Saturday, February 15, 2014

5 Things Not to Do When You Are Single...on Valentine's Day

 "love your solitude…be indulgent towards those…who are afraid of the aloneness that you trust…and don’t expect any understanding"
— rainer maria rilke

No one ever congratulates you for being single.  When you tell people you are not dating anyone, are not engaged or married, the response is almost universally a look of pity, a comment of attempted consolation.

To be fair, I completely understand why this is the textbook reaction.  Most people are in a relationship: married, dating, whatever.  So, their happiness, their sense of completeness, is defined by having an ‘other’. And that is wonderful. That is to be celebrated.  When they encounter a single person they see the lack of an ‘other’ and assume that the single person must feel incomplete and sad.  And that might be the story for the majority of single people, but that is not story for all single people.  

Some single people are...well...content with singleness.  Granted, that is true for a sparse portion of the single population, but trust: we do exist.  Whether the single season is temporary or long enduring, a handful of us find quite a bit of joy in single life, find purpose there.

So I guess the point of this post, and the social experiment it documents, is 1) to take a stab at entertaining the few people that read my blog (for what it is worth - I more than appreciate you taking the time to read) but mostly 2) to relate that being single isn’t as bad as people make it out to be...if for no other reason than you get to do random social experiments like the one described below that cause people to escape into curious distraction. I hope my oddity gave a bit of lightness to their day.

Whether you are single or spoken for, join me on a novel travel into the peculiar behaviors of a single person doing suggestively romantic things on Valentine’s Day.


If you are single, here are 5 things that others might find slightly puzzling if you do them on Valentine’s Day:  

1. Take more time on your appearance than normal.
If you normally adorn yourself in the Tomboy attire of a sweater, jeans, and sneakers, you should probably not wear a dress to work on Valentine’s Day.  If you do wear a dress on Valentines Day you are likely to inspire co-workers to wonder aloud if you are the same person at all.  No offense is take on your part, you like being a Tomboy and admit openly that when in a dress you feel like you are in a costume.

2. Wear girly accessories.  
You probably should not wear high shoes on Valentine’s Day.  Actually, in general, no female should ever wear high shoes. They are not and never become comfortable. They cause your feet and calf muscles to hold a grudge against you throughout the day and in the days to follow. But if you never wear them on any other day, then you should especially not wear them on Valentine’s Day.  It suggests to others that you have something important or special to go to after work, which of course is a false assumption, but just the same - you probably shouldn’t wear them.

You should also not wear contacts instead of your librarian-style glasses, paint your nails, nor wear red lipstick.  Accentuating your facial features and fingers on Valentine’s Day in a manner that you rarely do otherwise suggest to others that you might have someone you are going to see after you leave the office that you will want to impress...and you will have to explain over and over that this is not the case.  

3. Read love poetry from a tiny red volume on a bench along a main road.
If you read from a book of romantic poetry in public on Valentine’s Day narratives will be spun by drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians passing by.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, maybe your fancy-attired figure reading poetry on a bench will distract them from their own sense of loneliness since Valentine’s Day often makes people feel lonely.

4. Go to a coffee shop and read Pride and Prejudice at a table for two.
If you read Jane Austen at a table alone with a flower set at the seat opposite of you, you might 1. make strangers think of that scene in You’ve Got Mail which in turn 2. might make strangers think you are waiting for someone to join you.  And then when you leave an hour later, with no companion ever coming to join you, and leave the flower behind, people might have cause to wonder what you got stood up, but find it equally curious that you never seemed upset about it.

5. Go to a romantic movie at the movie theatre alone.
When you go up to the ticket counter on Valentine’s Day, still in fancy attire and high-heeled shoes and ask for a “ticket for one” to the newest released romantic movie, the ticket man will look at you curiously and ask “just one?”  You will respond with a smile and a cheerful glance “yes, just one.”  You should also probably not arrive really early to the theatre and then sit and read a Jane Austen novel while the seats fill up around you.  If you do go to a movie alone and sit in the middle of the aisle, the arriving couples will avoid you like a pariah for as long as possible.  But it’s Valentine’s Day and it’s a romantic movie, so eventually you are bookended in by couples who silently interrogate you with cautious glances in your direction as to why you are seated alone.

do not be afraid of spending quality time by yourself. find meaning or don’t find meaning but “steal” some time and give it freely and exclusively to your own self. opt for privacy and solitude. that doesn’t make you antisocial or cause you to reject the rest of the world. but you need to breathe. and you need to be.
— albert camus