memorable. Throughout the week, look for someone in your circle or even just a random stranger and make him or her your target.  It could be the old lady at the end of the hallway.  It could be the same miserable guy that hides behind his laptop at the coffee shop every day.  It might be a sweet, but hopelessly awkward cat lady from your office. Choose wisely. Go to that dreaded Valentines section of your local store and purchase something simple.  When that person is busy, not at home or otherwise occupied, slip that horrid velvet box of waxy chocolate somewhere where they’ll get it.  You don’t have to say who its from, in fact the glory of ‘secret admirer’ is that the receiver’s imagination goes wild. No matter how bitter that person is, you’re guaranteed to make their day memorable. It’s a good way to become pro active this year and ensure that you do something productive rather than hiding away in your rain soaked tower of sad.

Love is a complex emotion that can’t be defined. Every time you fall in love, it feels different. You can fall in love with anything and anyone, depending on where you are in your life and what they represent to you. It’s something that is poorly expressed in our society as it is so incredibly personal and so earth shaking when it happens that all those fluffy teddies and lacy hearts seem like more of a mockery than a representation.  It may not happen until you’re eighty-five. It may have already happened and won’t happen again. It may happen to you every month. Only one thing is for certain, just because someone decided that February 14th was the day to celebrate it doesn’t mean that it’s the day that separates this planet into the ‘loveable’ and ‘unlovable’ depending on if they happen to be in a relationship. Go look at yourself in the mirror and take it from me – you are not unlovable you are wonderfully human. What’s more is you are a human with the good taste to avoid cheap chocolate and overpriced dinner specials.

Merridith Townsend

This function has been disabled for Lovett Publishing.