valentine's day

Know Thyself on Valentine's Day

After a brief hiatus TnO is back with a special Valentine's Day post. Mind you, this post isn't for those of you who knew what you were doing on the 14th a month ago. This isn't even for you poor bastards who are desperately searching for something, anything, to impress your significant other with and show them that you care.

This is for those of you who have complicated feelings about this day; that silent majority. I feel that I am qualified to speak to you because I have been a not-so-proud card-carrying member for most of my life.

Like so many of you, I try not to be bitter, I really do, but it can be difficult to maintain a cheery outlook when faced with a major blitz from the media, friends and family. While some of these lovebirds are undoubtedly faking it, there's no point in trying to get them to admit to their duplicity anymore than one would throw rocks at a hornet's nest to see how badly one could piss them off.

Granted, the weather doesn't help. While December can be something of a cheery month, January holds a false sense of happiness that slowly evaporates as we realize just how much winter we have left to go through. February is truly the cruelest month with people being at their most vulnerable. No wonder they're willing to grasp at any straw when it comes to the possibility of true love and everlasting happiness; guaranteed by a bottle of wine and a bouquet of flowers.

Despite this seemingly hopeless situation, there's no point in retreating into our homes like a bunch of Grinches. Cynicism is the refuge of stupid, uncreative types who are so scared of expressing joy or any kind of sincerity that they've managed to cut themselves out of all the fun that can be had, even on a holiday such as this.

Sure, Valentine's Day is commercialized but so are holidays in general and many other aspects of our lives. Holidays don't have to be totally bad and evil. Everyone is busy and a holiday can be useful for reminding us to take some time for ourselves and our relationships with others.

You don't have to buy cards or candy (although everyone should have a couple of cinnamon hearts this week) but there are things you can do to pamper yourself. With this in mind, I've assembled a list of activities you can engage in to help you feel better about this week and winter in general. Some of them may seem rather obvious but you'd be surprised how quick people are to dismiss something they think is easily doable.

Get a massage. You can book an appointment with a therapist who will come to your house. Just be sure you're getting what you want. If you want a happy ending, that's all fine and well but read the ad carefully. Or go to a spa and get the full treatment. Sure it will cost more but there's nothing better than spending an afternoon at a place where your every need is catered to. The Nouvelle Maria Spa & Salon offers an $80 package that includes a sauna, 15-minute neck massage and a 45-minute facial. Trust me, it's better when you do all three. Bonus: get a tan. Sure they say it's bad for you but moderation is the key and no one gets enough sun at this time of year anyway.

Go dancing. Hump Bump Day at the Gladstone is always fun and you're not going there to pick up, right? If you want something a bit more classy, hit up at The Boat on Saturday. With old-school tunes and a couples-friendly approach to dancing that doesn't necessarily lead to bumpin' and grindin' unless you want it to, it's a nice change of pace to the same-old, same-old that's offered everywhere else.

Watch a funny movie. Go to the fine folks at Suspect Video and ask them to recommend their favorite comedy that will make you laugh even if you are alone. This is the essential part because then you know it's really funny.

Go have coffee with your mum (or whichever family member you feel closest to). Take her someplace nice like Dark Horse Espresso Bar and chill for at least a couple of hours.

Eat a really nice three-course meal all by yourself, like you might find at The Citizen. Have whatever you want and try not to constrain yourself by either time or budget.

Sure, this is a lot to do in half a week but pick one or, if you're feeling really ambitious, pick two and see how much better you feel. Whether you currently have a partner or not, taking some time for yourself will undoubtedly put you in a better position to make someone else feel just as good.


Photo: Sister72.

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