Ten Valentine's Day do's and don'ts

    Valentine’s Day is a holiday where star-crossed lovers shower one another with candy, cards and assorted fauna. It’s a span of 24 hours where couples dote on each other, countless cute Facebook albums are created and roommates are displaced to suite couches for the night. In the vast VHS-tape collection that is American holidays, V-Day is the special edition version of Beauty and the Beast, all hugs and happy endings for young love.

    As a result, those not in a relationship mark Valentine’s Day as the single worst day on their calendar. What self-respecting single enjoys a day where googly-eyed couples fawn over one another and act like characters ripped right out of a grocery-store quality romance novel? Plus, it’s hard to get excited for a holiday which seems to scream out “YOU CAN’T BE HAPPY UNLESS YOU HAVE SOMEONE ELSE PUPPY DOG KISSES!” So, since today’s the depressing day and Mr. Lister himself doesn’t have any significant other to act like an idiot for, here are some helpful hints to help the lonely masses get through the smarmiest day of the year.

    Five Things Not To Do On Valentine’s Day

    5. Don’t Skip Classes

    Since V-Day focuses on the relationship aspect of life, it’s quite easy for one to reminisce especially hard about failed relationships and crushes gone-awry on the 14th, often leaving one in an emotional state more downtrodden than Charlie Brown. The best way to avoid going down this miserable memory lane is to preoccupy yourself, so past blunders don’t even cross your mind. Class on any holiday, regardless of how ridiculous it is (hey, why can’t we get Arbor Day off?), may seem stupid and highly skippable, but unless you are solving world hunger with your free time, ditching lecture isn’t the smartest route. Class may be PBS-level boring, but it’s still a distraction from negative thoughts, so be a responsible student and actually show up. Plus, by paying attention, you may actually learn valuable information, making any midterms or finals a little less daunting. Almost better than a date! Almost.

    4. Don’t Do Anything With An Ex. Ever.

    Based off countless books and children’s TV specials, Valentine’s Day apparently has the power to bring people together into fruitful relationships. I call bull. After 15 years of missed cues and disastrous attempts at courting people I secretly admired, I think Cupid’s special day has a more repulsive than romantic effect. The same goes for former loves on the emotion-packed day. Let Mr. Lister’s mistakes guide you; I’ve tried to reconnect with an ex on St. Valentines Day, and it ended very poorly.

    So, if you think the power of love is going to bring you and your former spark back together, you are in for a Kid Rock-Pamela Anderson-sized letdown. Even communicating with your ex will probably bring you down, so why try? There’s already enough depressing stuff on V-Day, so don’t give yourself anything else to worry about. Hang out with friends, and leave former flames where they belong: the past.

    3. Don’t Schedule a Bunch of Psychology Experiments Over the Day

    Guess what I’m doing today!

    2. Don’t Hit the Bottle

    There are far worse occasions to drink on (dude, it’s International Women’s Day, let’s get krunk! Hug a Cop Day? More like Chug-a-Cup Day, right?) but Valentine’s Day isn’t the best boozing bet, especially if you are feeling lonely about your lack of companionship in mid-February. Like any holiday, there’s bound to be plenty of party opportunities, but just because you have no date doesn’t mean you should settle for Jack Daniel’s as your sweetie.

    Not to sound like AlcoholEdu, but liquor is a depressant, so drowning your sorrows with Smirnoff isn’t going to brighten your mood. It might actually make you sadder, which is a definite no-no. Drinking rarely keeps you happy for too long, and usually just makes you feel worse than usual (not to mention you usually end up looking like an ass), so don’t take the risk on Valentine’s Day.

    Oh, and did I mention it’s WEDNESDAY NIGHT? Thirsty Thursdays are already borderline Alcoholics Anonymous territory, but Wasted Wednesdays? Just check into a rehab center now.

    1. Don’t See a Romantic Comedy

    Guys, here is a really good reason being girlfriend-less isn’t so bad. Unless you find a gal who is into zombie flicks, most women have a natural inclination to see romantic comedies (also known as the worst movies ever) and drag their unsuspecting BF’s along for the craptacular ride. Valentine’s Day sees an increased amount of viewings of films like Sweet Home Alabama or even the debut of the new chick flick, Music and Lyrics (two clues it’s a romantic comedy: a terribly contrived plot where two people are brought together by nutty circumstances, and Hugh Grant).

    As a single guy or gal, DON’T SEE A ROMANTIC COMEDY ON V-DAY. There’s one situation, and one situation only, when it’s permissible to view something like Failure to Launch or Down With Love, and that’s when a couple goes on a date and the only other choice is Norbit. Watching a romantic comedy without a date is like going to grad school but not getting a diploma. It’s needless pain for no reason whatsoever. If your friends decide “Hey, it’s Valentines Day, let’s watch Love Actually because that’s the right thing to do tonight since we are oh-so-alone,” never speak to them again and do something useful with your time, like pounding nails into your fingers. Romantic comedies have a specific role, and watching them outside the awkward first date is just pathetic, and should make you feel really lame that you don’t have someone special to watch it with.

    And I’m not even touching on the fact that, somewhere in the U.S. Constitution, it says all romantic comedies ever must suck. So don’t see one. Preferably in your entire lifetime.

    Five Things To Do On Valentine’s Day

    5. Do Take a Walk/Go Into Chicago

    As long as you assume Evanston doesn’t resemble a giant Snow Cone by mid-day, there’s no better way to ignore the dateless realm you exist in then taking a nice stroll around the Northshore area, or heading into The City of Broad Shoulders itself. Feeling forlorn? Walk up to Wilmette and you won’t worry about a thing (though, depending on wind chill, you also may not feel a thing). Exploring new territory is a great way to rid yourself of stress and feel like you’ve accomplished something. Plus, Wilmette has some nice restaurants, so you can get some decent food as well.

    If you used up all your energy surviving the Grammy telecast this past Sunday, you may not have enough strength to walk anywhere farther than your fridge. But if you do, hop on the El or the criminally underrated Intercampus Shuttle, and spend a day in Chicago. U Passes or not, students don’t go to the Windy City nearly as much as they should, so spend Valentine’s Day exploring the ins and outs of one of America’s best cities. It’s a great distraction, not to mention a welcome change from the doldrums that can be Evanston sometimes.

    4. Do Pump Some Iron

    This piece of advice is particularly powerful, because not only will you keep your head from wandering back to bitter breakups of yesteryear, you will also be making yourself a better person. It has been scientifically proven that working out makes you feel better (John Basedow never seems sad), so spend some quality time bench-pressing and treadmill-ing if you feel down about your love life. Sure, the walk to SPAC may seem akin to being a pioneer braving the American west, but it isn’t that treacherous a walk (unless the wind and snow transform North Campus into the Nordic). Plus, by lifting weights, you are making your body look better, so maybe a year from now, you won’t be alone come February 14.

    3. Do Find Classes for Next Quarter

    Why focus on the past when you should be looking toward the future, specifically Spring Quarter? Pre-registration is today and tomorrow (unless you juniors and seniors already missed it) and registration is like, next week, so you should probably get on CAESAR and figure out which distros you still need to knock off (helpful hint: never forget about statistics). At the very least, plotting out next quarter is a great way to pass the day. But please, don’t consider History of the Holocaust. I would very much like to take that, so please don’t mess that up for me. Thanks.

    2. Do Think About How Ridiculous Valentine’s Day Is

    Valentine’s Day isn’t the stupidest holiday ever thought up (thanks to Facebook, that title officially belongs to National “Your Mom” Day), but February 14 is up there for sure. Basically a 24-hour commercial for Hallmark, imploring us to buy soon-to-wilt flowers and biggie-sized boxes of chocolate (Seriously, who on any other day of the year would buy a crate of junk food big enough to feed all of Sri Lanka and think it’s a good purchase? But stuff it in a heart-shaped box and boom! Instant loving gift for that special someone.), Valentine’s Day simply serves the purpose of making couples feel special while making singles feel like total losers because they spend that special night eating quesadillas alone at Hinman.

    But don’t focus on the negatives! Rather, revel in the absurdity of St. Valentine’s Day. Think of all the perks of being by yourself, such as not having to act like a total doofus to impress your significant other. Think of all the money you are saving by not buying obnoxiously large stuffed animals or tickets to Music and Lyrics. Think about how a fair amount of relationships on campus are nothing more than shallow excuses for hooking up, punctuated by a partner to show off to friends. Think about how vain these relationships are, how they focus physical appearances rather than deeper connections and how they probably won’t even last until the end of this season’s Lost.

    So, don’t let the day get you down. Just look at it in the most cynical way possible, and everything will be OK.

    1. Do Meet New People

    OK, so that last one was a tad negative. But that’s one way to cope with being single on Valentine’s Day. It’s easy to hide behind cynicism and sarcasm when confronting things that make you feel uncomfortable, so attacking V-Day is just the easiest way to deal with the holiday. But simply dissing St. Valentine’s Day isn’t the only way to confront the issue.

    Why do people loathe Valentine’s Day so much? Easy. Most single folk are jealous. They want the same sense of compassion and trust found in a relationship, and just want what others have. I’ll admit, that’s exactly why I dread this day. So, how should one deal with this?

    If you want to change the way things are, you have to take the initiative. So, on Valentine’s Day, the saddest day to be a single, try to meet someone new. How you go about it is up to you, but the only way your relationship situation is going to change is by taking action, so instead of moping around, take a chance.

    Meeting new people is one of the hardest things in the world, but no change is going to come to your love life if you don’t start trying new things. Talk to a random person. Approach someone in a class and strike up a conversation. Go to a meeting or event and just initiate chatter. It doesn’t matter, just do something.

    Valentine’s Day seems utterly horrible when you don’t have a significant other to share it with, but you are not alone. There are tons of singles at NU, they feel the exact same way, and they would love to change their situation. Just be daring, and don’t be frightened by what happens.

    It’s up to you.


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