Single? A Valentine’s Day Survival Guide

Yup, it’s that time of year again. Here, your hour-by-hour plan for getting through the couples’ holiday.

By Laura Gilbert

rugstore windows might make you believe that February 14 is all about happy, loving couples wallowing in bliss. But if you’re single, you know better, right? So here’s a minute-by-minute plan to get you through Valentine’s Day without cursing Cupid under your breath.

4:55 A.M.: Savor your solo sleep
Set your alarm to go off with the most annoying ring at least 90 minutes early. When it does, take three ice cubes and apply them directly to the skin on your calf. Realize that when you’re married to someone, you have to put up with his or her sleeping habits and cold toes every day of the year. Shudder, then drift back into a grateful sleep.

Move everything on your “to-do” list for the entire week onto your tasks for the day. As you plow through work, you’ll be too busy to feel sorry for yourself.
7:09 a.m.: Love what you eat
Start your day off right with the following power breakfast: Take whole-grain waffle out of freezer. Examine it, put it back in. Take ice cream out of freezer; place three scoops in bowl. Heat up hot fudge and drizzle on top; add cookies or brownies as needed. Because, seriously, who’s going to know or nag at you if you decide to start your day in this sugar-rific way?

8:43 a.m.: Bloom with happiness
Sure, it’d be nice to get flowers from a secret (or totally obvious) admirer. But having a special someone is only part of what makes having a bouquet so amazing. Flowers still look and smell great when you’re single, so head to a flower shop and buy any flowers you like (yellow and purple tulips, perhaps?). You’ll feel happy every time you glance at them, and pity those suckers who got a bunch of crummy carnations from their special someone.

9:18 a.m.: Wink at fate
Saunter in to work 15 to 30 minutes late. If anyone asks you why you were delayed, just grin and say, “I guess I was caught up in the Valentine’s spirit!” They’ll be too mortified to ask for details. Nobody has to know your idea of Valentine’s spirit just meant you made time to clip your toenails this morning.

10:20 a.m.: Be a powerhouse
Move everything on your “to-do” list for the entire week onto your tasks for the day. As you plow through work, calls, and reports, you’ll be too busy to take time to feel sorry for yourself. By the time lunch rolls around, you’ll be so relieved to just take a minute to answer simple emails and check the weather that you won’t even notice that it’s V-Day.

1:48 p.m.: Get in the money
Jump-start your upcoming fiscal year by visiting and taking a 10-minute break to start in on your own taxes—two whole months early! This will totally distract you from worrying about your love life, you see.

3:12 p.m.: Drink to another year of success
Firm up your reputation as the cool one at work by calling a 5 p.m. brainstorming session to cope with an office crisis, then “spontaneously” suggesting
After work, do not, under any circumstances, check the mail.
you hold it at a nearby bar. Everyone thinks you’re trying to take the misery out of the problem-solving session and loves you for it… You guarantee yourself an alibi if anyone asks you nervously if you did anything on Valentine’s Day (“Oh, me and some co-workers just went out to a bar”).

6:00 p.m.: Stamp out temptation
After work, do not, under any circumstances, check the mail. Best-case scenario: It’s full of love letters from old flames saying they can no longer live without you. In this case, you’ll find those tomorrow and respond as necessary. Worst-case scenario: The mailbox contains only bills and subscription renewal forms. Extra-worst case scenario? There’s a Valentine’s Card from your grandma or a pitying married sibling.

8:21 p.m.: Energize yourself
Head to the local video store in an effort to avoid icky V-Day TV programs. As you wander the aisles, take a good look at the couples around you. Remember, you’ve chosen to come get a movie, while these poor saps are faced with the pressure to do something romantic… and the best they could come up with is renting a movie?!?

8:30 p.m.: Rent a date
Settle on a great non-date movie. You’ve got two genres to pick from: Action and Overreaction. The first is any movie that’s totally engrossing, but romance-free: Think the Die Hards, The Rundown, or any campy horror film. (Bonus: All of these should be in stock.) Or get a movie that revels in the downside of relationships: Think Alfie, Your Friends And Neighbors, or Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

8:55 p.m.: Work your wit
Before starting the movie, flip to the Westminster Dog Show, which broadcasts today. Nickname entrants after the appropriate ex based on how foolish they look when they trot around the ring.

8:45 a.m., February 15: Do something sweet
At the grocery store, buy packages of your favorite Valentine’s candy for half price and don’t share with anyone. Hey, this is your holiday, after all!

Freelance writer Laura Gilbert has contributed to Cosmopolitan, Maxim, and The Modern Humorist.
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