You go home for the holidays and you’re greeted by the same old questions from your relatives. How’s school? What’s your major? How are your friends? What have you been doing for fun? You smile and spit out perfectly rehearsed answers that provide the illusion of well-adjustedness. Seeing they haven’t broken you yet, they throw out the last question:
Got a boyfriend yet?
I won’t go into a tirade here because I know how upsetting my anti-relationship sentiments can be to some people (hi, Mom!). It’s not that I don’t believe in love, or don’t see the merits of commitment. The whole dating game just isn’t for me—I don’t have the energy for it. So for three years straight, I’ve come home from BC without so much as an inkling of romantic prospects—and it promises to stay that way, unless Luke Kuechly finally comes around to the idea of marrying me.
I understand where my family might be worried. I’m an English major, after all. They want to see some kind of return on their investment, and since it clearly won’t be a lucrative career, it might as well be a well-to-do gentleman friend.
Around this time of year, we always hear the same complaints from those without a special someone in their lives. Now, I’m going to take a page out of the book of one Kerry Cronin and say that if you’d like to go out with someone, all you have to do is ask. But I’m not here to discuss the nuances of dating in college (if you’d like to do that, Professor Cronin is speaking in Devlin 008 tomorrow night and I highly recommend attending—the woman speaks some serious #truth). I’m talking about embracing the single life, and doing so with gusto and grace.
This V-Day, I encourage—nay, challenge you to be your own valentine. If you’re anything like me, there’s nobody you love more than yourself, so take some time this February 14 to look out for Number One. Spend the evening relaxing or working on something you care about; treat yourself to a special gift that you’ve been eyeing or a nice meal. I’ve been known to take myself out on dates when I’m feeling down, and it’s always great to spend some time alone with my favorite person. (Me. I am my favorite person.) I never run out of things to talk about, and I won’t judge me for eating fro-yo for dinner.
If your friends are flying solo just like you, take some time to appreciate them on Valentine’s Day as well! Warning: don’t sit around commiserating about how lonely you are—celebrate the opportunity to have a girls’ night, whether you’re at home with some Two Buck Chuck and a rom-com or out on the town. Who needs a man when you have six fine women to put a smile on your face and make the day special? And guys, you can have your boys’ night in as well—works both ways. You don’t have to watch a rom-com, but I won’t judge you if you do.
Or, in the spirit of St. Ignatius, spend the day being a man or woman for others. Consider spending some time volunteering at a women’s shelter, or donating what you would have spent on chocolates, flowers and fancy Valentine’s Day dinners to a cause like V-Day or the Justice Resource Institute. I saw The Vagina Monologues this past weekend, and it was a serious reminder that as much as we like to complain about our love lives, there are some that have it much worse—so take some time to brighten a stranger’s day!
So, no, I won’t be spending my Valentine’s Day on a hot date or snuggled up with a sweetheart, but who needs that when you can spend the day treating yourself, hanging with friends or helping others? And if that’s not enough, all the pink and red candy will be marked down at CVS come February 15—the real reason to celebrate the season.