All The Single Ladies: A Gal’s Guide To "Galentine’s Day"
Since February started, I’ve been getting advice from my Facebook newsfeed on how to spend Valentine’s Day. “Top Ten Romantic Spots!,” reads one story; “Chocolates and Sex In the Month of Love” reads another— which gets me thinking I may have been doing Valentine’s Day wrong all these years. Last year, I spent Valentine’s Day in a sketchy sushi bar, downing Japanese beer with my husband—not exactly a romantic hotspot but married love has quieter requirements than other kinds of love. What I do notice from my various social media feeds is how the listicles avoid the greatest love of all—the love of one’s self, without which no other love is possible. “How Singles Spend Love Day,” is an article I’d love to read but it’s missing from my newsfeed.
I’ve asked my single friends how they spend Valentine’s Day and it’s made me nostalgic for my twenties. Back then, I was discovering myself, and I spent many a love day alone and dateless. Which isn’t to say I felt deprived in any way—I enjoyed many books in the bath, scented candles lighting the tub like an Advent wreath (Voluspa Laguna was a favorite). Books always accompanied my grocery-bought Rosé. Between the suds and scents, I was happy with Heathcliff and Rhett Butler when my real life was full of Boyets and Kevins.
Whether you’re alone in your twenties or fifties, I think that the best relationship is always the one cultivated with yourself. It’s an endless garden, and you learn to take the roses with the weeds. I’ve always believed this—and so do most millennials who find themselves bristling with unrequited love, or lonely love, and can still come up with the funniest hugot (just ask the staff of Filipino Tweets That Matter). I’ve always believed that the search for yourself is never-ending, whether or not you’re in a relationship.
Some of my single friends spend Valentine’s Day throwing wine parties and I love thinking about the selection—are there cheeses that go with the wine? Figs, fruit or almonds? Do they start with a Rosé and end with a whisky? The possibilities are endless and irresistible. I always ask them if they’re wine or scotch people, and the fact that they can answer without a moment’s hesitation only means that they know themselves better than most people.
Other single friends get together for what they call SAD (Single Awareness Day) and flock to margarita night in their neighborhood hen hang-outs—maybe they find affinity in the salt in their glasses, but why are their photos a gorgeous blur taken on a dance floor; and who is that random stranger they’re dancing with, while their studded Valentinos stand on a cocktail table drinking the dregs of their lime juice?
My writer friends hex their exes, tossing ripped photos of jilters or cheaters into a smoking pan while muttering ancient curses and reverse gayumas. Or they make insta-poems about their lousy ex-spouses, putting every Lang Leav and Rupi Kaur to shame:
“Why were we made to meet
but not to last
is there salt in my glass?”
They promptly follow up the post with uploads of gorgeous beaches, or a row of airplanes on the tarmac, captioned with the most existential stinger of all: flying solo is lyf.
Meanwhile, my woke single friends’ stage social media blackouts to concentrate on the real things in life: sex comedies on Netflix and double-fisting wine and Pringles. My post-woke friends, however, regrann zingers from @notskinnybutnotfat, or @thefatjewish (who, if they got together, would be the absolute best celebrity couple of all time).
Every day should be Galentine’s Day, per the famous Parks and Recreation episode. Galentine’s is the one day of the year when all my single friends turn sassy and uncomeatable like Amy Poehler and Tina Fey hosting the Emmys. It’s the one day of the year when life’s a game of Tinder Roulette, and everything is one big Yes.
This year, I’ve asked my husband not to get me anything sexy, expensive or risqué. I’m getting him a watch strap— a practical gift given that his Seiko Cocktail Time suffers from everyday wear and tear. Instead, I’m asking him for a bottle of wine—not the overrated kind, but the Trader Joe’s variety of reasonably-priced but heady grape juice. With it I intend to make a toast to all the single ladies swilling their own glasses, neat or shaken. I can’t tell where or how their stories end but I always, always imagine them happy.